Frasure Creek's permit would not create valley fills or mine through streams, Aluise said.
The Mountain Health & Heritage Association organized the Charleston protest, with speakers including a doctor worried about health effects and a leader of Coal River Mountain Watch, a group long opposed to mountaintop removal.
Fayetteville "was pretty much boarded up after the last coal boom went bust,'' said Kistler, who launched one of the first businesses to capitalize on what she calls world-class natural resources -- resources so beautiful they're featured on the West Virginia quarter.
"They are an incredible gift to our area, and now we have the amenities built in around those resources -- from the cabins to the restaurants to the zip lines,'' Kistler said. "To come in and jeopardize that for short-term profit for mega corporations is unacceptable.''
Although Fayette County's history is in coal mining, she says, its future is in tourism.
"We are not anti-coal, not one bit. Coal has a place in our energy future for the foreseeable future,'' she said. In this case, however, "the environmental costs, the aesthetic costs are way too high.''
The DEP says Frasure Creek's original permit application drew no objections or requests for public hearing despite being advertised in a local newspaper.
But opposition to the mine has been growing. Last month, residents packed a meeting of the Fayette County Commission, and last week, a public service district that supplies water to 2,000 people raised concerns about well heads within a half-mile of the mine site.
The Register-Herald reported the Page-Kincaid PSD is worried about protecting the primary water supply, locating another source if it's contaminated and replacing supplies if mining activity breaks lines.
"We had a big role in putting that water system in place,'' Commission President Matthew Wender told the newspaper. "Given that it is taxpayer money, we have a responsibility to protect that investment.''
The PSD said Frasure Creek offered to make a $10,000 donation for any permit it receives, the newspaper said. The PSD asked for $10 million but was turned down.