Kentucky coal operator gets local permit to open a new Nottingham mine

May 6, 2013
Nottingham Township residents express their disappointment Monday of a vote by local supervisors to approve a permit setting the stage for a Kentucky coal operator to open a new mine in the municipality. - Scott Beveridge / Observer-Reporter Order a Print

EIGHTY FOUR – A Kentucky coal operator overcame its first obstacle in opening a new mine in rural Nottingham Township when local supervisors Monday approved its permit application, which has drawn much opposition from residents.

Ramaco of Lexington agreed to “submit” to a lengthy list of above-ground conditions Nottingham supervisors set on the company and will focus on advancing the mine on a horse farm along Little Mingo Road, company officials said.

“The positive conditional-use ruling we received tonight is just the first step in a series of events that need to occur for mining to commence,” Ramaco owner Michael D. Bauersachs stated in a news release.

Ramaco hired unarmed security to attend Monday’s board meeting because state police were recently called to the Hudson family farm over statements that were made expressing displeasure with the sale of the property to Ramaco, supervisors said. He said garbage also had been dumped on the farm.

“That is unacceptable,” Chairman Peter V. Marcoline Jr. said.

Ramaco, which was formed in 2011 by New York-based Yorktown Partners Bauersachs and Randall W. Atkins, purchased 8 million tons of the former Mathies Mine reserves in Nottingham and Peters townships, as well as the 71.6-acre farm for its bath house, portal and related structures. If Ramaco obtains a mining permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection, a process that could take two years, it plans to haul the coal to a processing plant using nearly 70 trucks a day traveling the narrow Little Mingo Road to Ginger Hill Road.

The Nottingham permit hinges on Ramaco receiving a DEP permit, Supervisor Douglas S. King said.

The permit Nottingham supervisors unanimously approved sets 62 conditions on the mine, ranging from it submitting a landscaping plan to limiting the hauling of coal between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Ramaco attorney Rebecca Bowman said she had never seen so many local conditions set on such an operation and some of them were “excessive,” without commenting further on the matter.

“This is a use by right,” Marcoline said. “We can impose conditions. That’s the law.”

Supervisors approved the permit without taking comment from the public.

Marcoline said the supervisors heard from the public about the mine at a public hearing in March.

Sue Ryaby, who lives near the farm, said she expected the supervisors would approve the permit but had hoped residents would have had another chance to voice their concerns at Monday’s meeting.

“I want to cry,” Ryaby said.

She said she will begin to focus on opposing the mine with the DEP and other related agencies.

Meanwhile, Ramaco indicated it will pursue other mining opportunities in the area and create 40 jobs in Nottingham, the company’s news release stated.

“Most importantly, we are committed to developing a safe and productive mine that is a good neighbor to those that dwell around us,” Bauersachs stated.

Scott Beveridge is a North Charleroi native who has lived most of his life in nearby Rostraver Township. He is a general assignments reporter focusing on investigative journalism and writing stories about the mid-Mon Valley. He has a bachelor's degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a master's from Duquesne University. Scott spent three weeks in Vietnam in 2004 as a foreign correspondent under an International Center for Journalists fellowship.

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