Informal Conference a Big Success!

Last Tuesday, a little over 100 people gathered at the Georgetown Community Center for the IDNR informal conference regarding Sunrise Coal’s permit application for the proposed Bulldog Mine.  The audience was split between pro-mine folks (mostly Sunrise Coal miners) in bright yellow t-shirts and Stand Up To Coal members and friends with their “Stand Up To Coal” stickers.

Approximately 33 people made statements, of which only 5 were in favor of the mine.  Most of the anti-mine comments hit upon particular shortcomings of the permit application or the general mine plan.

Take Action:

  • The record for the informal conference will be open until October 17.  Written comments can be part of this record if they are sent to IDNR (click the link for the address).
  • A public hearing has already been requested.  According to IDNR staff, this should take place in late November or early December.  The entire technical staff from IDNR will attend that hearing.

Some highlights:

  • Tony Beck, one of the first landowners to lease his coal rights, stated that since leasing his more than 2700 acres, he has watched Sunrise Coal cause sinkholes on his land with their bore holes.  He has decided that their current plan does not allow for sustainable agriculture and wishes he had not leased his mineral rights.
  • Bob Jennings, the Oakwood Village president, pointed out that the application makes no mention of the fact that Oakwood draws its drinking water from the Salt Fork River.
  • Joyce Blumenshine, with the Heart of Illinois Sierra Club, pointed out that the current application does not have any plans for the additional slurry impoundments that will be required for a mine of this size and longevity.
  • Dwaine Berggren, a retired geologist, found that the application’s coverage of geology was not thorough enough.  It fails to point out that many local wells draw from waters seeps in the limestone that is 40-60ft below the surface.  Plans for the slurry impoundment show that it will be only 16-20ft above the limestone, and thus, the aquifer.
  • Debbie Campbell, an Urbana resident, talked about a friend who gave up coal mining for a healthy life.  She mentioned that slurry impoundments emit a very unpleasant odor.
  • Jonathan Ashbrook, a local resident, pointed out that if the coal is trucked from the site, up to 220 coal trucks per day would be added to local roads.

Media Coverage:

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Public Informal Conference – October 7, 2014

What: The IDNR will hold an “informal conference,” which is the first of two possible public hearings, about Sunrise Coal’s proposed Bulldog Mine permit application.  This is a chance for community members to make oral comments regarding the the proposed mine and deficiencies in the permit application.  Comments will likely be limited to 3 minutes each.

Even if you don’t wish to comment, please attend so that we can demonstrate to IDNR how much public opposition there is to the proposed mine.

When: Tuesday, October 7, 2014, 6:00pm

Where: Georgetown Community Center

220 E. West St.

Georgetown, IL 61846


The permit application is available for viewing on our website: Permit Application #429

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Public Information Meeting Follow-Up

On September 3, 43 community members attended a public information meeting regarding the Bulldog Mine proposed by Sunrise Coal.  The meeting was hosted by Stand Up To Coal and Prairie Rivers Network.

The evening started off viewing a video of residents asking questions about Sunrise Coal’s proposed mine.

Since the video was created in 2012, with the help of the local community, Stand Up To Coal has achieved several victories:

  • Sunrise Coal originally planned to start mining operations in January, 2014.  In September 2014, they have just applied for their permit.
  • Sunrise Coal’s plans to source production water from the Salt Fork River with the help of the Village of Homer have been stopped.
  • Sunrise Coal is now planning to obtain 500,000gal per day of water from the City of Georgetown, 12miles from the mine site.  There is no clear evidence that Sunrise Coal has obtained the necessary rights of way for a new water delivery pipeline.
  • Landowners have prevented Sunrise Coal from obtaining the necessary surface access for a railroad spur to the mine site.  This will necessitate trucking coal from the mine site, reducing potential production volume.

The focus of the evening was a discussion of the IDNR permit application and an invitation for community members to submit written comments to the IDNR.

Media Coverage:

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Public Information Meeting – September 3

Public notice has been served for Sunrise Coal’s proposed Bulldog mine.

Join Stand Up to Coal and Prairie Rivers Network for an informational meeting to learn more about the consequences of a local coal mine and how you can have your voice heard now in the permit process.

When: Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 7:00pm

Where: Homer Village Hall, 500 E. 2nd St., Homer, IL 61849



Print off this flyer and post it or share it with a friend:
Public Info Meeting Flyer

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Sunrise Coal Officially Applies for a Mining Permit

There was a notice in the July 31 edition of the Sidell Reporter that Sunrise Coal, LLC (a subsidiary of Hallador Energy, HNRG) has applied for a permit from the Illinois Office of Mines and Minerals for their Bulldog Mine in western Vermilion County.

The final permit application may be viewed on the IDNR website (Click on “Permit” in the line for Sunrise Coal).  This link was updated on our website on 8/14/2014.  The previous version of the permit application can viewed on our website.

One thing to note is that Sunrise Coal has decided to discharge all of their waste water into the Salt Fork River via the Olive Branch.

At this point, the state of Illinois deems the application to be complete and will now begin consideration.  Within the next few weeks there will be a public hearing (formally known as the “informal conference”) where the public may air their concerns.

In the meantime, you may submit written objections to the application at:

Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Office of Mines and Minerals
Land Reclamation Division
One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702-1271


We will post more information about the public meeting when it is available.

More information about submitting written comments.

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