On April 12, 2018, the WV Department of Environmental Protection held an informal conference, or public hearing, on proposed revisions to the Collins Fork Permit in Raleigh County. These revisions would allow Republic Energy, LLC to forgo reclamation efforts and instead use the area to dump tires, store fuel, stockpile coal, and store equipment for their own gain.
The Collins Fork Permit, S300208, is located at the head of Workman’s Creek and McDowell Branch on Coal River Mountain and is among 10 square miles of active and pending mining permits and sludge dams on Coal River Mountain. The permit area is located within the Clearfork and Coal River watersheds and was once forest land. Not only do the revisions endanger the community’s health and safety, but they simply do not meet any reclamation standards set forth to restore ecosystems, forests, or garner resources for the community.
Alliance member from Coal River Mountain Watch, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, and AppVoices joined the hearing at the Clear Fork Elementary School to speak out against these proposed revisions. Republic Energy also sent miners to speak who arrived an hour early just to fill up the parking lot and argue that creating a tire landfill was reclamation.