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by Duane Nichols, CLEAR President, and Paul Wilson, Chapter Chair | 2007

All parties agree to search for terms that will lead to settlement of the litigation, and conservation of the endangered land snail.

The federal judge in the U.S. District Court in Wheeling has placed the legal suit to protect the Cheat three-tooth snail on hold to permit the litigants to negotiate a possible settlement of the case. Allegheny Wood Products (AWP) has agreed to refrain from logging in the most sensitive areas of the Cheat Canyon pending the outcome of the negotiations.

The three groups that have brought the suit are the Cheat Lake Environment and Recreation Association (CLEAR), the State Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Friends of Blackwater. These groups are primarily concerned about the rare snail and the Indiana bat, both of which depend heavily upon the unique habitat of the Cheat Canyon.

AWP has not applied for an “incidental take permit” nor filed a “habitat conservation plan” as would normally be required by the federal Endangered Species Act when a project may interfere with federally listed rare or endangered species. AWP has contended that they can do logging in the Cheat Canyon without disturbing the snail in any significant manner; and, the three groups believe that the road building, the tree cutting, and the heavy equipment for tree removal will in fact result in killing a significant number of snails and in disturbing the conditions that prevail there which are conducive to survival of the snail over time.

Also of interest to these groups is preservation of the scenic beauty of the Canyon, retention of the Allegheny Trail, and prevention of subsidence and sedimentation.

If you can help contribute to the costs of the current campaign, or would like to be on the mailing (or email) list for current information, please write to Donna Weems, CLEAR Treasurer, 320 Dream Catcher Circle, Morgantown, WV 26508 as soon as possible. This campaign is currently at an active stage and your help and support are of vital importance.

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