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Sen. Gentile hosts meeting on mine facility closure
Updated: Friday, September 27 2013, 08:04 PM EDT
By Rich Pierce
September 27, 2013
Harrison County, OH
State Sen. Lou Gentile hosted a meeting in Harrison regarding the announced closure of the mine training facility in Cadiz.
The announcement that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources would close the facility came after an assessment of the building was done by an architectural firm. It was ordered because the ODNR was looking to purchase the building and possibly expand it.
A United Mine Workers representative at the meeting is upset at the move.
“I don’t care if there is only one coal mine or coal miner. That miner deserves the best safety standards that can be provided,” he said.
The assessment ordered by the ODNR found numerous code violations.
“I’ve been in talks with the Department of Natural Resources. I understand they’ve raised some issues about certain code violations. I think we ought to work towards trying to address those and doing everything we can to preserve and protect this facility,” Sen. Gentile said.
A report from the ODNR states bringing the facility up to code would cost around $2.5 million. The ODNR would rather see the money spent on a brand-new facility – one that is safer.
Still, the closure is not sitting well with Harrison County recorder Tracy Boyer.
“I had a grandpa killed in the 1940 explosion. I know how important mine safety is, and I think this is an awesome facility to keep open and keep in Harrison County,” Boyer said.
Gentile said the closure of the facility will have a negative economic impact on the region.
“This will have real implications on this community – this small rural community, as well as all of eastern Ohio because of what this facility has meant,” Gentile said.
Gentile added he would like to see an independent report done to confirm the ODNR’s findings. The move to the Cambridge facility is temporary, and an ODNR spokesperson told NEWS9 they have not ruled out returning to a new location in Harrison County.