Press Release for Immediate Release:
Contact: Joyce Blumenshine
Mining Issues Committee Chair
Illinois Chapter Sierra Club
Mary Ellen DeClue
Citizens Against Longwall Mining
What: Public Protest Demonstration of IDNR Coal Mine Permit Renewal
When: Wednesday, February 19, 2014, beginning at 5:15 p.m.
Where: Public sidewalk across from the Historic Courthouse, Hillsboro, south sidewalk, at #1 Public Square, Hillsboro, at the Abraham Lincoln statue
Citizens Protest IDNR Flawed Mine Permit Renewal
[Hillsboro, IL] Citizens are protesting the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) permit for the Deer Run Mine at a public demonstration at 5:15 p.m. February 19th, across from the Historic Courthouse Public Square in Hillsboro. The state is considering an additional five-year renewal permit approval for the same permit that was challenged by area residents and Sierra Club in 2009 for being incomplete and not protective of the local environment and community.
“What we are saying is that the IDNR should re-examine the Cumulative Hydrologic Impact Assessment for this coal mine since the mine’s full impacts on area water resources have not been fully addressed,” states Cathy Edmiston, Chair of Citizens Against Longwall Mining (CALM). The group is opposed to the underground longwall mining method used at the mine, which removes nearly the entire coal seam and drops or subsides the surface of the ground often four to six feet with earthquake like impacts. The group is concerned because the Deer Run Mine is covering hundreds of acres of farmland with massive toxic coal slurry impoundments. Once the massive coal waste impoundments are built they will not be cleared away and the land cannot be returned to farming.
The original permit approved by IDNR in 2009 did not supply specific locations for the coal slurry waste impoundments under the five-year permit. In 2010, the mine filed for and received approval for a major revision that drastically altered an in-ground coal waste pond into an 80-foot-high, approximately 140-acre high hazard impoundment. Last year the mine applied for a new permit for a nearly 300-acre, 65-foot-tall impoundment which would be the second high hazard dam coal slurry structure at the site. This high hazard impoundment is twice the size of the first impoundment and is located closer to residents in Hillsboro and Schram City. High Hazard dams mean that a dam break could cause injury to property and possibly loss of life.
“The groundwater and drainage around the mine here in Hillsboro are at risk,” says Joyce Blumenshine, Illinois Sierra Club Mining Issues Committee Chair. “Future generations will have to deal with what happens to the very shallow underground water levels and the potential for contamination since underground layers here have areas of sand that can allow pollution to travel more quickly and in unexpected ways.”
The Deer Run Mine permit is held by Hillsboro Energy, LLC, which is a Foresight Reserves corporate entity linked to the Natural Resource Partners mining conglomerate that began in West Virginia and is headed by coal billionaire Chris Cline.
IDNR is holding a public hearing on the renewal of the Deer Run Mine permit at 6 p.m. in the second floor boardroom of the historic courthouse in Hillsboro at #1 Public Square.