‘Coal mine’ stalls small Virginia airport runway’s takeoffAnd so it continues ...
By Debra McCown, The Washington Times
Grundy, Va. — Officials from two Southwestern Virginia counties say a project vital to the area’s economic development has been held up for years because of a dispute with federal regulators over what is an airport and what is a coal mine.
Local leaders say the three-year battle with the U.S. Office of Surface Mining over plans to extend the runway at Grundy Municipal Airport has cost taxpayers in this poverty-stricken corner of Appalachia millions of dollars in lost opportunities, and a list of regulatory hurdles remains before construction can even begin.
“We were attempting to permit this project as an airport project, not a coal-mining project,” said state Sen. Phillip P. Puckett, a Democrat from Lebanon who has been involved for three years with the effort to lengthen the runway from 2,200 feet to more than 5,000 feet — the length needed to comply with insurance standards for corporate jets. The holdup: Federal regulators have refused to allow the runway project to go forward without a mining permit because of the coal deposits below the land that will be dug up during construction.
“That’s where the permitting process got caught up — in determining whether it was an airport project or a mining project, by the Office of Surface Mining in Washington,” Mr. Puckett said. “We’ve tried to resolve that with them for the last couple of years. We’ve had very little success.”
Regulators contend that a mining permit is needed because local authorities plan to sell the coal dug up in extending the runway to help finance the overall project. The Office of Surface Mining said it “will continue to work with the state, as well as other affected local and federal officials, regarding the best way to proceed with the proposed airport expansion.”
Yet the impasse remains. [link]
Thursday, October 18, 2012
You Folks In Grundy Must Really Love Gov't
This somehow doesn't surprise me:
Posted by Jerry Fuhrman at 7:24 AM