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WV Court Upholds Denial Of Rock Quarry Permit

(CN) - The West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection and the West Virginia Surface Mine Board had the authority to deny a sandstone quarry permit in Pocahontas County without banning all quarry activity in the area, the state appeals court ruled.

The court reinstated the division's decision to refuse to grant a permit to Waco Oil and Gas Co., which sought to operate the quarry "in a quiet, unspoiled, remote, and beautiful geographic area" of Pocahontas County, the ruling states.

The proposed quarry "would have caused substantial damage to the present and future well-being of the county, and specifically to local businesses, residents, and visitors," Justice Starcher wrote.

The division denied the permit, and the mine board affirmed, saying the quarry would "impair and destroy" the area's recreational use and aesthetic value.

The Circuit Court of Kanawha County overturned the board's decision, and said the permit could only be denied if the board and the environmental division made an "area deletion" decision, meaning they banned all quarry activity in the county.

Starcher said the law calls for quarry permits to be decided on a case-by-case basis, without any requirements for an all-encompassing ban.

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