Gov. Cecil Underwood will wait at least a week before commenting on a mountaintop removal study on which he was briefed Monday by members of a task force, a spokesman said.Underwood "went into this without any preconceived notions," said Dan Page. "He told them to 'go and do,' and he doesn't interfere with them while they're doing it."The task force will hold its final meeting Wednesday. Members will discuss the group's four-month report and vote it up or down, said Christie Mullett, an assistant to Marshall University President J. Wade Gilley, chairman of the task force.The report will be relayed to Underwood by Thursday or Friday, Page said.
Gilley divided the task force into three committees assigned to review the economic, environmental and social effects of large-scale strip mining practices. Gilley and the three committee chairmen took part in Monday's briefing, Page said.
"They took a very analytical approach to this," Page said. "They did their best to listen to what folks had to say."At the start of the task force's work, Gilley indicated that the group existed only to report to Underwood. Any steps beyond that will be up to the governor, Gilley said.Page said Monday that there is "a good chance" that task force recommendations will involve changing state law."Legislation is always a possibility. It always was," Page said.The final meeting of the task force will take place at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Marshall University Graduate College campus in South Charleston.