Morgantown Area to Lose $3 Million for Richard Mine
13 August 2012
MORGANTOWN - The Morgantown area is losing $3 million that would
have been used to support construction of an acid mine drainage
(AMD) treatment project for the Richard mine, according to a news
release from Friends of Deckers Creek.
The Natural Resources Conservation Service is allocating the funds
to a different project, because it had no local government agency
to partner with, officials said.
NRCS is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and between
2004 and 2008 it received funds to restore water quality in
Deckers Creek through the Small Watershed Program, which is
established by Public Law 83-566.
The Deckers Creek project included the Richard mine and twelve
other mine reclamation projects that make up the overall watershed
project. Officials said NRCS completed projects that improved
water quality on six sites, and the WVDEP completed projects on
The Richard mine is the only major source of AMD of the remaining
three sites, according to the news release.
The City of Morgantown was willing to serve as the local sponsor,
but the NRCS rejected the city's proposal because it did not find
the proposal to be in line with Public Law 83-566, which the NRCS
believes would require the city to remain the owner of the
treatment plant, according to the news release.
"This is a tragedy," said Martin Christ, Water Remediation
Director for FODC. "If the Richard mine AMD is not treated,
Morgantown and Morgan District of Monongalia County will always
have a polluted corridor. The NRCS money was the anchor that
brought in the other resources, including the commitment by WVDEP
and the willingness of the City of Morgantown to finish the job.
Without the NRCS money, we do not see a way to make Deckers Creek
fishable, swimmable, and economically productive."
Christ said the sponsorship issue could be resolved with a little
more negotiation, because the city of Morgantown satisfies all the
criteria in the law for a local sponsor.
Kevin Wickey, WV NRCS State Conservationist released the following
statement on the matter Monday:
"Public Law 83-566, the Small Watershed Act, not NRCS sets
requirements for eligible local sponsors and their roles. There
are no easy solutions to the Richard Mine problem. With no local
sponsor, partial funding, and no way to complete the project, NRCS
reallocated the available funding to another W.Va. project that
could be completed within the legal and practical limitations of
PL83-566. I regret that NRCS was not able to be part of the
solution for the Richard Mine Site. We have every reason for
wanting a successful outcome for this project."