On April 27, 2001, Secretary James Bickford entered an Order - declaring that 2,364 acres of land within the area north of the Pine Mountain Settlement School as unsuitable for all types of surface coal mining operations. The Secretary deleted areas in which coal resources are not located, and as to the remainder of the area, declared that mining operations would affect historic lands in which the surface coal mining operations could result in significant damage to important historic, cultural or aesthetic values.
Among the findings made by the Secretary were that:
"Pine Mountain Settlement School is a special place, with historical and cultural significance, and is deserving of protection from any hazards as a result of surface coal mining operations."
The Secretary found that the viewshed of the School property, including the trails, would be adversely affected by mining north of the Pine Mountain Overthrust Fault, and that blasting could damage historic buildings and could threaten the safety of staff and students, as well as interfering with the use of the property for hiking, nature study and school curriculum purpose.
Any aggrieved party may challenge the decision by filing suit in Franklin Circuit Court by May 27, 2001. A party who believes his land has been "taken" because of restrictions on coal extraction may seek compensation from a court.
Your support for the Pine Mountain Settlement School during this process has been an essential component of this victory. The cabinet received 2,274 letters in support of the petition to declare the area around the school as unsuitable for mining, and 76 letters opposing the petition. The overwhelming public support was mentioned in the Secretary's Order granting the petition.
The courage shown by Robin Lambert, Director of the school, throughout a difficult process, was remarkable. Your support helped her to see the process through, and helped convince the Patton Administration of the importance of this national landmark property.
Thank you again for your help!