The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection will be taking public comment until April 4 on an air permit revision sought by Winifrede Dock LLC for changes at its coal-handling facility on the Kanawha River, including changes in throughput levels.
One part of the application is to remove synfuel provisions from the permit. Coal-based synfuel went out as a factor several years ago when a federal tax credit expired.
The facility mainly takes coal by either truck or rail and transfers it to barges, or it can ship coal out of stockpile via truck or rail. Under the permit revision, the total maximum amount of coal received at the facility will decrease to 5 million tons per year. The coal being received by truck will decrease from 3 million tons per year to 2.5 million tons per year. The total number of tons per year being received by train will decrease from 5 million tons to 2.5 million tons.
Since the total maximum annual throughput of coal received has decreased, the total amount shipped out will decrease, DEP said in a fact sheet. The coal being shipped out by barge will decrease from 5 million tons per year to 3.75 million tons per year. The coal being shipped out by rail will decrease from 2 million tons per year to 1 million tons per year. The coal being shipped out by truck will increase, on the other hand, from 5,000 tons per year to 250,000 tons per year.
The permit is also being updated to remove equipment which was never constructed or were previously removed due to operational issues. A Roto-Cyclone is also being removed from the application as a control device at the rail shakeout and has been replaced with 16 water sprays. No belt structure, bins, etc, are being added to the facility under this application.
U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration data shows Winifrede Dock as controlled by coal operator Jim Bunn and a business partner of his, Franklin Robertson. U.S. Office of Surface Mining data shows Winifrede Dock as 50-50 owned by M&K Coal Sales LLC and Big Eagle LLC, with M&K Coal Sales connected with Bunn and Robertson. OSM data shows that the Big Eagle end of the ownership leads up to a connection with Patriot Coal (NYSE:PCX). Winifrede Dock LLC is listed as a Patriot subsidiary in an attachment to Patriot’s Feb. 23 annual Form 10-K filing.