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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

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Day of action focuses on CT undocumented's healthcare needs; 7 jurors seated in first Trump criminal trial; ND looks to ease 'upskill' obstacles for former college students; Black Maternal Health Week ends, health disparities persist.

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Seven jury members were seated in Trump's hush money case. House Speaker Johnson could lose his job over Ukraine aid. And the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a case that could undo charges for January 6th rioters.

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Fears grow that low-income folks living in USDA housing could be forced out, North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues, and small towns are eligible for grants to boost civic participation..

WV groups sue Forest Service over Cherry River watershed protections

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Tuesday, January 23, 2024   

West Virginia environmental groups have sued the Forest Service for failing to protect streams in the Cherry River watershed from the impacts of coal hauling in the Monongahela National Forest.

The watershed is home to the critically endangered candy darter, a freshwater fish striped in bright green and orange. But environmentalists say trucks brimming with coal are spilling harmful sediment and pollutants into its waters.

Rick Webb, executive director of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, said his organization has created a website that tracks environmental issues related to coal mining and the watershed.

"And one of the things we've shown is there has been an impact to water quality due to mining, sulfate concentrations or high conductivity or salinity is high. Iron is high. Selenium is high," he cautioned.

In 2021, the Forest Service issued a permit allowing South Fork Coal Company to haul oversized coal loads, cut trees, and regrade and widen forest roads. The permit also allows the company to haul mining supplies, equipment and explosives on F.S. 223, a gravel road along a direct tributary to North Fork Cherry River.

Webb said the lawsuit argues that the permits to haul coal violate federal environmental laws.

"Our concern is that the Forest Service has issued a permit for using this road for hauling coal without following the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and Endangered Species Act, " Webb contended.

According to the group Appalachian Voices, South Fork Coal Company has received permits to operate on nearly 3,300 acres in the region over the past decade. In recent years, the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has issued the company dozens of citations for violating environmental regulations.


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