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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

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Trump case expected to head to the jury today; IN food banks concerned about draft Farm Bill; NH parents, educators urge veto of anti-LGBTQ+ bills; Study shows a precipitous drop in migratory fish populations, in US and worldwide.

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Actor Robert DeNiro joins Capitol Police officers to protest against Donald Trump at his New York hush money trial as both sides make closing arguments. And the Democratic Party moves to make sure President Biden will be on the ballot in Ohio.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but decomposing mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

WV groups sue Forest Service over Cherry River watershed protections

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Tuesday, January 23, 2024   

West Virginia environmental groups have sued the Forest Service for failing to protect streams in the Cherry River watershed from the impacts of coal hauling in the Monongahela National Forest.

The watershed is home to the critically endangered candy darter, a freshwater fish striped in bright green and orange. But environmentalists say trucks brimming with coal are spilling harmful sediment and pollutants into its waters.

Rick Webb, executive director of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, said his organization has created a website that tracks environmental issues related to coal mining and the watershed.

"And one of the things we've shown is there has been an impact to water quality due to mining, sulfate concentrations or high conductivity or salinity is high. Iron is high. Selenium is high," he cautioned.

In 2021, the Forest Service issued a permit allowing South Fork Coal Company to haul oversized coal loads, cut trees, and regrade and widen forest roads. The permit also allows the company to haul mining supplies, equipment and explosives on F.S. 223, a gravel road along a direct tributary to North Fork Cherry River.

Webb said the lawsuit argues that the permits to haul coal violate federal environmental laws.

"Our concern is that the Forest Service has issued a permit for using this road for hauling coal without following the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act, " Webb contended.

According to the group Appalachian Voices, South Fork Coal Company has received permits to operate on nearly 3,300 acres in the region over the past decade. In recent years, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has issued the company dozens of citations for violating environmental regulations.


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