The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Mining and Reclamation today issued North Mountain Shale a permit to operate a quarry near Gerrardstown, Berkeley County.
The agency has written a number of conditions into the permit in an effort to address some of the concerns expressed by members of the community. North Mountain Shale is to complete and maintain revegetation and landscaping to mitigate any visual intrusion to both Prospect Hill and the Gerrardstown Historic District; restrict excavation and hauling to daylight hours Monday through Saturday; and when notified by the public that a funeral is to take place in the cemetery adjacent to the haulage way, the company is to make reasonable efforts to schedule its activities to avoid conflicts with funerals or memorial services.
“The agency heard the concerns expressed by several members of the community and is requiring the company to take a number of steps outside of the usual parameters of the permit,” said Tom Clarke, director of the Division of Mining and Reclamation. “The agency concluded North Mountain Shale’s application met all applicable rules and regulations, the proposed operation will have minimal and temporary environmental impacts, and full reclamation will be achieved when mining is complete.”
The company is permitted to remove the shale up to the 900-foot elevation mark with only ten acres of active mineral removal at any time, and is required to reclaim each section before moving on to the next.
Additionally, the current permit does not allow for modifications to target minerals other than the Martinsburg Shale by the company or any other owners in the future. “Some people were concerned that this permit would lead to larger disturbances in the future and we have addressed that with this permit,” Clarke said.
In addition to the quarry permit, which is good for five years, the company was issued a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit for the operation’s water discharge.