In 2010, ODNR leased Buckingham a 41.4-acre tract, known as the “corridor,” containing coal reserves under the park. The Ohio General Assembly subsequently voted to authorize the lease.

DoJ, which filed suit on behalf of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, claims the state had no legal authority to lease the coal rights to Buckingham under a 1948 agreement signed before the park’s lake and dam were built. Plaintiffs contend the mining could cause subsidence damage to both the lake and dam.     

Defendants disagree.

Last fall, Buckingham filed a counterclaim against the federal government, seeking to recoup damages “not in excess of the damages sought by the United States.”

The parties have attempted, without success so far, to settle the dispute out of court.

So, in December, U.S. District Judge James Graham scheduled a June 22 trial in the federal court in Columbus.  The jury trial could last two weeks.