This notice announces an application submitted for a Department of the Army (DA) Permit, subject to Section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
APPLICANT: Alex Messamore
Solar Sources Mining, LLC
625 N. 9th St.; P.O. Box 7
Petersburg, IN 47567
LOCATION: Montgomery, Daviess County, Indiana
Antioch Creek, Egan Ditch, Obert’s Ditch, South Fork Prairie Creek, and associated unnamed tributaries of these streams.
7.5 Minute Quad: Montgomery, IN
PURPOSE: Expansion of an existing surface mine facility to extract coal from multiple seams, and sell on the open market.
DESCRIPTION OF WORK: The proposed project would result in the discharge of fill and/or dredged material into “waters of the United States” on an 810-acre amendment area for the existing Antioch Mine. The existing mine is 1,277 acres and approved under Department of the Army Permit LRL-2005-359-gjd, and Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) permit #S-355. The proposed mine amendment area has been approved under SMCRA #S-355, #S-335-1 and #S-355-2.
The proposed mine would excavate coal seam overburden to uncover and mine multiple coal seams. The four major coal seams of economic importance locally belong to the Staunton and Brazil Formations. All economically recoverable coal would be removed during the excavation, processed and sold. The remaining excavated overburden materials generated, non-coal wastes, and any coal processing waste materials would be placed in designated fill areas or into adjacent mined out pits. The area would be returned to its approximate original contour, covered with reserved soil materials, revegetated and returned to the SMCRA approved post-mine land uses.
99.61% of the amendment area drains northward to the South Fork Prairie Creek, and is located in HUC12 051202020705. The remainder of the amendment area drains south to the Hurricane Creek-Veale Creek watershed, HUC12 051202020901. All streams in this region drain to the West Fork of the White River.
Streams and wetlands would be impacted from the construction of the surface mine and associated facilities. A total of 5,939 linear feet of jurisdictional intermittent streams and 1.7 acre of open waters would be impacted by the proposal.
AVOIDANCE, MINIMIZATION, AND MITIGATION MEASURES: The applicant considered numerous design alternatives, but due to the geometric configuration of the subject land parcels and location of jurisdictional waters, a functional design for the surface mining facility that did not discharge dredged or fill material could not be achieved.
Stream buffer zones also were considered but were eliminated due to the configuration of the site. Streams and associated wetlands dissect the proposed permit area and the additional time, road crossing construction, and costs of moving equipment, coal, and overburden make this economically unfeasible for a site of this size. Conditions at the Antioch Mine site allowed for configuration of the mine boundary to avoid impacts to several jurisdictional streams, as well as re-mining previously disturbed and reclaimed areas. Of the 19,482 linear feet of jurisdictional streams and 3.5 acre of jurisdictional open waters within the review area, 13,543 linear feet of streams and 1.8 acres of open waters would be avoided.
For the unavoidable impacts, the applicant proposes to offset the stream impacts by constructing permittee responsible off-site mitigation on a property adjacent to the existing Antioch Mine property. The applicant proposes to perform stream restoration activities on 4,860-linear foot segment of Antioch Creek and a 1,210 linear foot segment of an unnamed intermittent tributary of Antioch Creek, for a total of 6,070 linear feet of intermittent stream re-establishment. Riparian corridors are generally cleared to top of bank along most of the reach, with a thin riparian along the rest, and large trees existing in some locations. The streams have been dredged and are entrenched to a depth that generally precludes floodplain access. Stream profile is limited to a continuous run-type channel such that substrates including coarse woody debris and fine gravel are easily moved during appreciable rain events. The applicant proposes removing the existing channels, and constructing a new meandering channels on the surface of excavated floodplains. The new channels would be established with a riffle-run-pool-glide profile and be sized to reach bankfull on a 1 to 2-yr return interval. Sinuosity would vary according to the slope of the valley and width/depth ratios would vary according to sediment supply. Design for the mitigation channels is based on the Rosgen method as adapted to the Illinois Basin. Mitigation streams would be protected by in excess of a 150 feet of riparian buffer totaling a 36.5 acres of riparian buffer, with 4 acres consisting of palustrine forested wetland along a 2,186 foot reach of Antioch Creek. This forested riparian buffer would serve to protect the mitigation streams as well as utilizing the entirety of the offsite location that would otherwise be left in agricultural production possibly encroaching on the newly established mitigation.
It is noted that this proposed mitigation plan is open to comment and subject to change. The Corps will make a determination of appropriate mitigation, upon review of all submitted information.
REVIEW PROCEDURES: A DA Permit cannot be issued if any legally required Federal, State, or local authorization or certification is denied.
A DA Permit, if otherwise warranted, will not be issued on this project until a State of Indiana Section 401 Water Quality Certification (WQC) from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) is on file in this office or it is considered waived. This Public Notice may constitute the application for the 401 certification. IDEM will review this proposal for compliance with the applicable provisions of Section 301, 302, 303, 306 and 307 of the CWA, including the state water quality standards currently set forth at 327 IAC 2. They will consider comments regarding this proposal postmarked by the closing date of this notice. Comments to IDEM should be addressed to: IDEM, Office of Water Quality, Section 401 WQC Program, 100 N. Senate Avenue Room N1255, Indianapolis, Indiana 46204. The applicant is responsible for obtaining the certification from IDEM.
Copies of this notice are sent to the appropriate Federal and State Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Their views and comments are solicited in accordance with the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act of 1956. Based on available information, the proposed activity will not destroy or endanger any Federally-listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitats, as identified under the Endangered Species Act, and therefore, initiation of formal consultation procedures with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is not planned at this time.
Any person may request, in writing, within the comment period specified in this notice, that a public hearing be held to consider this application. A request for a public hearing must state the specific interest which might be damaged by issuance of the DA Permit.
The National Register of Historic Places has been examined, and it has been determined that there are no properties currently listed on the Register which would be directly affected by the proposed work. If we are made aware, as a result of comments received in response to this notice, or by other means, of specific archaeological, scientific, prehistoric, or historical sites or structures which might be affected by the proposed work, the District Engineer will immediately take the appropriate action necessary pursuant to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 – Public Law 89-665 as amended (including Public Law 96-515).
The decision whether to issue a permit will be based on an evaluation of the probable impact of the proposed activity on the public interest. That decision will reflect the national concern for both protection and utilization of important resources. The benefits which reasonably may be expected to accrue from the proposal must be balanced against its reasonably foreseeable detriments. All factors which may be relevant to the proposal will be considered; among those are conservation, economics, aesthetic values, general environmental concerns, historic values, fish and wildlife values, flood damage prevention, land use, navigation, recreation, water supply, water quality, energy needs, safety, food production, and in general, the needs and welfare of the public. In addition, the evaluation of the impact of the activity on the public interest will include application of the guidelines (40 CFR Part 230) promulgated by the Administrator, United States Environmental Protection Agency, under authority of Section 404(b) of the CWA.
The Corps of Engineers is soliciting comments from the public; Federal, State, and local agencies and officials; Indian tribes; and other interested parties in order to consider and evaluate the impacts of this proposed activity. It is presumed that all interested parties and agencies will wish to respond; therefore, a lack of response will be interpreted as meaning that there is no objection to the proposed project. Any comments received will be considered by the Corps of Engineers to determine whether to issue, modify, condition or deny a permit for this proposal. To make this decision, comments are used to assess impacts on endangered species, historic properties, water quality, general environmental effects, and the other public interest factors listed above. Comments are used in the preparation of an Environmental Assessment and/or an Environmental Impact Statement pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act. Comments are also used to determine the need for a public hearing and to determine the overall public interest of the proposed activity.
Written statements received in this office on or before the closing date will become a part of the official record and will be considered in the determination on this permit request. Any objections which are received during this period will be forwarded to the applicant for possible resolution before the determination is made whether to issue or deny the requested DA Permit. A permit will be granted unless its issuance is found to be contrary to the public interest.
Information pertaining to this application is available for public examination during normal business hours upon prior request. Drawings are available on Louisville District's Internet site at http://www.lrl.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Public-Notices/. All comments regarding this proposal should be addressed to Mr. Matt Dennis, CELRL-RDS at the address noted above and should refer to the Public Notice Number No. LRL-2016-630-mad.
If you desire to submit your comments by email, you must comply with the following:
a) In the subject line of your email, type in ONLY the Public Notice ID No. LRL-2016-630-mad.
b) Provide your physical mailing address and telephone number.
c) Send your email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
d) If you are sending attachments greater than 1 Mb in size with your email, you must send a hard copy (CD or paper) to the Corps’ physical address as well.