The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Huntington, W.Va., is seeking comment until June 7 on a Section 404 Clean Water Act application from Coal River Mining LLC for a slurry impoundment project in Boone County, W.Va.
The proposed project would be located southwest of Emmons in Boone County and would result in the discharge of fill material into River Fork and some of its unnamed tributaries. River Fork is a tributary of Fork Creek, a direct tributary of the Big Coal River, a traditional navigable water of the United States.
“The applicant proposes to construct a slurry impoundment (Preparation Plant Utility Area No. 1) which would result in the discharge of fill material into waters of the United States (U.S.) associated with the disposal of coarse and fine coal refuse material generated from processing coal at a nearby plant (Fork Creek Preparation Plant),” said a Corps public notice. “The required Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) Permit O-5007-11 was approved by the [West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection] on March 11, 2013. Based on information received from the applicant, the purpose of the proposed project is to allow the permanent storage of coarse and fine coal refuse material generated by coal processing of the No. 2 Gas, Stockton, and Coalburg coal seams at the applicant’s existing preparation plant.”
The proposed slurry impoundment construction would result in the permanent and temporary discharge of fill material into a total of approximately 24,284 linear feet (lf) of jurisdictional stream channel within the River Fork watershed. At full capacity, the proposed impoundment would contain 84,000,000 tons of coarse and fine refuse generated from processing coal at the Fork Creek prep plant.
Coal River Mining is controlled by coal operator Jim Bunn and other parties, and it has three surface mines and three deep mines registered with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration under that corporate name. The Fork Creek prep plant is listed with MSHA under affiliate Coal River Processing LLC.