International Coal Group has asked the West Virginia Surface Mine Board for permission to continue to develop its longwall mine in Taylor County while revising its permit application.

The Scott Depot-based mining company received a setback Oct. 8 when the Surface Mine Board found its permit does not adequately protect water quality.

It is the second appeal of the mining permit.

ICG initially received a permit for the 10-square-mile mine from the state Department of Environmental Protection in June 2007.

Taylor Environmental Advocacy Membership appealed, arguing that the mine as permitted would cause polluted mine drainage. That appeal resulting in a revised permit issued in April 2008.

TEAM appealed a second time, arguing before the Surface Mine Board in July that the permit would still allow polluted mine drainage.

The seven-member board, which hears appeals of mining permits, found in its review of the case that ICG’s mining plan would not prevent iron seeps that would violate state water quality standards.

It found also that the company’s contingency plan to prevent or treat any seeps was inadequate.

“The board unanimously finds that the decision of the WVDEP was unlawful and unreasonable,” the decision reads.

ICG’s Tygart No. 1 operation near Grafton and Tygart Lake is projected to produce about 3.5 million tons of coal a year for at least 12 years, average among longwall mines in the state.

ICG President Bennett K. Hatfield told local chamber of commerce members in 2006 that he expected to employ 345 at the site.

The area to be undermined — including the communities of Knottsville and Millertown and a number of homes estimated by the company at about 300 and by area residents at about 400 — is expected to subside.

Company calculations estimate vertical drop varying across the undermined area up to 3.3 feet, ICG spokesman Ira Gamm has told The State Journal.

The Surface Mine Board vacated the entire permit on Oct. 8 and remanded it to DEP for further action. ICG’s Oct. 9 letter asks the board to clarify or stay its decision in order to allow for continued development while addressing the water quality concerns.

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