I’ve been two weeks, no after checking the calendar it’s actually almost three weeks, telling myself that I needed to post to my blog. But I couldn’t. I was hurting. I was depressed. I was too angry. You see, the day after I came back from vacation I attended a hearing of the Surface Mine Board of the Department of Environmental Protection regarding the Keystone Development #2.
The purpose of the hearing was to request a stay of the permit until additional public concerns and issues with the permit itself could be clarified. The stay was denied and the hearing will be continued on August 11th regarding other issues we were hoping to address.
It’s not the board’s decision regarding the stay, nor the continuance that had me emotionally needing a blanket fort. No, it was the attitudes of the DEP attorney and the attorneys for Keystone Development. Condescending, arrogant, dismissive, mean-spirited, snarly, rude. I was shocked.
I expected the DEP attorney to be impartial at the very least. I mean, Department of Environmental Protection. I guess I’m naive. I thought they’d side on protecting the environment.
One of our experts pointed out that the watershed plan for the permit was based on a seven-year-old soil study and that a newer study had been available since December, 2013. Using the information from the 2013 study, our expert shared, the watershed numbers for water run-off showed a 25-50% increase. This is significant! But the Keystone Development expert, while acknowledging that our experts’ math was correct, insisted that she could make the existing plan and numbers “work.” Excuse me? It’s not her home that could potentially be flooded!
The Keystone attorney made closing remarks that sounded more like a threat than closing remarks. He slammed both palms on the table and reminded the surface mine board that the governor wouldn’t be happy to lose $2,000,000 in revenue.
I left the hearing feeling so very, very angry with nowhere to channel that anger. I knew I couldn’t say anything to anyone at the hearing without damaging our attorneys’ case and reputation. I don’t want to say or do anything that reflects poorly on the Kanawha Forest Coalition or any of the organizations that have been incredibly supportive. I went into hermit mode.
Luckily, these folk from KFC, OVEC, RAMPS and other organizations understand and won’t let me hide for long. They encourage my self-care and validate the extreme emotional highs and lows of this journey.
When this reality looms over your life:
it becomes vital to find the positive.
This is a personal blog and these are my impressions and my understanding of the situation.