On Thursday, March 1st, Mountain Watershed Association and Concerned Citizens hosted a community meeting to discuss the outcome of our legal appeal of LCT Energy’s Rustic Ridge Deep Mine permit. The meeting was attended by nearly 50 community members as well as representatives from LCT Energy.
First, Beverly Braverman, the executive director of MWA, explained that the organization received no money as part of this settlement – the agreement was made in order to fulfill our mission of preserving and protecting the Indian Creek Watershed. The attorney for MWA, Emily Collins of FairShake Environmental Legal Services, then reviewed the many unprecedented protections for our watershed and community that we were able to gain through the settlement. These protections addressed the two key parts of our legal appeal by increasing the barrier of unmined coal between Rustic Ridge and the abandoned Melcroft #3 mine and by decreasing the mine discharge into Champion Creek by about half. We also succeeded in securing quality-of-life protections for nearby residents, all of which can be reviewed in this Powerpoint from the meeting or in our settlement and additional agreements with LCT. All of these protections far exceed regulatory standards and would not have been achievable if MWA did not pursue our legal appeal.
In addition, MWA is taking on a significant responsibility in monitoring potential pollution from the Rustic Ridge mine in order to ensure that LCT Energy adheres to our settlement. We are looking to monitor for dust, noise, vibration, stream flow, and other impacts.
At the meeting, we also reviewed the actions that local residents can take to protect their property and to report any concerns about the mine. Those who live in the footprint of the mine are encouraged to follow through with any requests from LCT Energy for pre-blast and/or pre-mining surveys of their private water supplies and structures. Community members are also encouraged to report any concerns or complaints as outlined on our Concerns and Complaints Contact Sheet. We also advise those in the footprint of the mine to keep a journal to record key dates and times, including for example: when your pre-mining and/or pre-mining surveys were conducted, when you received copies of those surveys, if you filed any complaints and to whom, if you noticed any potential damages to your property, etc.
During the question and answer for the meeting, LCT was available to answer several questions asked by local community members. Important details arising from those questions regarding mine operations include the following:
- Blasting to open up the mine portal is expected to begin March 12th through May
- Mining operations are expected to begin April or May 2019 with full production expected by 2020
- Hours of operation for mining operations are expected to be 24 hours Monday through Friday with one shift on Saturday from 6am until 2pm
- LCT expects to haul 100 loads of coal per day. All together, trucks would make 200 trips (including hauling from and returning to the mine)
- Hauling would take place 6am until 4-5pm Monday through Friday
- Initially coal will be hauled to Somerset for processing but eventually could go through Mount Pleasant
- LCT has bonded County Line Road west to Rt 31 and east to 711. Currently, they plan for trucks to travel west on County Line Road to Rt 31, then make a right to travel on Rt 31 to Somerset
For more information, please review the following materials that were made available at the community meeting:
- Powerpoint from 3.1.18 Rustic Ridge Community Meeting
- Settlement Agreement between LCT Energy and MWA on Rustic Ridge Mine
- Additional Commitments from LCT Energy
- Contact Sheet for Reporting Concerns and Complaints
- Local Appraisers Contact Sheet
- Dark Sky Lighting Standards
- Blasting Radius Map