Bridge Fork Mine
There has been opposition from local residents and the National Park Service to the state’s renewal of a strip mining permit for the Bridge Fork Mine, which is located between the popular New and Gauley rivers north of Ansted in Fayette County. The W.V. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) had a public hearing on the permit renewal in mid-February 2009, and DEP approved the renewal despite opposition. In April 2009, local and national groups filed an appeal with the state Surface Mine Board, arguing that "Powellton treats the streams and lands surrounding its permit areas as dumping grounds for the waste from its mine." In the appeal to the Surface Mine Board, citizen groups allege that Powellton Coal is violating the Clean Water Act by dumping illegal levels of toxic aluminum, iron, and suspended solids into Rich Creek. They also allege that DEP inspectors have repeatedly given the company more time to correct violations at the site — and that some of those violations remain unabated, a condition that prohibits the permit from being renewed.
In September 2010, Consol's Powellton Coal subsidiary agreed to cut discharges of aluminum, iron, and other pollutants into tributaries of the Gauley River from the Bridge Fork mining complex. The deal also calls for a $1.2 million donation to West Virginia University College of Law and $134,000 in federal fines, among other things. The WVU donation is supposed to help create a clinic to provide legal help to communities that want to protect the New and Gauley watersheds, the Sierra Club said. Among other things, the clinic is supposed to help land trusts acquire conservation easements and work on residential sewage problems. The agreement also would increase fines for future fines to $2,000 per violation in the first year of the agreement to as high as $12,000 in the third year.
- MSHA ID:
- Operator: Powellton Coal
- Controller: CONSOL Energy
- County: Fayette
- State: WV
- 2007 Production (short tons):
- Coal Type:
- Mining Method: Surface
- Mine Status: Active
- Average No. of Employees:
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- Ken Ward Jr., "Mountaintop removal: Powellton permit appealed" Coal Tattoo, April 16, 2009.
- Tim Huber, "Sierra Club: Consol settles W.Va. pollution case" Bloomberg, Sep. 16, 2010.
- "Major U.S. Coal Mines," Energy Information Administration