Coal operator Jim Booth’s Mayo Resources is seeking a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a surface mine project in Lawrence County, Ky.
The Corps office in Louisville, Ky., will be taking public comment on the application until April. 26. Section 404 permits have gotten tougher to get in the last three years in Central Appalachia, the region covered by this prospective permit, due to a crackdown by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which works with the Corps during the permitting process.
These projects, through something called hollow fills (sometimes known as valley fills), involve the dumping of rock and soil from the mine site in existing streams. That has triggered a lot of environmental opposition over the years and numerous battles in federal court over Corps permitting practices.
The Mayo Resources project is located about 2.4 miles south on KY 3 from Clifford, immediately west of Big Laurel Church, within Laurel Creek and its tributaries in Lawrence County.
“The proposed project would utilize contour mining to extract the Broas, Upper Peach Orchard, Middle Peach Orchard, and Lower Peach Orchard seams within a 731-acre mine area,” said a Corps public notice. “The applicant proposes to construct four hollow fills (HF4, HF6, HF7, and HF9), eight sediment control structures (SS-1, SS-2, SS-3, SS-5, SS-6, SS-8, SS-9, and SS-10), seven mine through areas (1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, and 10), and three reclamation areas (1, 2, and 8) in jurisdictional waters. In addition, hollow fills 5 and 10 would be constructed in non-jurisdictional uplands.”
Mayo Resources has also applied for authorization for this operation from the Kentucky Division of Mine Permits as permit #864-0225.
Mayo Resources has four operations, all in eastern Kentucky, registered with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. They are the #4, #5 and #6 strip jobs, and also the Highwall Miner #57 operation. Booth, who operates under several company names, is one of the largest independent coal operators in Central Appalachia.