CADIZ - Freeport residents who own property on county Road 10 were worried their backyards soon could be the site of a surface mining operation, the Harrison County commissioners learned at Wednesday's meeting.
The residents showed up at a recent public hearing where, according to officials, Rosebud Mining was to discuss locating operations along Birmingham Road just off state Route 800.
Barry Alexin, chief engineer for Rosebud Mining Co., explained there had been a miscommunication and his company was actually proposing to construct a wetland area and not to mine coal.
"During the construction of the mine we had disturbed about 1.2 acres of previous wetlands. Because we disturbed it we are required to replace any wetlands we disturb at a ratio of 3-to-1, and this hearing is for that construction project," said Alexin. "We apologize for any confusion. No surface mining will take place at the Vail Mine and none is planned in the future. It is solely an underground mine operation," east of county Road 10 adjacent to Crab Orchard Creek. It will be south of the sediment ponds toward Steel Hollow Road.
Rosebud owns the land, Alexin explained.
"We are required to get this consent because the wetlands will be with in 100 feet of county Road 10. This is required as part of our permit application," he said.
Carl and Joan Boutilier, who own adjacent acres on Birmingham Road, were on hand to ask questions about the proposed construction and road improvements.
"This will not cut off access to Steel Hollow Road?" they asked.
Alexin assured them the construction would not limit access to any roads.
He said the construction of the wetlands will cost Rosebud Mining approximately $30,000.
"We are not building Hoover Dam here. It will cost about $10,000 per acre to replace the wetlands, which are to be permanent," he said.
Residents also questioned Alexin about the improvements on county Road 10 accessing the mine.
"We are opening bids here today for the full depth reclamation of the road from state Route 800 to just past the bridge," Alexin told the residents and board members. "The remainder of the road will be maintained as a slag road until next year to allow for settling, and plans are to pave it at that time."
Doug Crabtree, representing the Harrison County Engineer's Office, was on hand to open bids for the project. Two bids were received. Shelly and Sands bid $598,322.57, and Lash Paving bid $504,875.00.
The bids were tabled until next week's meeting to allow the engineer's office to review the specifications and recommend awarding the bid.
"Once the bid is awarded, the construction will be taking place fairly soon," Crabtree said. "The project completion date is Oct. 15. Traffic will be maintained during the construction."
The commissioners granted permission to Rosebud Mining to proceed with the project.
In other matters, two road-use agreements were approved for oil and gas well access - one for Hess Corp. for three miles of county Road 2 from the intersection of U.S. Routes 250 and 22 to Arnold Road; and one for Atlas / Noble Energy of Pittsburgh for one miles of county Road 25 and 4.5 miles of county Road 43, including one mile where county Roads 43 and 44 share a common road.
The engineer's office also told commissioners the state will conduct slip repair in an area along U.S. Route 250 at Tappan Lake between Beaver Bay and Clearfork Roads. The project was bid as an emergency slide repair and will be taking place between Monday and Dec. 1.
Commissioner Barbara Pincola noted next week's meeting has been moved to 10 a.m. Monday Sept. 10 and that the 2013 budget hearings will be discussed at the Sept. 26 meeting at approximately 10:20 a.m.