NIOSH Mine Safety  Project is Approved Over Against Local Opposition

The What, Where, Who, How of the Research Mine at Mace

Eight Rivers Council continues to oppositionally question this research facility that if built would straddle the Pocahontas and Randolph county lines adjacent to U.S. 219.

Reasons for our opposition include: (1) The potential pollution and or pollution of groundwater that is connected to the underlying karst that heads up the Tygart Valley River and the Elk River; (2) Potential  air pollution from chemical explosive testing: (3) The high volume of heavy trucks transporting excavated limestone and equipment over a curvy mountain highway heavily trafficked by tourists of nearby Snowshoe Resort; (4) NIOSH only held one well-publicized and thus well-attended public hearing. Eight Rivers Council launched a massive citizen campaign writing comments to NIOSH along with requests for further public meetings. These citizen requests were essentially ignored, a slap in the face of our local community and our purported democracy.

A former Pocahontas County Commission voted 2-0 for a resolution opposing the project. Commissioner Walt Helmick was not present for the vote.

March 8, WV Senator Joe Manchin announced that the Mine Safety Laboratory was now funded and approved. Sen. Manchin was untruthful in his press comment that he “worked closedly with… local stakeholders throughout this process.”

For details on the project, we refer you to an excellent summary by the “Save The Tygart Watershed Association.”


Industrial Minerals Association of North America gives its rationale for a new Mine Safety Research Mine, after the closure of the former Lake Lynn mine. This report is prior to anything related to Mace. Eight Rivers Council does not object to a safety mine, just that Mace is not suitable.

Allen Johnson reports on his research of the former Lake Lynn Safety Mine near Morgantown, WV.

Pictured above is an aerial photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mapping out the proposed location of a mine safety test facility.

Elle Bell, who grew up across the road from. the proposed NIOSH mine, wrote an article for the WV Highlands Conservancy newspaper, the Voice.

Draft language of Pocahontas County Commission opposing the NIOSH mine.

On Pocahontas County Commission Letterhead, Commissioner Walt Helmick endorses proposed Mace mine to NIOSH. (Read the letter here.) The County Commission had not officially voted on any of the project at that time. Helmick did not attend the later county commission meeeting that voted 2-0 in opposition to the project.