Taylor County Residents Voice Concerns About New Mine Shaft Near - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Taylor County Residents Voice Concerns About New Mine Shaft Near State Park

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TAYLOR COUNTY -

Some of the best things about Tygart Lake are its beauty, the relaxation it offers and the weekend getaways it offers.

But officials are concerned an upcoming project at a nearby mine could change things.

Robert Choff has lived across the street from the park for 18 years and said he absolutely loves it.

"Peace and quiet and being associated with the lake and the camp grounds and just the recreation," he said.

But Choff is concerned that peace and quiet he has learned to love may soon become a thing of the past.

Arch Coal's Leer Mine is planning to install a ventilation shaft in May that is right next door to his home.

"Leer mine is going to drill a 10 foot diameter shaft, 660 feet down to connect to their long wall operation," said Jim Browning, Tygart Lake State Park. "This mine will blow air out of the mine. It will be blowing 1 percent methane."

"Right now I'm not too satisfied. I mean, we are going to have all this noise. There is going to be a 800-1000 horsepower motor up there running all the time. 7 days a week, 24 hours a day," Choff said.

Choff and officials from Tygart Lake State Park recently took a tour of a shaft in Pennsylvania, which will be similar to the one coming to the park.

"It's noisy for a good way. We stopped at the entrance to the mine where we went to. There is a gate. We stopped there and listened. It actually sounded louder there, to me, then it did when we were up close to it," Choff said.

"The ventilation shaft is adjacent to state park property. It's about 4,000 feet from the lodge, 4,000 feet from the marina, and the topography of the area is such that the noise will be an impact to not only the lodge and the marina but to the adjacent neighborhood," Browning said.

Residents and park officials said they support coal and are not opposed to the project. They just wish it would be located elsewhere.

"It's just in the wrong place in my opinion. It should be somewhere where it isn't as populated," Choff said.

"Tygart Lake State Park in itself is not opposed to the operation of the mine. We benefit greatly from the coal miners in the area. We would like to discuss the location of the air ventilation shaft," Browning said.

The group, Friends of Tygart Lake is asking people to voice their concerns about the shaft to the DEP.

That address is:

Permit Supervisor

WVDEP Philippi Office

105 Railroad Street

Philippi, WV 26416