The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office in Louisville, Ky., will be taking public comment until Oct. 28 on a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit application from Peabody Midwest Mining LLC for a new mine area in Gibson County, Ind.
The project, covering new area for the Somerville South mine, is located on unnamed tributaries and adjacent wetlands and open waters to Smith Fork Creek and Big Creek in Gibson County. The project is to relocate wetlands, open waters, and streams to facilitate the removal of subsurface coal.
The proposed project would result in the discharge of fill and/or dredged material into “waters of the United States” for a surface coal mining operation throughout a 1764.4-acre site. The site is pending approval by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Reclamation, under Permit No. S-00335-3.
The proposed project would fill 30,252 linear feet of ephemeral streams, 53,756 linear feet of intermittent streams, 350 linear feet of perennial streams, 20.63 acres of palustrine forested (PFO) wetlands, 1.83 acres of palustrine scrub/shrub (PSS) wetlands, 3.37 acres of palustrine emergent (PEM) wetlands, 1.39 acres of palustrine unconsolidated bottom (PUB) wetlands, and 5.85 acres of open waters.
The applicant proposes to mitigate functions lost from the impacted resources by establishing 11,243 linear feet of natural channel ephemeral streams, 3,885 linear feet of enhanced linear (2 stage) channel ephemeral streams, 28,643 linear feet of natural channel intermittent streams, 25m113 linear feet of enhanced linear (2 stage) channel intermittent streams, 350 linear feet of perennial streams, and 71.21 acres of palustrine forested wetlands on-site following the mining and reclamation phase.
Peabody Midwest Mining is a unit of Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU), which is both the largest coal producer nationally and the largest producer in the Illinois Basin. Somerville South is not listed as a separate mine with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration. MSHA data shows that Peabody Midwest Mining’s Somerville Central strip mine in Gibson County produced 1.3 million tons in the first half of this year and 2.3 million tons in all of 2012.