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Concerned Residents Meet With ODNR About Proposed Coal Mine

Erin Gottsacker

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources hosts a public meeting Tuesday evening for people concerned about a proposed surface coal mine in southeast Ohio’s Perry State Forest. The planned mine comes at a unique time for both the company behind it, and the state.

Oxford Mining Company has thousands of acres of land in Ohio, but filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year to reorganize its debt. Company officials say that will not affect ongoing projects, including a proposed 545-acre mine near New Lexington.

The Tuesday meeting at New Lexington High School comes as residents push back against the company over concerns about the mine “potentially causing structural damage to homes and wells, reduced property values, increased traffic on local roads, noise from blasting and traffic, and air and water pollution,” according to an emailed statement from the group Friends of Perry State Forest.

Oxford and ODNR officials say the company would have to pay into a state mine remediation fund in order to get a permit. Activists argue the mine reclamation fund is already overburdened after the Kasich administration withdrew $5 million to balance the state budget in 2017.