The comment period for the NPDES draft permit is open until September 11. Â You may mail or e-mail comments for inclusion in the public record until then. Â It is very important to highlight any area of concern during this time. Â If the public wishes to appeal the permit at a later time, it may only do so on the grounds of issues raised during this comment period.
Directions to file comments are in the public hearing notice.
Last Wednesday, 60-70 people showed up for the IEPA’s NPDES hearing for the proposed Bulldog Mine. Â Most of the crowd was similar to that for the IDNR hearings last fall. Â Notably, Sunrise Coal did not have a large group of miners present for the hearing, despite supposed offers of free rides and free dinner. Â Perhaps this was related to recent layoffs at Sunrise’s other facilities.
Approximately 30 people made comments or asked questions of the IEPA staff members on hand. Â Proponents of the mine mostly made vague statements about the economic benefits of the mine and all the supposed good deeds Sunrise Coal would perform in the community. Â Except for one, these speakers all overlooked the recent layoffs.
Opponents of the mine, mostly representing Stand Up To Coal, Prairie Rivers Network,Â Sierra Club, Illinois Environmental Council, CALM,Â and other local environmental groups, asked pointed questions or made detailed comments about the draft permit. Â Some of the topics raised included:
- Legality of using existing field tile system for site discharge
- Repercussions to local drainage of using existing field tiles
- Deficiencies of biological study performed for permit
- Lack of acknowledgement of, research into, or planning for the local limestone aquifer
- Concern for Oakwood which gets its drinking water from the Salt Fork, downstream from the proposed mine
- Concern for ability of local ditches and the Olive Branch to handle volume of water from the mine in case of major rain event