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Contact: Tom Blount, 423-569-9778
Contact: Niki Stephanie Nicholas, 423-569-9778
The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area will be conducting public meetings to receive input from interested parties on issues, concerns, and suggestions pertinent to coal mine drainage mitigation and treatment. The first meeting will be on Monday, July 14, 2014, and will take place at the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in the Interpretation and Education Building at the Bandy Creek Visitor Center. The second meeting will take place on Tuesday, July 15, 2014, and will be located at the McCreary County Senior Citizen's Center in Whitley City, Kentucky. The third meeting will take place on Thursday, July 17, 2014, and will be located at the Oak Ridge High School Food Court in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. All meeting times will be 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
The National Park Service is starting to prepare a Contaminated Mine Drainage Mitigation and Treatment System Draft Environmental Impact Statement. The purpose of this project is to address contaminated mine drainage at nine sites within the Kentucky portion of the park and to create a programmatic approach to considering future treatment options at former mining sites throughout the entire park. These actions will address the need to improve water quality in tributaries of the Big South Fork River.
The Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area region has been extensively mined for coal since the early 1900s, and mining waste materials were typically dumped near the mines. Surface and ground water that comes in contact with mine spoils or that is discharged from the mines is often acidic and has elevated concentrations of heavy metals. Contaminated mine drainage pollutes aquatic systems and is considered to be partly responsible for a reduction in biological diversity of lakes and streams in the Big South Fork area.
All interested parties are welcome to attend the public meetings. The National Park Service would like to hear any and all comments on the scope of the proposed project by Friday, August 15, 2014, and comments can be submitted on-line at the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/biso or mailed to the Superintendent of the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area, 4564 Leatherwood Road, Oneida, Tennessee 37841.For more information, please contact the park headquarters at (423) 569-9778.