Corps now taking comment on two Coyote Coal applications

The Coyote Coal Co. LLC unit of Patriot Coal (NYSE: PCX) is pursuing a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit for the Stanley Fork deep mine, to be developed at a site just south of Kelly in Logan County, W.Va.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Huntington, W.Va., is taking public comment on the application until July 2. Two streams would be impacted by the access/haul road needed for this project. Also, to face up this deep mine, the company would need to take a surface cut in a narrow hollow, with the rock and soil from the cut going into Fill No. 1, which would also be the site of support facilities for the mine.

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection issued the mine permit, #U501507, for the Stanley Fork project, a room-and-pillar operation in the Winifrede coal seam, in July 2009. The DEP database shows no agency site inspections done since then, indicating that development work hasn’t started.

Also, the Corps office in Huntington is taking comment until June 22 on a Coyote Coal application for a Section 404 permit on the Hill Fork strip mine, to be located 1.7 miles southeast of Julian in Boone County, W.Va.

The Corps office in Huntington has been the target in recent years of numerous environmental group lawsuits –and a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency get-tough permitting crackdown – related to Section 404 permitting, so public notices like these two for Coyote Coal have been rarely issued of late.

The Corps noted that the Hill Fork mine would also be covered by DEP permit #S503908. The project would involve creation of three valley fills, with the company deciding that this kind of surface mining would be the only way to economically recover this coal reserve, the Corps said. This would be an area, contour, auger and highwall miner job working the 5 Block and Stockton coal seams and seam splits. The DEP database shows that the state mine permit application for this 471-acre project, filed in December 2008, is still pending as of June 5.

There are three operations currently listed with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration under Coyote Coal: the “active” Toms Fork Loadout; the “temporarily idled” Buffalo No. 2 Gas deep mine; and the “new” Trace Branch deep mine.

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.