In the past, The Highlands Voice has had several stories about a Mine Research Facility proposed for a site on the border of Pocahontas and Randolph Counties, near Mace, WV. The Highlands Voice, May, 2019 https://www.wvhighlands.org/2020/01/02/2019/ February and April, 2020, https://www.wvhighlands.org/2021/01/04/2020/ and January and April, 2021 https://www.wvhighlands.org/highlands-voice-mag/
In a nutshell, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) wants to build a pretend coal mine. Once it does that, it can use the pretend mine to do research on mine explosions, mine seals, mine rescue, ventilation, diesel exhaust, new health and safety technologies, ground control, and fire suppression.
This proposal has sparked several concerns. Prominent among them are, first, that the material that has to be taken out to make the pretend mine will not just go “Poof!” and disappear. It will all have to be hauled away, raising traffic concerns. Second, all the explosions, fire suppression, etc. may put the local (and not so local) water at risk.
Now West Virginia Highlands Conservancy Board member Eleanor Bell has created a web site that some facts about the project as well as a short movie showing the site. Check it out at Tinyurl.com/NIOSH-MACE.