DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GROTTO of the NATIONAL SPELEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA GROTTO
of the
NATIONAL SPELEOLOGICAL SOCIETY

6304 Kaybro St.
Laurel, MD 20707
October 22, 2000

WV Division of Environmental Protection
Suite 301
105 Railroad Street
Philippi, WV 26416

Reference: Quarry Article 4 Application No. O-2036-86 (Greer Lime Co.)

Dear Sirs,

The District of Columbia Grotto of the National Speleological Society recommends that renewal of the mining permit for the Greer Limestone quarry in Pendleton County be denied pending completion of exploration and mapping of Hellhole, the significant cave near the quarry.

The current quarry operations are extremely close to known passages in Hellhole, which is a major hibernating site for endangered bats. The cave is not completely explored or mapped so it is not known whether continued quarry operation will intersect the cave and disrupt the unique cave environment.

The impact of increased blasting and the likely airflow changes from quarry operations intersecting cave passages have the potential to devastate the endangered bats that depend the unique environment in Hellhole for their survival.

We recommend that all new quarry operations in the direction of Hellhole be prohibited until a complete map of the cave is produced and its accuracy verified by personnel not associated with the quarry. Only then can appropriate regulatory authorities have sufficient information to evaluate the impact of the planned quarry operation on the cave.

Respectfully,

             Robert B. Hoke
             Secretary, DC Grotto of the NSS

copy to:
     WV DNR Operations Center, Attn: Craig Stihler, PO Box 67, Elkins, WV 26241
     Greer Lime Co., PO Box 176, Masontown WV 26542