The Illlinois Pollution Control Board on Nov. 5 agreed to stay a long-dormant Clean Water Act case that was filed in 2010 because a new party has bought an affected coal mine of a party to the case, Illinois Fuel Co. LLC.
On Nov. 2, the Office of the Attorney General, on behalf of the people of Illinois, filed a motion to stay this matter for 30 days. It said that Illinois Fuel has not been represented in this matter since its counsel withdrew his appearance in September 2013. Illinois Fuel has not participated in status conferences held since its counsel withdrew. The Attorney General’s motion for summary judgment is pending.
“The People state that Cheyenne Resources, Inc. (Cheyenne), which is not a party to this proceeding, contacted them on October 22, 2015, and participated in the most recent status conference on October 26, 2015,” the board order noted. “The People report Cheyenne’s assertion that it ‘assumed from Respondent the lease on one of the mines at issue in this proceeding, the Saline County Mine referenced in Counts I and II of the Complaint.’ Counsel has indicated that Cheyenne ‘was still in the process of determining what permits were at issue in this proceeding, and what positions it might take with respect to this proceeding.’ The People state that they wish ‘to determine whether any settlement of the issues in this proceeding may be reached with Cheyenne.’ The People request a 30-day stay ‘to discuss this matter with Cheyenne.'”
The board granted the stay until Monday, Dec. 7, the first business day after 30 days from the date of its order. Additional requests for stay of the proceedings must be directed to the hearing officer in the case, the order noted.
Illinois Fuel was a company controllled by the Addington family, particularly the late Larry Addington. The only mine currently listed with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration under that company name is the Cheyenne Saline Co. #1 strip mine in Gallatin County, Ill., which has been out of production since 2011.
Said the April 2010 complaint that began this case: “Illinois Fuel Company, LLC, caused or allowed the discharge of iron, manganese, sulfates, pH and [total suspended solids] into waters of the State so as to cause or tend to cause water pollution in Illinois in combination with matter from other sources. These repeated discharges from the Saline County mine in excess of the permitted concentration levels have likely created a nuisance or rendered such waters harmful or detrimental or injurious to agricultural, recreational, or other legitimate uses, or to livestock, wild animals, birds, fish, or other aquatic life.”