The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said in a May 14 public notice that Wellston Coal LLC is seeking a water permit on a new strip mine in McDowell County.
The permit is needed “in order to operate the Totten Ridge Surface Mine No. 1 and haulroad in the Pocahontas 3 and Pocahontas 4 seam/minerals beds,” said the notice. “This operation will discharge treated water and stormwater runoff into the Un-named Tributary of Jump Branch; Jump Branch of South Fork; Milam Branch of South Fork and McClure Branch of South Fork; Un-named Tributary of Tug Fork and Tug Fork River.”
The DEP is seeking information by a May 31 deadline on private surface water intakes for human consumption located in the above listed receiving streams and located down stream of this operation. Comments may include a request for a public hearing.
DEP records show that a companion mine permit application for Totten Ridge Surface Mine No. 1, which covers 287 acres, was filed in December 2010, with a 2011 name change for the applicant company from Green Tree Consulting to Wellston Coal. This would be a contour auger job. That application is still pending.
The only other pending mine permit application for Wellston Coal was filed in July 2011 for the Jump Branch No. 1 deep mine, a room-and-pillar job to work the Squire Jim seam in McDowell County.
The only issued permits out of the DEP’s mining division in the Wellston Coal name are for an exploration area and for the Totten Ridge haulroad in McDowell County, near Jenkinjones.
McDowell County is the center for high-quality, low- to mid-vol metallurgical coal production in southern West Virginia. West Virginia Secretary of State records show that the members of Wellston Coal LLC, which first registered itself with that agency in 2011, are Ronald Phillips of Weston, Conn., and Anil Dang of New York City.