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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Join Stand Up To Coal!

We would like to add you to our growing membership list. For a donation of $20, you can become an official member of Stand Up To Coal. We also welcome additional donations to support our ongoing work, such as postage and legal fees, stopping the proposed Bulldog Mine.

For more details, visit our Membership page.

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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:

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.

Continue reading

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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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