Last chance to submit comments about Black Diamond area coal mine

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement will be accepting written comments about the Environmental Assessment for reopening the John Henry coal mine, located outside of Black Diamond, untilĀ May 13.

The Pacific Coal Company notified residents within a half mile of the John Henry Mine with letters on April 2 saying the company would resume mining of pits 1 and 2 of the mine, which hasn't produced coal since 1999. A blasting notice informed residents of Pacific Coal's intention to detonate explosives on approximately 160 acres of land during the mining operation. The notice covers blasting up until June 30, 2015.

Collin Jergens, a spokesman for the environmental group Fuse, says the organization has had more than 1,400 people send comments to the OSMRE, most of whom support holding a public hearing and oppose restarting the mine. Jergens said other environmental groups have joined in support, with more than 3,000 comments submitted.

Dave Morris, President of Pacific Coast Coal, told The Reporter that "coal is a dirty word so environmental groups use that to raise money. This Fuse group seems to be doing that."

The Environmental Assessment can be found here.

The Fuse website includes a template letter, which demands a public hearing on the matter, that can be sent to the OSMRE.

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