The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Fort Worth District, as lead federal agency, will say in an April 29 Federal Register notice that it has prepared a Regional Environmental Impact Statement (REIS) to analyze potential impacts within defined geographic regions in Texas that may be affected by its permit decisions for future surface coal and lignite mine expansions or satellite mines.
The Corps is proposing changes to its regulatory framework for surface coal and lignite mines in Texas. The proposed regulatory framework includes the establishment of a Regional General Permit (RGP) and a revised Letter of Permission (LOP) procedure with modifications to aquatic resource impact thresholds and a change from agency concurrence to agency coordination as compared to the current process. No changes to the criteria for Nationwide Permit (NWP) 21 or NWP 49 are proposed.
The REIS considers the potential environmental impacts of future mine expansions or satellite mines in six study areas along the coal-bearing formations in Texas that run from southwest Texas to northeast Texas. The study areas encompass locations within the coal/lignite belt in Texas that were determined to be within reasonable proximity to existing surface coal and lignite mines with potential for future expansion.
Locally-mined lignite is a major fuel source for a number of power plants in Texas, including plants owned by Luminant.
The Corps website for this project is at: http://www.swf.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Permitting/REISforLigniteMininginTexas.aspx