The U.S. Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement, which directly controls surface mining in Tennessee, has reopened the permit process for a proposed 422-acre mine in Campbell County, Tenn.
Environmental groups Tennessee Clean Water Network, Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife and SOCM wrote to the agency to express their objections. The groups wrote, “The proposed permitted area falls almost entirely within the North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area ridgelines that the Department of the Interior has designated as unsuitable for coal surface mining in its December 7, 2016 decision.”
Triple H Coal, LLC, originally filed the permit in 2014, and the groups objected then as well. Their original concerns include the potential for new acid mine drainage problems, threats to human health in the area, harm to federally threatened blacksided dace and damage to the hydrologic balance beyond the mine permit boundary. The groups urged the agency to consider the cumulative impacts to land, air and water from other nearby coal operations when evaluating this mine.
The agency is holding an informal hearing about the mine at 6 p.m. on Oct. 15 at the Jacksboro municipal building in Jacksboro, Tenn. — By Molly Moore