ALERT — (Unneeded) Experimental Mine Proposed for WV Highlands

by Duane Nichols on August 3, 2021

Proposed NIOSH Experimental Mine in WV

Public Hearing on Experimental Underground Mine on August 5th

Action Alert from the WV Environmental Council, August 1, 2021

We request your support in stopping the CDC NIOSH Experimental Mine facility from being placed in Mace, WV. The site under consideration is not suitable for this project. Please ask the WV DEP or the EPA to find an alternate location for this CDC NIOSH Experimental Mine and please refuse to fund it in the current proposed location. Add your name here.

The property is adjacent to Snowshoe Mountain Resort, well known as the largest mid-Atlantic Ski Resort and now internationally recognized as a world class mountain biking destination. The site is in Randolph and Pocahontas County’s pristine highlands where our tourism economy relies on a clean, quiet, wild, and scenic environment.

Homeowners and visitors alike enjoy the recreation opportunities offered by nearby Snowshoe and the Monongahela National Forest, the fishing and swimming in the Elk and Tygart Valley River, the hunting in the Monongahela National Forest, the scenic vistas, the peace and quiet, and the dark skies. This project will compromise the natural features that are the basis of our local economy.

The facility will be built in the source of the headwaters of two rivers. The headwaters of the Tygart Valley River and the Elk River rise from the karst limestone formation within which this mine is proposed. Both rivers are trout reproductive waters and trout fishing destinations.

The Elk River headwaters system of caves and underground streams is renowned as a speleological destination. A dye trace test of the Elk River headwaters conducted in 1976 confirmed a wide area of underground connectivity. The dye trace test confirmed an underground connection between the Tygart Valley River and Elk River watersheds, so this facility puts both rivers at risk of contamination or dewatering.

Excavating a mine in the karst water table carries high risk of dewatering wells and springs, and polluting wells, springs, and streams with sedimentation, fire foam, oil-based products, and blasting residue. The DEIS states that water will be pumped continuously from the facility to the surface during construction and during operation. Flow into and out of the facility could be a direct conduit for chemicals to escape into water moving through the karst caves and cracks that is the source of drinking water for the surrounding community, and communities downstream.

The Tygart Valley River is one of the water sources for the city of Elkins, WV. The Elk River serves drinking water to Charleston. Pollution created by this facility would travel downstream and affect many distant communities.

Route 219 is one of the main conduits for tourists traveling into Pocahontas County from points North and East and for residents traveling to jobs, healthcare, and most other commerce needs. The proposed mine entrance on Rt. 219 is on a 7% grade with inadequate line of sight from the south for traffic traveling downhill at a high rate of speed toward the mine entrance. During four years of construction, this mountain road will be frustrating at best, and dangerous at worst when a high volume of industrial truck traffic interacts with high volume of tourist traffic, logging trucks, employees, and support service trucks traveling to and from Snowshoe.

Please ask the WV DEP and/or the EPA to find an alternate location for this CDC NIOSH Experimental Mine and decline to fund it in the current proposed location. The proposed location is simply inappropriate for this facility.

Our friends in Pocahontas and Randolph Counties are organizing to protect their water from a proposed experimental mine. You can support residents through their current action alert.


When: August 5, 2021 from 6:00 to 7:00 PM

Where: Zoom Webinar;

Or Telephone:

+1 312 626 6799, Webinar ID: 839 4304 5020

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