Nally & Hamilton Enterprises is seeking a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on a strip mine – to be located on tributaries to Law Branch, Big Eb Hollow, Carter Branch and East Jellico Branch – in Bell County, Ky.
The tributaries are within Nally & Hamilton’s proposed KayJay #7 surface mine, located within the Greasy Creek watershed, the Corps office in Louisville, Ky., said in a public notice. The Corps is taking public comment on this application until May 17.
Notable is that Section 404 permits in eastern Kentucky have gotten tougher to get in recent years due to several environmental group lawsuits and a 2009 get-tough approach formulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which advises the Corps during the permitting process. This application undoubtedly went through changes to try and minimize stream impacts so it can be gotten through the permitting process.
At KayJay #7, impacts to waters of the U.S. would total 4,937 linear feet of stream and 0.02 acres of adjacent open water features. The proposed mining project would result in permanent impacts to 1,144 linear feet of ephemeral stream, 135 linear feet of intermittent stream and 1,220 linear feet of perennial stream to construct a rock underdrain and facilitate the storage of excess spoil material in two hollow fill structures, identified as HF 1 and HF 2.
The project would result in impacts to 1,018 linear feet of perennial stream due to construction of two sediment retention ponds. Sediment transport corridors downstream of the hollow fill structures would result in 1,420 linear feet of temporary stream impacts. Permanent impacts to 0.02 acres of open water impoundments would occur as a result of surface mining activities along the #4 Fireclay, #4 Fireclay Rider and Hamlin 5A coal seams.
Nally & Hamilton, controlled by Thomas Hamilton, is one of the largest independent coal operators in eastern Kentucky. The company lately has sought several Section 404 permits for other mining operations. For example:
- a Corps public comment period expires April 20 on an application for the Pencil Round Mountain surface mine in Harlan County;
- the comment period expired Feb. 16 for the Fourmile #2 surface mine in Bell County; and
- the comment period expired Jan. 19 for the Jackson Mountain #3 surface mine in Bell and Harlan counties.