Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | March 16, 2010

Kentucky environmental attorney Sanders says US EPA approves strip mining permit for Kaiser Mathias mine in Ohio.

US EPA concluded its review of a Clean Water Act permit application for Oxford Mining Company’s proposed Kaiser Mathias mine in Tuscarawas County, Ohio and has approved the project. EPA is requiring some improvements to the surface coal mining project to reduce anticipated environmental and water quality impacts and repair environmental damages caused by previous mining in the watershed. Amazingly, there are no valley fills associated with this mine.

In exchange for the permit, EPA will require the company to:
• Reduce stream impacts by more than 80 percent from 12,930 linear feet to 2,352 linear feet.
• Reduce wetland impacts from 3.39 acres to less than one acre.
• Restore the entire 531 acre mining site to repair environmental and water quality impacts from previous mining activities at the site.
• Conduct enhanced biological and water quality monitoring to protect streams and establish conservation easements to permanently protect undisturbed streams.
• Reduce erosion from previously mined areas into streams by an estimated 115.66 tons a year.
• Require stream and wetlands mitigation to replace lost ecological function.

The Kaiser-Mathias mine is a “remining” project that will recover coal at a location mined prior to the Clean Water Act and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. Clean Water Act approval for new mining at the site provides an opportunity to require that previous environmental and water quality damages within the watershed are repaired. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is expected to issue a final Clean Water Act permit for the Kaiser Mathias mine shortly.

The Kaiser Mathias mine was evaluated by EPA as part of the EPA/Army Corps Clean Water Act “Enhanced Coordination Procedures” for review of Appalachian surface coal mining projects. Details of EPA’s revisions to the permit are described here:


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