West Virginia PSC grants coal truck waiver to Mechel Bluestone

The West Virginia Public Service Commission on May 15 granted coal producer Mechel Bluestone, a metallurgical coal-producing unit of Russia-based commodities producer Mechel OAO, a temporary waiver on some truck weight limits for public roads.

April 26, Mechel Bluestone petitioned for a temporary waiver of Rule 4.7.b of the Coal Transportation Rules. The waiver concerns the Bishop Loadout receiving site. Mechel Bluestone needs to continue moving coal from its Red Fox surface mine to the Bishop Loadout site in order to meet contractual obligations.

Said the May 15 decision: “[PSC] Staff noted Mechel Bluestone and the Justice Companies (Justice) have entered into an agreement regarding the use of temporary certified scales provided by Justice. Per the agreement, Mechel Bluestone would allow Justice to build a belt and train flood loadout facility that would cut off Mechel Bluestone’s access to its existing certified scales and loadout area. In exchange, Justice agreed to build a truck dump and new set of certified scales for Mechel Bluestone. The original location proposed for the scales proved unsuitable and Justice had to relocate the site and build off road access thereto, running parallel to County Route 16. The off road access will allow Mechel Bluestone to travel to the truck dump without re-entering the public highway.”

The relocated site for the new scales and truck dump was not included in the plant area originally permitted by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP). Justice, therefore, filed an incidental boundary revision (IBR) with WVDEP.

“Justice will begin construction of the off road access and new permanent certified scales at the Bishop Loadout site upon obtaining approval of the IBR from WVDEP,” said the commission order. “Staff confirmed that the earliest possible approval date for the IBR would be May 7, 2013. Mechel Bluestone requests the temporary waiver of 4.7.b for a period of no more than 90 days, during which time Mechel Bluestone will travel on County Route 16 for six miles from its Red Fox Surface Mine to temporary certified scales, provided by Justice, capture a certified weight, re-enter County Route 16, and travel north for approximately four-tenths of a mile to Mechel Bluestone’s existing truck dump. Staff advises that it has conducted an investigation of the facts of the petition and recommends approval of the ninety-day waiver of Rule 4.7.b, provided that (i) Mechel Bluestone place a legal advertisement in a qualified newspaper as provided in W.Va. Code 5 59-3-1, et seq., (ii) Justice have certified scales in place at the at the temporary where Mechel Bluestone will weigh its trucks and Mechel Bluestone will report all shipments and the weights thereof, (iii) Commission weight enforcement officers periodically weigh vehicles leaving the shipping site and traveling on Coal Resource Transportation System (CRTS) roads in McDowell County, West Virginia, and (iv) during the waiver period, Mechel Bluestone fully complies with all CRTS legislation, especially regarding accurate and timely electronic reporting and weight limitations placed on trucks entering CRTS highways.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.