Ohio residents need to pay attention to river

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Since the early 1990’s Huntington Marine Services, Inc., P.O. Box 519, South Point, Ohio, has repeatedly sought to obtain a permit to establish a 200 barge fleeting facility near the Westmoreland

area of Huntington, Wayne County, W.Va.

This is just across the beautiful Ohio from Burlington, Lawrence County, Fayette Township, Ohio. (Ohio river milepost 312.4-313.3).

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The proposed fleeting area would be of sufficient size to accommodate 200 standard-sized (26 feet by 175 feet) barges. Topside cleaning and repair would be performed.

The proposed mooring area would not exceed 320 feet by 4,600 feet.

The area on both sides of the beautiful river is residential. Noise, pollution, bank erosion, de-valuation of property, etc have been cited as reasons for opposing this facility.

Hundreds of letters have been written opposing the issuance of this permit to Huntington city council, Ohio-American Water, Ohio River Foundation, etc.

The Corps of Engineers has issued public notice : LRH-1996-803 dated 30 May 08.

Public comments must be received by the Corps by 30 Jun 08. (30 days).

Address your comments to:

Project Manager (Attn:LRH-1996-803) USACE Huntington District, 502 Eight Street, Huntington, WV 25701-2070

Very important include a statement requesting a public hearing.

Next, the COE published public notice LRH-2007-878-OHR on 5 Dec 07 with an amended comment closing date of 4 FEB 08.

Campbell Transportation Company proposed to fleet 90 barges at river milepost 309.23-309.67. No public hearing has been scheduled. This is not the location of the sunken barges.

Also, according to information received from the COE the property where the sunken barges are located (Milepost 309.1) was recently purchased by a Huntington Company.

The letter dated 26 Nov 07 states &uot;the new property owners are currently planning to clear the old sunken barges from the bank line in a month or so; therefore, need information from the old permit (file number 58044) to shape future plans for use of the site&uot;.

A permit is required but has not been applied for to date. Lets keep an eye on the &uot;future&uot; plans.

I became personally involved when I received a prior public notice on 15 Jul 05 concerning the 200 barge facility which is across the river from Burlington.

I have written to many elected officials, talked to groups, as well as many individuals. I believe the COE should deny these permits.

The issuance of these permits would be &uot;contrary to the public interest.

For future development of the riverfront such as is taking place in nearby cities we cannot allow this area to become a parking place for barges.

Don Saunders