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This notice announces an application submitted for a Department of the Army (DA) Permit, subject to Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA).
APPLICANT: Sunrise Coal. LLC
1183 East Canvas Back Drive
Terre Haute, Indiana 47802
LOCATION: Unnamed tributary streams and associated wetlands of Conger Creek, west of Petersburg, Pike County, Indiana
7.5 Minute Quad: Union, Indiana
PURPOSE: To relocate wetlands and streams to facilitate the removal of subsurface coal and to utilize the area as a borrow site for offsite reclamation purposes.
DESCRIPTION OF WORK: The proposed project would result in discharges of fill and/or dredged material into “waters of the United States” on a 108.5-acre project area. The project mine permit is approval by Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) Permit No. U-025.
Under this proposal the applicant is proposing to fill 5.47 acres of palustrine forested (PFO) wetlands, 0.77 acres of palustrine emergent (PEM) wetlands, and 1,020 linear feet of intermittent stream. All economically recoverable coal would be removed during the excavation of the area, processed, and sold. The area would be returned to approximate original contours, covered with stockpiled soil material, revegetated, and returned to an IDNR-SMCRA approved post-mine land use.
The impacts would be necessary for the extraction of approximately 400,000 tons of coal, the construction of required sediment basins, a final impoundment, and the spoil material generated from surface mining will be used to return the mining area to approximate original contours and provide borrow material to reclaim existing refuse disposal areas.
AVOIDANCE, MINIMIZATION, AND MITIGATION MEASURES: The applicant’s preferred alternative has taken into consideration various mining methods to maximize the opportunities for avoidance and minimization measures while still meeting the project purpose.
The project has been designed to avoid impacting two wetland areas totaling 1.34 acres, two intermittent streams totaling 587’ and one perennial stream (Conger Creek) will be avoided by maintaining a 100’ wide vegetated buffer along 2,658’ of the stream.
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.
The applicant proposes compensatory mitigation at an offsite location (Roth Farm). The mitigation site is located approximately 3.5 miles northwest of the project site at coordinates 38.533777 ˚N, -87.428231 ˚W. The proposed mitigation site is within the floodplain of the White River at approximate River Mile 30.057.
The applicant proposes to restore 19.21 acres of PFO wetlands in an area that is currently in agricultural production. Plantings would be managed primarily for hard mast tree species. The site is owned by a subsidiary company to the applicant and will be protected through a conservation easement. The proposed mitigation site is connected to a larger forested wetland mitigation area.
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. In order to comply with Section 401 of the Clean Water Act, the applicant must apply for State certification from IDEM. IDEM can be contacted at the following address: 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 is within the range of the federally listed Indiana Bat (Myotis sodalist) and the Northern Long-eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis) and the candidate species Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus). Further coordination regarding any Federally listed threatened or endangered species or their critical habitats, as identified under the Endangered Species Act, with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is planned.
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 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 https://www.lrl.usace.army.mil/Missions/Regulatory/Public-Notices/. All comments regarding this proposal should be addressed to Mr. Darrin Parrent, CELRL-RDS at the address noted above and should refer to the Public Notice Number No. LRL-2022-1028-dsp.
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-2022-1028-dsp.
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 10 Mb in size with your email, you must send a hard copy (CD or paper) to the Corps’ physical address as well.