Alpha unit seeks permit to extend life of coal refuse area

The Independence Coal unit of Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR) is seeking a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit so it can expand a refuse area at an operation in Boone County, W.Va.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Huntington, W.Va., has the application out for public comment until April 30. The public comment stage is fairly early in the Corps review process.

This is one of the few Section 404 applications that the Huntington office has put out for comment in recent months. The Corps has had to deal with shifting policy caused by multiple lawsuits against Section 404 permitting in this region, and a get-tough approach to this permitting invoked in 2009 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which advises the Corps during the permitting process.

The Independence Coal project would be located in unnamed tributaries of Robinson Creek. This would be a 101.16-acre expansion of the existing 519.4-acre refuse impoundment at the Jake Gore Refuse Facility. This project is also covered by an incidental boundary revision to a state-issued mine permit, S505788. The additional refuse area will extend the life of the Jake Gore facility by four additional years for coarse refuse disposal and 11 years of coal fines disposal. The company proposes various measures to mitigate the stream impacts of this project.

Independence Coal is one of the operations that Alpha picked up in a June 2011 buy of Massey Energy.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.