Revised Land Permit Accepted by IDNR

The revisions to the land permit for the proposed Bulldog Coal mine have been accepted by IDNR. Sunrise Coal now has up to 1 year to submit fee payment and proof of bonds. Once Sunrise Coal submits those documents, the public will have 30 days to begin an administrative review, which is the final step in evaluating if the permit meets the letter of the law.

Here is the letter to the editor that was published in the Sidell Reporter regarding the status of Bulldog’s permit application and the next steps in the public process:


PUBLIC BEING LEFT BEHIND BY MINE
Thursday, Oct 19th

The proposed Bulldog Coal mine in southwestern Vermilion County, Illinois is threatening to become a reality again, and the public is getting left behind in the process.

According to Scott Fowler, IDNR Office of Mines and Minerals Land Reclamation Division manager, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has received and accepted all necessary revised documents to accept Sunrise Coal’s revised permit and is waiting for the coal company to submit its final revised application.

Beginning around 2009, Sunrise Coal began soliciting landowners for mineral rights to mine coal in southwestern Vermilion County, near Homer, Illinois.  As people began to learn more about underground coal mining, concerned citizens began questioning how an underground room and pillar mine could affect the surrounding communities.

Sunrise Coal filed a permit application on July 30, 2014.  By filing the permit application, Sunrise Coal believed its application was “complete and accurate,” and that the mine as proposed would comply with all requirements of federal and Illinois laws.  Over 100 landowners, rural homeowners, and others spoke out at public hearings in 2014, questioning how the proposed coal mine could affect their drinking water, how it could impact the air they breathe, how it might affect the productivity of their farmland, and wondering what kind of regulations and oversight would ensure public safety.

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Stay tuned…

Six months ago, sunrise coal was given six months to submit revisions of their land permit for the 400-acre Bulldog mine surface facility to IDNR. The deadline has passed, but we haven’t heard any word yet.

Soon, we will hear one of three things.

  1. They were granted another extension.
  2. They have submitted their revised permit
  3. They didn’t submit anything.

We will let you know as soon as we know.

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IDNR Grants Application Extension to Sunrise Coal (Again)

In August 2014, Sunrise Coal submitted their SMCRA permit application to IDNR for the proposed Bulldog Mine in Vermilion County.  The following March (2015), IDNR responded back to Sunrise Coal requesting answers to 62 questions regarding the permit.  IDNR gave Sunrise Coal one year to respond.

In March 2016, Sunrise Coal requested another year to answer these questions.  IDNR quietly granted the request.  Little was heard from either party during this time.  FOIA requests have uncovered some communications, and a partial draft of the revised permit.

In March 2017, Sunrise Coal requested yet another extension, for 6 months this time.  IDNR granted this request as well.  Hopefully, Sunrise Coal will have a final permit application complete for submission by September.

The Illinois statutes do not allow for any further public forums, hearings, or comment periods on the modified permit.

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State of Coal in Illinois

As we work to stop Sunrise Coal’s proposed Bulldog Mine in Vermilion County, the coal industry in Illinois is in turmoil.

A recent article in the Chicago Reader provides a great summary: Illinois coal’s last stand

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Coal Mine with No Answers

Tyler Rotche with Prairie Rivers Network recently submitted an excellent commentary about the current state of Sunrise Coal’s proposed Bulldog Mine in Vermilion County.

The commentary can be found at the News-Gazette: Coal mine with no answers

 

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