Public Hearing Well Attended

The Jamaica High School gymnasium was packed with people interested in commenting on and asking questions about the permit application for the proposed Bulldog Mine.

The public spoke for about two and a half hours. Supporters of the proposed mine mostly made lofty comments about the employment opportunities and potential economic benefits of the mine. Many mine employees read prepared statements by Illinois elected officials in support of the project.

Opponents of the mine, many of them members of Stand Up To Coal and Prairie Rivers Network, mostly highlighted deficiencies in the permit application. Some important omissions were mentioned, including insufficient attention to the biological diversity of the Salt Fork watershed; lack of attention to obtaining water from Homer and Georgetown; and questions about the mine’s legal ability to use local farm drainage infrastructure to carry its water discharge.

It’s important to note that additional comments may be submitted to IDNR for the public record until December 29, 2014. More details can be found on our website.

Media Coverage

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IDNR Public Hearing Announced

Updated December 9 with flyer.

The IDNR has announced that the public hearing for Sunrise Coal’s Permit Application #429 for the proposed Bulldog Mine in Vermilion County.

The IDNR staff should be on hand and familiar with the permit application.  They should be available to answer some questions on-site, as opposed to the informal conference where they only took comments.

As before, please attend, even if you don’t wish to speak.  It is important to demonstrate to the IDNR how many residents are opposed to this proposed mine.

What: Public hearing to make comments and ask questions.  This will be the final opportunity to share comments with the IDNR.  They will be required to approve or deny this permit 60 days after the public hearing.

When: Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 6:00PM

Where: Jamaica High School gymnasium

7087 North 600 East Rd.

Sidell, IL 61876

 

The permit application can be viewed on our website: Permit Application

Public Hearing Flyer

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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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