DEER RUN MINE
Deer Run Mine is a relatively new longwall mine located in Hillsboro in Montgomery County, Illinois. The mine is currently under development. According to the Cline Group, owner, the mine has the potential to produce roughly 8 to 10 million tons per year when the longwall mine is in full production. The estimated life of the mine is expected to exceed 20 years. The coal reserves at the mine are leased to the mining company Hillsboro Energy LLC (HEL), an affiliate of the Cline Group. Chris Cline is the majority owner of Foresight Energy who is thought to be one of the driving forces in expanding Illinois Basin coal production.
- MSHA ID: 1103182
- Controller: Cline Group / Natural Resource Partners
- Mine type: Underground
- Mining Method: Longwall
- Location: Montgomery County, IL
- Address of Record: 925 S. Main Street, Hillsboro, IL 62049
In the News
Deer Run Mine has been operating since 2011. Subsequent to its approval in 2009, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources / Office of Mines and Minerals allowed the construction of an 88-foot tall, one square-mile coal slurry impoundment instead of the in-ground facility proposed during the permit application review and public hearing process. This facility, which contains highly toxic, carcinogenic chemicals and organic compounds that cannot be recycled or reused, is located in the City of Hillsboro, next to a hospital; school; nursing home; and day care center. It is rated as a high hazard dam, which means that if the coal slurry impoundment were to fail, it would result in loss of life and property in Hillsboro and Schram City, and could send pollution downstream into the watershed of Lake Hillsboro.
Now a second high-hazard coal slurry impoundment will be constructed next to the first, since the first impoundment was designed to last just five years. It will be twice the size as the first, covering an area 1/2 miles by two miles. It, too, will be located in the City of Hillsboro.
Since 2009, Citizens Against Longwall Mining and the Illinois Chapter of the Sierra Club have been petitioning the IDNR / OMM for an administrative review hearing regarding the approval of #399 that was incomplete, invalid, and misleading. The incised waste refuse area approved in Permit #399 was changed through “insignificant revisions” to become an enclosed impoundment with a synthetic liner. HEL then applied for a Significant Revision to Permit #399 to raise the already constructed base of the impoundment to a height of 88 feet. There have been 4 permit applications to OMM by HEL:
- The original Permit #399.
- Significant Revision 1 of Permit# 399 for impoundment 1,
- Permit #424 for the 2nd impoundment.
- Renewal of Permit #399.
On October 31, 2013, a new IDNR Hearing Officer dismissed CALM’s petition to challenge Permit #399. See Administrative Review Testimony on Deer Run Mine Not Allowed by Office of Mines and Minerals. Citizens are greatly concerned about the power of IDNR / OMM to make changes they deem acceptable to coal mining permits as “Insignificant Revisions”, which are not placed on public notice and have no comment opportunity. See more at Citizens Against Longwall Mining.
On February 19, 2014, the IDNR/OSM will be hosting a hearing to review the 5-year Permit #399 that includes the now-functioning coal slurry impoundment. The hearing will take place at Montgomery County’s Historic Courthouse at 6pm. Details here.
Citizens Against Longwall Mining is a group of central Illinois residents who have been fighting the Deer Run Coal Mine in Hillsboro, IL since 2004. They are opposed to coal mining practices such as longwall mining that destroy fertile farmland, as well as coal ash and coal slurry disposal methods that threaten the health of communities, lands and waters.