CHARLESTON – The West Virginia Division of Highways (WVDOH), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Huntington District (Corps) will be holding an Informational Workshop/Public Hearing on Monday, April 22, 2013 at Mingo Central High School in the lobby & auditorium, located at 1000 King Coal Highway, Red Jacket, West Virginia 25686. The purpose of this meeting is to provide the public with an opportunity to gather information and provide comments on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) prepared by the WVDOH, FHWA and the Corps for the King Coal Highway Belo to Delbarton Project and Consol of Kentucky, Inc.’s (CONSOL) CWA Section 404 Individual Permit (IP) application for the discharge of fill material into waters of the United States (U.S.) in conjunction with the construction and operation of the proposed Buffalo Mountain Surface Mine. The DSEIS was issued on March 19, 2013 and a PDF version of the document and supporting information is available at the following web address:
The informational workshop is scheduled from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. and representatives from various state and federal agencies will be available to informally answer questions about the proposed projects. A PUBLIC HEARING WILL BE HELD FROM 5:30PM to 7:30PM. Individuals and representatives of organizations who wish to provide testimony during the Public Hearing may sign the Speakers List at the registration desk from 4:30PM to 5:15PM. Depending on the number of speakers, a time limit may be imposed on testimony to provide all parties the opportunity to comment.
The FHWA and Corps are joint-lead federal agencies on this project and have evaluated federal actions in the DSEIS. The DSEIS includes information on FHWA and WVDOH’s evaluation of a location shift for a portion of the King Coal Highway between the West Virginia towns of Delbarton and Belo described in the 2000 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and approved in the 2000 Record of Decision (ROD). The location shift of the King Coal Highway alignment has been identified as the Delbarton to Belo Project. The DSEIS also includes information on the Corps’ evaluation of a CWA Section 404 IP application submitted by CONSOL, for the discharge of fill material into waters of the U.S. to construct attendant and associated features to facilitate the extraction of mineable coal reserves from 10 bituminous coal seams located within the 2,308-acre Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) boundary of the proposed Buffalo Mountain Surface Mine.
The Delbarton to Belo Project is an approximately seven mile section of the King Coal Highway, a 94 mile long corridor from Bluefield, Mercer County, West Virginia to Williamson, Mingo County, West Virginia. The Delbarton to Belo Project begins at US 52, about one-half mile west of Delbarton, and ends at US 119 just west of its intersection with WV 65. The 94-mile King Coal Highway Corridor was identified in a FEIS issued in June 2000, and approved with a subsequent ROD issued in August 2000. Since the issuance of the ROD, an opportunity for a joint-use project was identified during CONSOL’s development of a plan to extract mineable coal reserves between the towns of Delbarton and Belo, Mingo County, West Virginia. A joint-use project would allow CONSOL to construct approximately 5 miles of rough-grade highway alignment in conjunction with their post-mining land use plan for the proposed Buffalo Mountain Surface Mine. Upon the completion of the Buffalo Mountain Surface Mine project, the WVDOH could incorporate the 5 miles of rough-grade highway alignment constructed by CONSOL into the King Coal Highway Delbarton to Belo Project.
CONSOL proposes to extract coal reserves within the vicinity of Belo and Delbarton in an area defined by the following: north of US 52, east of Miller Creek, west of Pigeon Creek, and south of US 119. As part of their planning process, CONSOL evaluated the available coal reserves within the area and extraction methods to determine the precise project boundary and mine plan. Coal mine operations are permitted by and regulated under SMCRA, a comprehensive statute that requires analysis of impacts to the aquatic and upland environment that are associated with coal mining operations. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) administers the SMCRA program in West Virginia with oversight from the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI), Office of Surface Mining (OSM).
Construction and operation of the Buffalo Mountain Surface Mine will require the discharge of fill material into waters of the U.S. associated with attendant features including: permanent storage of excess overburden material in valley fills, in-stream sediment basin embankments, and excavation of streams to recover coal reserves. Accordingly, CONSOL is required to obtain a CWA Section 404 IP and the Corps initiated their evaluation of CONSOL’s CWA Section 404 IP application (LRH-2008-491-TUG) with the issuance of a Public Notice on December 3, 2008.
Those wishing to file written comments may send them to Gregory L. Bailey, P.E.,
Director, Engineering Division, West Virginia Division of Highways, Capitol Complex Building Five, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard East, Room 317, Charleston, West Virginia 25305-0430 and/or Ginger Mullins, Chief, Regulatory Branch, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 502 Eighth Street, Huntington, West Virginia 25701. Comments must be received on or before Wednesday, May 22, 2013. Visit the WVDOH Website at http://go.wv.gov/dotcomment for project information and the opportunity to comment by email.
The West Virginia Department of Transportation will, upon request, provide reasonable accommodations including auxiliary aids and services necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in our services, programs and activities. Please contact us at (304) 558-3931. Persons with hearing or speech impairments can reach all state agencies by calling (800) 982-8772 (voice to TDD) or (800) 982-8771 (TDD to voice), toll free.