CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A group trying to protect West Virginia's scenic New River Gorge and the tourism industry around it from strip mining are headed back to Charleston.The Mountain Health & Heritage Association protested outside Department of Environmental Protection headquarters last month, and it's planning another event today.The state Surface Mine Board is resuming an appeals hearing on permits for Frasure Creek Mining's Open Fork No. 2 mine, a 221-acre site less than 4 miles from Fayetteville.
Frasure Creek has several permit applications either in review or already approved. Together, critics say, they threaten to disturb more than 3,600 acres in an area that spent two decades reinventing itself into a tourist destination.
Frasure Creek is a subsidiary of India-based Essar and operates seven surface mines in West Virginia and Kentucky.