Nally & Hamilton Enterprises, one of the largest independent coal producers in eastern Kentucky, is seeking a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit on a surface mine project located along streams that are tributaries to Cranks Creek in Harlan County.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Nashville, Tenn., is taking public comment until April 20 on the application for the Pencil Round Mountain surface mine. Proposed impacts to waters under Corps jurisdiction would occur due to contour, area and auger mining of the Harlan and Kellioka/Darby seams covering a 294.45-acre mining site, said a Corps public notice. Impacts to Corps-jurisdictional waters include 1,693 linear feet of ephemeral, intermittent and perennial streams.
No permit will be issued unless the alternatives analysis clearly demonstrates that practicable upland alternatives are not available to achieve the overall project purpose, the Corps noted. Various proposed mitigation efforts are intended to offset and restore functional stream values that would be lost or impacted as a result of project impacts and to compensate for temporal and other unavoidable losses associated with project activity.
Section 404 permits in recent years have gotten very tough to get in Central Appalachia. Undoubtedly Nally had to make a lot of changes to the mine plan for this operation as it tries to get this permit through the Corps. The U.S. Environmental Protection advises the Corps during the Section 404 process and EPA under the Obama Administration has gotten much tougher than the Corps itself in reviewing these applications.
Nally, controlled by Thomas Hamilton, has 12 mines, all surface jobs in eastern Kentucky, currently registered with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.