The Monongahela National Forest has rejected Freedomworks' study permit request.
The study permit would have allowed the company to access the Forest, take soil samples, conduct core drilling and do other survey activities in the proposed project area. The major sticking point was the impact to the Big Run Bog, which is a National Natural Landmark recognized by the National Parks Service, but the Forest Service was also concerned about impacts to a Tier 3 trout stream, endangered species and other sensitive resources. The Forest Service found that the company's proposed activities were not consistent with the Forest standards and guidelines, and for that reason the permit was rejected.
You can read the letter from the Forest Service to the company here. The Forest Service also sent a letter explaining their decision to FERC, which you can read here.
As of March 19th, we have learned that the developers plan to appeal the Forest Service's decision, and have asked FERC to approve their permit while the appeal process is ongoing. This is despite the fact that the Forest Service's letter stated that the permit rejection was not subject to administrative appeal. It would be unusual for FERC to approve a permit under such uncertainty, so for now it is likely that the project remains on hold while the appeal process takes place.
If additional public comment opportunities arise, we will post them on this page. In the meantime, please join us in thanking the Forest Service for their decision.
Read more about the project
This is a map of the overall proposed project, from a presentation provided by the company. There may be changes to the route of electrical lines etc. and if we receive a new map, we will add it.
- Federal Register Listing for Permit Application
- Tucker County Commission Page on Pumped Storage
- Pre-permit application submitted to FERC
- Presentation provided by FreedomWorks
- Forest Service Comments on the project
- Additional Forest Service Comment submitted in January 2019
- WV Division of Natural Resources Comments on the project
- Department of the Interior comments on the project
- Friends of Blackwater comments on the project
- Additional Friends of Blackwater comments from January 2019
- West Virginia Highlands Conservancy comments on the project
- WV Rivers comments on the project
- WV Sierra Club comments on the project
- Friends of the Cheat comments on the project
- DOH comment on the project
- Energy Analysis of Project by Prof. Douglas of WVU
- Gazette-Mail article on Pumped Storage controversy
- WV Gazette-Mail coverage of permit denial
- Forest Service Permit Denial
- Forest Service letter to FERC explaining permit denial
- Freedomworks Appeal Letter March 18th
Support this Campaign
Each of the locations depicted here would be impacted by the project.
View from Olson Fire Tower
View from Big Run Overlook
Big Run Falls