In August 2014, Sunrise Coal submitted their SMCRA permit application to IDNR for the proposed Bulldog Mine in Vermilion County. The following March (2015), IDNR responded back to Sunrise Coal requesting answers to 62 questions regarding the permit. IDNR gave Sunrise Coal one year to respond.
In March 2016, Sunrise Coal requested another year to answer these questions. IDNR quietly granted the request. Little was heard from either party during this time. FOIA requests have uncovered some communications, and a partial draft of the revised permit.
In March 2017, Sunrise Coal requested yet another extension, for 6 months this time. IDNR granted this request as well. Hopefully, Sunrise Coal will have a final permit application complete for submission by September.
The Illinois statutes do not allow for any further public forums, hearings, or comment periods on the modified permit.
As we work to stop Sunrise Coal’s proposed Bulldog Mine in Vermilion County, the coal industry in Illinois is in turmoil.
A recent article in the Chicago Reader provides a great summary: Illinois coal’s last stand
Tyler Rotche with Prairie Rivers Network recently submitted an excellent commentary about the current state of Sunrise Coal’s proposed Bulldog Mine in Vermilion County.
The commentary can be found at the News-Gazette: Coal mine with no answers
The comment period for the NPDES draft permit is open until September 11. You may mail or e-mail comments for inclusion in the public record until then. It is very important to highlight any area of concern during this time. 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. Most of the crowd was similar to that for the IDNR hearings last fall. Notably, Sunrise Coal did not have a large group of miners present for the hearing, despite supposed offers of free rides and free dinner. 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. 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. Except for one, these speakers all overlooked the recent layoffs.
Opponents of the mine, mostly representing Stand Up To Coal, Prairie Rivers Network, Sierra Club, Illinois Environmental Council, CALM, and other local environmental groups, asked pointed questions or made detailed comments about the draft permit. 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
Posted in Meeting Coverage, Permit, Take Action
Tagged coal, hallador energy, iepa, npdes, permit, permit application, public hearing, public meeting, salt fork river, sunrise coal, Water
The IEPA has announced the date for the NPDES permit public hearing for the proposed Bulldog Mine.
The hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, August 12, 2015 at 5:30 in the Salt Fork Junior High School Building in Sidell. This is the former Jamaica High School building where the second IDNR hearing was held.
In addition to the public hearing, the IEPA will accept written comments until September 11, 2015.
Just a reminder that for the NPDES permit, the IEPA has already created the draft permit, and the public hearing is a forum for comments on the permit.
Please consider printing out the hearing announcement below and posting nearby.
NPDES Hearing Permit