UPDATE: Fighting a Coal Mine During COVID-19

The Petitioner Dismissal Hearing that was originally scheduled for April 2nd was cancelled due to COVID-19 related concerns. It is now tentatively rescheduled for Thursday, May 21st. However, we will not have more details about the format until the week before (May 15th), and everyone’s top priority is finding a way to do this safely while also preserving the integrity of the process. Stay tuned here for updates.

A few other items:

  • Please sign the petition to stop the Bulldog Mine (hosted by Prairie Rivers Network). Illinois does not need another new coal mine!
  • Consider helping to support the costs of our legal and expert costs for the administrative review.
  • In the news: Hallador, the parent company of the mine’s developer, received $10 million from the small business loan stimulus.
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Does Illinois Need a New Coal Mine? Commentary in the News-Gazette

On March 15th, the News-Gazette published a commentary from Sue Smith with Stand Up To Coal. Follow the link above or read the commentary below:

A permit for Sunrise Coal’s proposed Bulldog coal mine in Vermilion County approved by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Mines and Minerals is now under administrative review.

Sunrise Coal, a subsidiary of Hallador Energy, has filed a motion to dismiss Stand Up To Coal and numerous other petitioners from this review. A hearing on the motion is set for April 2 in Springfield.

The administrative review is the next step in a long process that began around 2009, when representatives from Sunrise Coal quietly went door to door to residents in the area of the proposed mine seeking to buy mineral rights beneath about 23,000 acres of prime farmland in East Central Illinois.

Since then, Stand Up to Coal, a committed group of residents and farmers, and others have continued to challenge the proposed mine. Hundreds turned out at public hearings during the intervening 10 years with many questions surrounding the development and operation of this facility. They continue to be concerned about potential impacts the mine would have on their family, farms and community.

Continue reading

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UPDATE: Petitioner Dismissal Hearing on April 2nd

The mine has filed a motion to dismiss Stand Up To Coal and many of the other petitioners who are challenging the mine permit. The dismissal, if approved, would prevent Stand Up To Coal and other petitioners from participating in the Administrative Review of the IDNR mining permit. The Administrative Review is the last chance to challenge the mining permit, a process in which the permit is evaluated to see if it meets the letter of the law.

The hearing on the dismissal is on April 2nd in Springfield. The hearing is open to the public to listen, so anyone can attend to show support for Stand Up To Coal. Wear a green shirt to show your support for Stand Up To Coal! Come early to attend our press conference. Illinois does not need a new coal mine.

The Administrative Review process requires legal and technical experts. Please consider directly supporting the costs by donating to Stand Up To Coal.

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IDNR Permit Update – Administrative Review Continues

Thank you to all of our generous members who have been very supportive during the past few months.

As mentioned in April, several of our members, along with Stand Up To Coal, filed petitions for an administrative review of the Bulldog Mine permit issued by IDNR. These members of Stand Up to Coal have spent many hours working on their petitions and answering interrogatories from the mine developer. Lawyers from both sides are working with an IDNR administrative law judge to chart out the plan for the administrative review.

Sometime in November, we anticipate that we will have an opportunity for members of the public to travel to Springfield and support our efforts during a hearing. We hope you can join us and we’ll provide an update when we know more.

In the meantime, please continue to provide support as we pay our legal experts helping us chart these difficult waters.

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IDNR Issues Bulldog Mine Permit

Stand Up To Coal became aware that IDNR issued permit #429 for the Bulldog coal mine on Friday, April 5th.  While we believe this is unfortunate, it is not entirely unexpected news.

We expect the revised permit to have many significant changes to respond to the modification letter issued to Sunrise Coal by Illinois Department of Nature Resources back in March 2015, which required 62 points of revision from the original permit. These changes are in part due to many public comments received during the public hearing and comment period.

Stand Up To Coal remains concerned about the potential impacts this coal mine could have on water supplies, agricultural land, air quality and the long-term effects on our rural community. Therefore, SUTC will be filing as a petitioner for an administrative review of the permit, which is the last step before the permit is officially issued. The administrative review will require technical and legal expertise to review and contest the issued permit, which is over two thousand pages long. The purpose of an administrative review is to ensure that the revised permit meets the letter of the law regarding all coal regulations.

Due to the technical and legal expertise needed to successfully file a petition for administrative review, Stand Up To Coal will be accepting financial support from anyone wanting to help us through this phase. If you’re interested in donating, please click the Donate button on the upper right of the page, or consider membership.

Please continue to check this website for updates on this issue.

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