OEPA hearing: Johnson Run stripmine water degradation permit, Monday, Oct. 7, 6 pm at Burr Oak Lodge


OEPA is holding another public hearing on the discharge permit for the proposed strip mine in Trimble Township, Athens County. This is the second public hearing on this permit, and the OEPA has once again got it wrong! OEPA’s director wants to lower the water quality of Johnson Run, which will destroy the stream. There is NO justification for this mine.  The OEPA is violating federal antidegradation law by permitting it. We need to pack the room and tell OEPA that our voices will be heard and federal law followed!

Comments can also be sent to scott.foster@epa.ohio.gov (include Johnson Run Mine NPDES OILOO168*AD). Also send to USEPA Region 5, R5NPDES@epa.gov; include Johnson Run OIL00168*AD CCU LLC. Please share widely and join us! 


(Issues to Address in Written Comments and/or Oral Testimony)

OEPA has not complied with federal Antidegradation Regulations, 40 CFR 131.12!

Federal Antidegradation policy and implementation methods clearly state:

  • Existing in-stream water uses and the level of water quality necessary to protect the existing uses (the highest levels of aquatic life currently present in the stream) shall be maintained and protected.
  • In allowing degradation or lowered water quality, the State shall assure water quality adequate to protect existing uses fully.

OEPA staff identified in their field testing of Johnson Run (2017) and then in testing by the consulting firm (CEC, 2018) the presence of 7 coldwater and 21 key macro-invertebrate taxa that indicate high-quality streams and one coldwater fish species. These communities consisted of high levels of sensitive (intolerant to pollution) and coldwater-adapted species. These species establish Johnson Run’s existing use.

OEPA is trying to avoid required protections by lowering the water quality in Johnson Run. This action by the director will NOT protect the existing use of the stream and is therefore illegal.

The most important point to make in comments and testimony:  Ohio EPA buried the information about what was found in Johnson Run stream and therefore will not protect Johnson Run’s coldwater fish, coldwater and key indicator macro-invertebrates, or water quality necessary to support these existing uses. This Violates the Federal Antidegradation Rule!

We must demand another public meeting to follow the one on Oct. 7 to answer ALL comments and questions presented by the public.

Comments can be submitted to Scott Foster scott.foster@epa.ohio.gov reference Johnson Run Mine OIL00168*AD or mail OEPA, SE District Office, 2196 Front Street, Logan Ohio 43138. Please cc your comments to OEPA director Laurie Stevenson laurie.stevenson@epa.ohio.gov and to USEPA Region 5, R5NPDES@epa.gov; include “CCU, Johnson Run Mine OIL00168*AD” in the subject line.

E-mail acfanohio@gmail.com for more information.