Curious Proposal to Relocate Explosives Research Facility into Pocahontas County?

by Duane Nichols on May 12, 2021

Public information meeting on proposed NIOSH research mine

CDC/NIOSH holds open house for proposed underground research facility in northern Pocahontas County, WV

From an Article by Heather Niday, Allegheny Mountain Radio, March 13, 2021

Representatives of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [NIOSH] and its parent organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention were the hosts for an open house at the Linwood public library near Snowshoe on March 6th to answer questions about a proposed underground testing lab and research center near Mace on the Pocahontas-Randolph county line. The proposed 460 acre site which borders US Route 219 is owned by the Consortium for Silver Creek Group. The West Virginia Secretary of State’s office identifies David. L. Litsey, a Snowshoe area homeowner as the owner of the consortium.

A cross section of people attended the 3 hour open house including local residents, business owners and county government officials. The Mace site would replace the Lake Lynn Experimental Mine, an underground chamber in a limestone quarry located in Fairchance, Pennsylvania. That site was operated by NIOSH from 1982 until 2012 when the property owner declined to sell or extend the lease on the property. A Draft Environmental Impact Statement on the Mace site was posted online in February. Sam Tarr of the Office of Safety, Security and Asset Management for the CDC explained what they were looking for from the public meeting.

“The whole Environmental Impact Statement process is public involvement so we go out and do due diligence to understand what impacts it may have,” said Tarr. “But it also gives the community, you guys live here daily, an opportunity to come and bring forward anything that maybe we’d overlooked; more importantly than overlooked that we’re just unaware of.”

Jeff Welsh, Associate Director of Science for the CDC/NIOSH said the Mace site would be used for research similar to that performed at the Lake Lynn site. “What we did there is a lot of our explosion research and what that is, is looking at ways of preventing explosions from happening,” he said.

Many folks have questions about locating a facility in the Karst limestone that is so much a part of the Pocahontas county geology, but Welsh said it’s not really a factor. “It doesn’t have an effect,” Welch said. “What we want to create is just like what an underground mine would look like so we can do experiments in full scale.

Pocahontas County Commissioner Walt Helmick spoke in favor of the project. “I think it’s a project that fits Pocahontas County,” he said. “It’s a project that doesn’t have as far as I’m concerned any significant environmental issues and we’ll find out all those things, but no, I tend to be in favorite of it.” Helmick said he’d also like to have more information about the potential economic impact the site could have on the county.

The project would potentially affect five federally listed species at the site through habitat loss or disruption including Northern Long-eared and Indiana Bats and the Cheat Mountain Salamander. NIOSH says that consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife service under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act is ongoing.

Autumn Crowe, Staff Scientist with West Virginia Rivers, says it’s difficult to form an opinion about the project because she said the DEIS is deficient. “I really feel like they need more information in order to make the conclusion that there will be no impacts to ground water,” said Crowe. “A lot of people are concerned about the well water and the springs; that’s their main source of drinking water. We want to make sure their concerns are addressed for this project and right now I’m not seeing that those concerns can be alleviated because there’s not enough information to conclude that there’s no impacts to the ground water.”

Crowe said they are also concerned about discrepancies between the DEIS and the WV Division of Natural Resources regarding caves on the proposed site. She said the WV DNR has commented that there are caves on the site, but the DEIS states there are no caves. As for sinkholes, a feature that can be found in Karst, the DEIS states that no sinkholes were found during a survey of the site, but Crowe said only about 10 percent of the property was surveyed. She said they would prefer to have a more detailed terrain survey done on the entire site to look for possible sinkholes.

Copies of the Draft EIS can be obtained at:

>>> Federal eRulemaking Portal: (reference Docket No. CDC-2018-0057).

>>> Linwood Community Library, 72 Snowshoe Drive, Slatyfork, West Virginia 26291.

>>> By written request (electronic copies only) to:

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Autumn Crowe May 12, 2021 at 8:39 pm

From the West Virginia Rivers Coalition, April 5, 2019

Office of Safety, Security, and Asset Management (OSSAM) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road NE, MS-K80
Atlanta, Georgia 30329-4027

Re: Docket No. CDC-2018-0057 Attn: Sam Tarr

(Submitted electronically via

West Virginia Rivers Coalition, on behalf of our members and the organizations signed below, respectfully submit the following comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the proposed development of an Underground Mine Safety Research Facility in Mace, West Virginia.

DEIS lacks sufficient information: The DEIS is woefully insufficient to adequately assess the environmental impacts of the proposed project. We found the DEIS lacking the critical information needed to fully analyze the significant impacts of the project. Due to the lack of adequate information, we are unable to provide a comprehensive analysis of the DEIS. Because of this deficiency, we request a revised EIS to be issued for the proposed project with all the necessary information to meet the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Specifically, the regulation explains that “NEPA procedures must ensure that environmental information is available to public officials and citizens before decisions are made and before actions are taken. The information must be of high quality. Accurate scientific analysis, expert agency comments, and public scrutiny are essential to implementing NEPA.” Further analysis must be included to meet the requirements of the NEPA.

We are concerned about the suitability of this location given the site selection criteria and the deficiencies and discrepancies of the DEIS. To comply with NEPA, we request another opportunity for the public to comment when an accurate and factual EIS has been released. Additionally, we found the following topics lacking of sufficient information and request these issues be addressed in a revised or supplemental EIS:

Discrepancies on caves features in the DEIS: The DEIS states that no caves features were identified during site reconnaissance; however, WVDNR stated that cave features exist on the property. Additionally, the WV Speleological Survey submitted comments detailing several cave features on the property that could “cause problems”. This glaring omission from the DEIS calls into question the validity and accuracy of the document in fully assessing the environmental impacts of the proposed project. This is highly critical information that has been overlooked; therefor, DEIS must be deemed insufficient. The public was not provided enough information to adequately assess the environmental impacts of the proposed project and must be given another opportunity to comment on the EIS once they have been supplied with accurate and complete information.

Minimum Criteria

The DEIS contains discrepancies in the minimum criteria. On page 1-4, the first bullet states, “If the proposed site does not have any existing or previous mining activity:” Under this criteria, the sub-criteria states “the mine and undisturbed rock mass shall contain no sinkholes.” This statement is contradictory to the previous statement. The proposed site has had no previous mining activity. The sub-criteria then should not reference the presence of a mine.

The proposed property is located within karst terrain. By definition, Karst terrain is characterized by the presence of sinkholes. Therefore, identifying sinkholes is of utmost importance in order to determine if this site meets the minimum criteria. The presence of sinkholes has the potential to cause damage to the facility or environment. The technology exists to efficiently survey the entire site to detect sinkholes. Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) technology can collect detailed elevation data with a high level of accuracy and has been used for the detection and analysis of sinkholes. Additionally, ground penetrating radar can be used to locate subsurface sinkholes and voids. Detection of these features is critical to determine if this location can safely house the facility. These terrain mapping techniques must be under-taken, and the results included in the EIS to show whether this site meets the criteria.


Only 4 geotechnical test borings were performed on site, and the results of those borings were not included in the DEIS.

Additionally, Figure 3-3 is the only map showing the locations of the borings and they are not shown in relation to where the underground facility will be located. The EarthTech, Inc. 2018 report cited in the DEIS must be included in a supplemental EIS with additional geotechnical borings to more accurately map the karst and groundwater features. Detailed analysis must be performed showing fractures in the geology where groundwater is present. The target formation must be thoroughly mapped for significant voids, faults, and fracture patterns. A profile view of the proposed mine with elevation depths should be overlaid with the mapped caves and subterranean streams in the vicinity to determine if the underground facility intersects any caves or aquifers.


The location of the facility is proposed in an area where soils are rated as limited for road construction and development. Significant erosion is expected to occur. The DEIS states that implementing best management practices (BMPs) would minimize the impacts; however, traditional BMPs are not effective in these erosion-prone soils where the particles are so fine that they take longer to settle out once entrained. Erosion and sedimentation have the potential to impact groundwater and surface water. Enhanced BMPs must be identified to control erosion during and after construction.

Surface Water

The DEIS does not adequately address the potential impacts to the Tygart Valley River. The Tygart Valley River is a designated trout stream and has stricter water quality standards. Trout are highly sensitive to sedimentation in the stream. Constructing the facility in highly erodible soils could cause increases in sedimentation and negatively impact the trout fishery. Portions of the Tygart Valley River are also listed as impaired, although the headwaters are relatively high quality. Sediment loading calculations need to be included in the EIS to determine that the construction will not contribute to the pollution limit for the Tygart River Watershed.


The DEIS states that limited information is available about springs and wells used for potable water sources near the project area; however, most residences in the area use springs and wells for their drinking water supplies. In their scoping comments, the Environmental Protection Agency letter contained detailed recommendations to include in the EIS on impacts to water resources, “Address all water quality issues including surface water, groundwater, drinking water, stormwater management, wastewater management, wetlands, oceans and watershed. Identify and describe the principal aquifers in the region and all public and private wells. Identify nearby areas of groundwater recharge and examine any potential impacts on them.” This recommendation made by EPA was not fulfilled within the DEIS. More information is needed to determine whether construction and operational activities will impact residential drinking water sources. All private drinking water wells must be identified.

Spills of hydraulic fluid, oil, or other contaminants from drilling or excavation equipment could be introduced into the environment. Contaminant migration into the groundwater is especially susceptible in the karst environment. Spill prevention and response measures must be identified and enhanced around groundwater recharge areas. A water monitoring plan pre- and post-construction must be included in the EIS. In the event of an impact to nearby drinking water wells, a detailed contingency plan to repair or replace impacted wells must be identified and agreed to by the landowners potentially impacted.


The impact of the tunnel construction on groundwater resources has not been adequately addressed. The depth of the tunnel is estimated to be approximately 500 feet underground. The depth to the groundwater at nearby wells is approximately 300-400 feet. Figure 4-1 shows the tunnel for the facility going under Stream S-2. The depth of the tunnel at this point is not defined. Tunneling underneath the stream could have significant impacts to both surface water and groundwater in karst terrain, especially if subterranean streams are present.

The WV Speleological Survey (WVSS) submitted a letter on February 25 that details the caves in the vicinity; however, the DEIS was published February 14. The information contained within the WVSS’s letter must be analyzed within the EIS. The letter contains information on the Marshall Cave, a very serious water cave that runs just under a mile in length revealing that an extensive subterranean stream network exists on the property. The extent of the subterranean streams has not been determined and thus the impacts to groundwater has not been fully analyzed within the DEIS. Extensive mapping and analysis is needed to determine if the underground tunnel intersects any of the subterranean streams. If the construction of the underground facility intersects a subterranean stream; the groundwater could be irreparably impacted. Extensive research on the groundwater impacts is needed including detailed subterranean stream mapping to determine the groundwater depth and flow direction. The DEIS must identify a tunnel route that avoid impacts on the groundwater during construction of the underground facility. Constructing the tunnel without detailed information on the location of the subterranean stream network could cause irreparable damage to the groundwater system.

Threatened and Endangered Species

The DEIS was released prior to the completion of the Section 7 consultation with the USFWS therefore the section detailing the impacts on threatened and endangered (T&E) species is incomplete. Without the USFWS biological opinion, the DEIS is unable to satisfy the requirements of NEPA and the public cannot make informed comments on the impacts to T&E species. A supplemental EIS should be released containing the USFWS biological opinion with an opportunity for public comment.

The DEIS is deficient of the following information:
The entire site must be surveyed: Because of the sensitivity of environment and the risks associated with constructing the facility in karst terrain, the entire site must be surveyed to identify caves, springs, sinkholes, seeps, wetlands and streams. Only 10% of the entire 460-acre site was surveyed.

No impact analysis of invasive species impacts. Construction of the facility has the potential to introduce invasive species into the environment. The DEIS must analyze the potential for the project to introduce invasives on the site and identify measure to mitigate those potential impacts.

No impact analysis of trout habitat impacts. The DEIS does not contain an analysis of the potential impacts on trout habitat. According to Trout Unlimited’s Eastern Brook Trout Portfolio analysis, the trout habitat patch in the Tygart Valley River that encompasses the proposed facility is among the top 5% of the entire eastern range of brook trout in resiliency to climate change. There is a potential for downstream impacts on trout habitat from sedimentation or changes in the hydrology and groundwater recharge. The EIS must detail potential impacts to trout habitat and how those impacts will be mitigated.

Insufficient analysis of recreation and tourism impacts. The concerns brought up in the scoping process referencing the impact of the proposed facility on recreation and tourism in the region were not adequately addressed in the DEIS. The visibility analysis only analyzed the viewshed of the underground facility, not the 8-foot fence. The fence should also be included in the viewshed analysis.

In addition, the proposed facility’s impact on recreational fishing in the Tygart Valley River must be assessed, including whether the location of the fence will prohibit fishing access. Furthermore, the impact of the increased truck traffic on the tourists traveling to Snowshoe Mountain must be fully analyzed.

Thank you for your careful consideration of these comments.

Signed, Angie Rosser, West Virginia Rivers Coalition and Larry Thomas, West Virginia Highlands Conservancy and Beth Little, Eight Rivers Council, and Allen Johnson, Christians for the Mountains and Ben Barczewski, Appalachian Mountain Advocates


Ellie Bell May 13, 2021 at 7:40 pm


Grab a piece of paper and a pencil. Tune into the Livestreamed Letter-Writing Party in the “Stop the Experimental Mine Bordering Snowshoe Mountain” Facebook group. We will help you write a paragraph and send it as a letter to Joe Manchin and Jim Justice.


We are hosting a series of letter-writing parties in our community. Email Ellie Bell at to find out how you can attend.


If you cannot make it stay tuned at this site or send an email to Ellie Bell at to request letter-writing information.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Proposed Underground Research Facility in Mace
Letter Writing Resources

If you are concerned about the potential impact of the massive, complex NIOSH underground mine construction and research project proposed for our community, we urge you to communicate with those who will soon be making decisions on whether this project will proceed.

None of us oppose Coal Mine safety research. This is simply an inappropriate site for this facility. Our region is un-impacted by mining and the site is located at the source of the headwaters of two major rivers. There are other, more appropriate sites in West Virginia that are better suited for this facility, such as an abandoned limestone mine. The Lake Lynn Experimental Mine, which this project replaces, was built in an abandoned Limestone mine.

Snowshoe and parent company, Alterra have written strong letters of opposition to this project, as has the Pocahontas County Commission. Senator Joe Manchin, in a private meeting with Snowshoe about this project, specifically requested letters from concerned residents. He wants to hear from more area residents about why the NIOSH project is not appropriate for our community. It is critical that he hears from us before the Draft Environmental Impact Statement is complete. It is scheduled for release mid-summer.

Please write to Senator Joe Manchin. If you send more than one letter, please send one to Governor Justice as well. Just change the address and name and send the same letter to Governor Jim Justice.

So, please take a few moments to review the attached reference material and then join us in writing to those who have the power to redirect this project to a more appropriate location.

We attached contact information for Senator Manchin and Jim Justice.

Your letter does not need to be technical or formal.

Simply state what your ties are to our region, whether you are a property owner or a person who loves to vacation here, long time resident or new to the area. Clearly state that you oppose building the facility here and tell them why you oppose it. Feel free to pull information from any of the attached documents.

Hand-written notes are fine.

Thank you! Your time and your effort are deeply important and appreciated.

Contact Information for our Representatives

Senator Joe Manchin
300 Pennsylvania Ave
Suite 629
Charleston WV 25302

Governor Jim Justice
Office of the Governor
State Capitol, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E
Charleston, WV 25305
304-558-2000 or 1-888-438-2731


Pocahontas and southern Randolph Counties are unimpacted by mining. This facility is a full-scale deep mine with all the risks to groundwater associated with any deep mine.


The facility will be located adjacent to Snowshoe and Monongahela National Forest in a county that relies on a tourism economy based on outdoor recreation. FOREVER WILD is Snowshoe’s slogan. Pocahontas County is known as the Birthplace of Rivers. This facility has a heavy impact on two of those rivers.


An Above Ground Fire Suppression Experimental Facility will be located on the site. It will be built on Karst, which provides a conduit for contaminants to enter groundwater unfiltered by soil, through cracks, fissures and caves located within the limestone. Fire Foam will be used at the above ground facility as well as in the underground facility. Fire Foam contains PFA’s, a dangerous chemical that accumulates in the environment and the body and never degrades or breaks down. It is called a “forever chemical” and is well known for contaminating water supplies in communities adjacent to Fire Suppression training facilities like the National Guard training facility in Martinsburg WV.


The location for this experimental deep mine is upstream from or adjacent to the communities of Mace, Upper Dry Branch road, Mingo Flats road, Douglas Fork Road, Sunset Mountain Village, and Woods Run. These communities depend on wells and springs for their potable water supply. The blasting and tunnelling required to build this 164000 GSF (gross sq foot) facility 500 feet underground, and the constant pumping to the surface of the groundwater flowing into the facility during both construction and during operation, risks changes to the groundwater flow, potentially dewatering wells and springs, and contamination by diesel and oil-based fluids, chemicals used in fire suppression, nitrates from blasting and any unknown chemicals used in the experiments.


The facility will be built within the limestone formation at the source of the headwaters of the Tygart Valley River and the Elk River. Dye trace studies completed in 1976 document an underground connection of the waters in the Elk and Tygart Valley River headwater watersheds. This is a rare underground connection of the watersheds of two major rivers. Potential for chemical contamination exists for both rivers. There is potential for a change in groundwater flow that may affect the quantity of water flowing into one or both rivers.


The entrance to this facility will be located on Route 219, on a 7% grade on the north side of the Pocahontas/Randolph County line. The construction of this facility will take at least four years. The truck traffic created by construction of this deep mine will create a major traffic obstacle between Snowshoe and Elkins, disrupting local commuting for employment and goods and services, as well as the route travelled to Snowshoe Mountain Resort by tourists from the Baltimore, DC and Northern VA area. The truck traffic removing excavated materials from the site will equal 116 dump truck loads PER DAY for a period of 4 months (at least) and then 16 dump trucks PER DAY hauling excavated limestone off site. Double those numbers for the total trips to and from the facility. These numbers DO NOT INCLUDE machinery or materials delivery to and from the site.

This project is estimated to produce only 12 jobs. Most of the jobs created will be for PhD Mining Engineers and PhD Scientists who will come from out of county and even out of state.

There was no mention of light pollution in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. However, our area enjoys dark skies with superior night sky views. A project of this magnitude will include industrial lighting. It is unclear how much industrial lighting will be included but it will be part of our new realty if this project is built.

During construction, estimated to last four years, noise pollution will change the enjoyment of living in our remote and quiet neighborhood. Industrial noise levels from construction will be present from 7am-7pm Monday – Saturday. The closest homes to the site will experience sound levels between 47 and 68 dBA from the operation of heavy equipment, and air blast noise from above ground blasting to create the mine.

The experimental above ground fire suppression facility will be used to test fire suppression products on things like mine belt fires, (this example was used in the DEIS). Burning a mine belt will create a dense black smoke plume. The smoke plume will be visible and odiferous across a wide area. The plume and odor will travel down wind from the site and potentially be visible at Snowshoe.

Sample Letter

Dear ____:

I am writing today to ask for your support in opposing the location of the new National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) underground research facility at a proposed site in Mace, WV.

I am a resident of ____. I know the Mace area well and understand the devastating impact the NIOSH project could have here. This scenic area in northern Pocahontas, southern Randolph Counties is simply not the right location for an underground project of this scope. Please help us re-direct NIOSH to a better, more cost-effective location elsewhere in our state where this important work could continue long into the future – without threatening the safety, economy and environmental integrity of our community.

There are many reasons Mace should not be considered as the site for this NIOSH project. I would like to highlight a few. (Select one or two from the bullet points below.)

· The Mace site sits in the heart of an environmentally fragile and pristine area that draws outdoor enthusiasts from around the world to enjoy our natural beauty. It is adjacent to Snowshoe Resort, which has gone on record as adamantly opposing the NIOSH project for its negative impact on Snowshoe operations and the local tourist economy. Why compromise a region dependent on its environmental integrity? There are many regions in West Virginia where mining is already well established, with geology proven to safely support underground mining. It doesn’t make sense to bring this level of blasting, construction and contamination to an area known as “Nature’s Playground,” “Forever Wild,” and “Birthplace of Rivers.” If there is any doubt about how important the tourism economy is here, consider the latest official figures on tourism revenues — $113 Million in Pocahontas County alone! Let’s not jeopardize this.
· The environmental threats of the NIOSH project are real and have tremendous consequences for our community – beyond their impact on our tourism economy. The project sits at the headwaters of both the Tygart Valley and Elk Rivers. Delicate karst geology throughout this region could easily disrupt the existing flow of clean water feeding both rivers. In fact, groundwater dye trace studies completed in 1976 document a rare underground connection in these sensitive watersheds. Not only is the health of our pure native trout streams and rivers at risk, but so is the drinking water for our local residents.
· The location of this experimental deep mine is upstream from or immediately adjacent to communities dependent on clean spring and well water. No public water service exists for a growing number of neighboring residents, many of whom choose to invest here because of our pure environment. The blasting and tunneling required to build this 164,000 gross square foot NIOSH facility 500 feet underground, combined with the constant pumping of groundwater to the surface, is a clear risk to the safe groundwater resource of our area.
Not only could wells and springs run dry, but the only water available to local residents could be contaminated by diesel and oil based fluids, fire suppression chemicals, nitrates from blasting and unknown chemicals used in NIOSH experimental operations.
· The NIOSH site will include an Above Ground Fire Suppression Experimental Facility, with extensive use of fire foam. Fire foam contaminants include Perfluoroalkoxy Polymers (PFAs), a dangerous “forever” chemical known for contaminating water supplies in communities adjacent to fire suppressant facilities, like the National Guard training site in Martinsburg, WV.
· The heavy truck traffic this project would create would be disastrous on a narrow, mountainous two-lane stretch of Rt. 219 – a main travel corridor for the region. The NIOSH facility entrance would be located on a 7 percent grade at the border between Pocahontas and Randolph Counties on Rt. 219. This creates a major obstacle between Snowshoe and Elkins, disrupting local commuting for employment plus goods and services transport. It also disrupts a key route for tourists to Snowshoe. Local, tourist and emergency transportation would be seriously compromised, especially during the four-year construction phase. At times, truck traffic for removal of excavated materials alone will equal 116 dump truck loads PER DAY, with a steady flow of 16 dump truck loads predicted PER DAY as excavated limestone is hauled offsite. Not only would this often bring traffic to a standstill on Rt. 219, but this could compromise the long-term integrity of a traffic corridor essential to our region.
· And in a time when we all know how important good jobs are to our local communities, it is important to remember that the number of jobs at the NIOSH facility is 12. Just 12, with the majority of those positions to be filled by Ph.D. mining engineers from elsewhere. One dozen jobs that threaten countless other good, longstanding jobs created by local businessmen and women who know that our future here is tied to a healthy, vibrant environment.

Please help us stop this threat to our community.

Thank you for taking the time to read my concerns, and thank you for a response on this important issue.

If I can help you with any follow-up, I can be reached at:


Sample Letter Introductions
Letters should be personal and reflect who you are and why you are concerned about NIOSH project impacts in our community.
Examples of introductions others have shared include:

Dear Senator Manchin,
I am writing to you because I oppose the NIOSH Experimental Mine proposed for Mace WV in Pocahontas County. I live in (place of residence)_and I travel here often to fish in the Elk River. The unique geology of the Headwaters of the Elk River includes an extensive system of caves and underground flow, eventually re-emerging at Elk Springs Resort. This clean and dramatic watershed is one of my favorite haunts. I love it so much I plan to retire here. The NIOSH project threatens this unspoiled river and my vision of retirement . . . .

Dear Senator Manchin,
I am from (residence), and I own a second home near Snowshoe. I oppose the NIOSH experimental mine proposed for Mace WV. We bought our home at (Woods Run) as a refuge from the noise, traffic, and pollution of (Residence location) We love hiking, biking, and fishing right in the neighborhood. It is a short drive to Snowshoe for skiing in winter, and wonderful mountain bike trails and a lake in the summer. It is truly a vacationing mecca, with the nearby Monongahela National Forest, the pristine Elk and upper Tygart rivers, and even choices for dining at both Snowshoe and Elk Springs Resort. The Experimental Mine proposed for Mace will change this beautiful place forever. The truck traffic will make it difficult to travel over the mountain to Pocahontas County. We are downstream from the site and our wells are drilled through Karst, so the project threatens our clean water supply….

Dear Senator Manchin,
I am from Randolph County WV and I work at Snowshoe. I oppose this project. I live in (Elkins) and my commute to work will be almost impossible during the construction phase of this project due to the very heavy truck traffic on Rt 219. I am also very concerned that this project will contaminate the Tygart Valley River with chemicals from spilled diesel, blasting residue, and other chemicals used on the site. I live downstream and this may affect my drinking water. I grew up here and have fished in the upper Tygart Valley River all my life. Brook trout reproduce in that part of the river . . . .

Dear Senator Manchin,
I built a home and retired at Sunset Mountain Village in Mace WV because of the incredible views, clean air and water and the peace and quiet. I love being close to Snowshoe because I ski in the winter and mountain bike in the summer. I love the dark skies and the peaceful quiet of Mace, WV. I never imagined an experimental mine would be proposed for this unique and special place. Now we are facing the prospect of years of dodging dump trucks on 219 and industrial level noise from trucks, heavy equipment and blasting and dusk to dawn industrial lighting. There is also the very real possibility our well will be contaminated by chemicals or dewatering as vibrations from NIOSH underground blasting travel through the fragile Karst geology that defines this region . . .


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