Jacks Branch Coal seeks extra disposal area permit from Corps

The Jacks Branch Coal unit of Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR) is seeking a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a mine refuse disposal project in Boone County, W.Va.

The Corps office in Huntington, W.Va., put the application out for notice on Oct. 1 and will take comment on it until Oct. 30.

The project area is located off Route 3, about 2.3 miles southwest of Peytona in Boone County. The project boundary encompasses the watershed of a tributary to Drawdy Creek of the Big Coal River. 

The applicant proposes to discharge fill material into waters of the U.S. in conjunction with the lateral and downstream expansion of the existing Crooked Run Refuse Impoundment. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection earlier this year approved a mine permit revision for this project.

The applicant proposes permanent discharges of fill material into 5,607 feet of streams and their abutting four emergent wetlands (0.28 acre), and 0.62 acre of open water (existing sediment control pond) during placement of dry coarse and fine refuse material generated by the applicant’s adjacent coal prep plant. Each on-site wetland is located on a previously disturbed area. An additional 2,610 feet of stream would receive fill material during construction of three in-stream sediment control ponds (Ponds 7, 8, and 9). 

The applicant’s proposed discharge of fill material into waters of the U.S. at the existing refuse fill area (as proposed) would provide for continued operation of the existing facility for another 17 years. 

Due to the anticipated length of time the proposed ponds would be in operation, Jacks Branch Coal treated all proposed on-site impacts as permanent and has not proposed on-site mitigation. The mitigation plan therefore consists entirely of off-site mitigation to waters in nearby watersheds.

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.