State cites logging operation for Gauley mess

January 21, 2010 by Ken Ward Jr.

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The folks over at Climate Ground Zero have been blogging away about what they say is a coal-mining spill on the Right Fork of Big Creek of the Gauley River in Fayette County, near Gauley Bridge. Read their posts here and here. (And see one of their photos above).

But West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection inspectors determined the problem was caused not by the mining operation there, but by a nearby logging firm.

So, the state Division of Forestry cited that firm — Russell Trucking of Charleston — for muddy water and for being out of compliance with West Virgina’s Logging Sediment Control Act.

I’ve posted a copy of the forestry division’s investigation report here.

If indeed the logging operation is to blame, the incident only highlights an issue that was raised in great detail more than a decade ago in The Charleston Gazette’s Forest for the Trees series: Logging in West Virginia isn’t really regulated, and instead is simply asked to comply with a voluntary set of “best management practices.”

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