Support Hillsboro Residents on 2-19-14

[column width=”47%” padding=”6%”]Aerial, Deer Run Mine

Attend Hearing for 5-Year Permit
Renewal, Deer Run Mine

On February 19, 2014, the IDNR/OSM will be hosting a public hearing to review the 5-year renewal of Permit #399 that includes an 88-foot tall, high-hazard coal slurry impoundment covering one square mile in the city limits of Hillsboro.

Subsequent to its approval in 2009, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources / Office of Mines and Minerals allowed the construction of the above-ground 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 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 neighboring Schram City, and could send pollution downstream into the watershed of Lake Hillsboro.

Support Citizens Against Longwall Mining and residents of Hillsboro as they fight to protect their health, safety, and livelihoods that are being jeopardized by mine operations. The hearing will take place at Montgomery County’s Historic Courthouse at 6pm. Details here.

Description
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, Deer Run 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.

[/column][column width=”47%” padding=”0″]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.

Administrative Review Requested – But Denied
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 80 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.

Resources
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.


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