On December 29th, the Charleston Gazette-Mail ran an article recounting the controversy that has sprung up around a pumped storage facility planned for Tucker County.
The article included quotes submitted by concerned environmental organizations, including Friends of Blackwater, the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, and the West Virginia Rivers Coalition. Although they were not quoted in the article, the West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club and Friends of the Cheat also submitted comments raising concerns about the project.
More strikingly, several government agencies have raised questions and requested further studies about the project. The US Department of the Interior noted that the project could adversely impact fisheries, migratory birds, and the bald eagle, as well as other species. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources had similar wildlife concerns, and emphasized the importance of projecting the Big Run Bog, a national natural landmark, from the potential negative impacts of construction.
Although only short quotes are included in the Gazette article, the full comments from the interested agencies are worth reading if you get the chance. Near the beginning of their comments, the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section states that “The WRS has grave concerns about the Big Run Pump Storage Project as presented in this preliminary application.” The Forest Service took a similarly skeptical approach in additional comments submitted December 21st, saying “In summary, FreedomWorks’ Big Run Project is not consistent with the management goals, objectives, and standards identified in the Forest Plan for Management Prescriptions 8.2 and 4.1.”