Friday, January 17, 2014

Illegal Logging By Peabody Coal Halted

Emergency Action Saves Illinois Land From Dangerous Logging For Peabody Coal Mine - See more at: http://prairierivers.org/articles/2014/01/emergency-action-saves-illinois-land-from-dangerous-logging-for-peabody-coal-mine/#sthash.Te52mg9p.dpuf

Local Residents’ Appeal Stops Peabody Energy From Destroying Woods, Polluting Water 

Local Residents’ Appeal Stops Peabody Energy From Destroying Woods, Polluting Water - See more at: http://prairierivers.org/articles/2014/01/emergency-action-saves-illinois-land-from-dangerous-logging-for-peabody-coal-mine/#sthash.Te52mg9p.dpuf
Local Residents’ Appeal Stops Peabody Energy From Destroying Woods, Polluting Water - See more at: http://prairierivers.org/articles/2014/01/emergency-action-saves-illinois-land-from-dangerous-logging-for-peabody-coal-mine/#sthash.Te52mg9p.dpuf
Emergency Action Saves Illinois Land From Dangerous Logging For Peabody Coal Mine - See more at: http://prairierivers.org/articles/2014/01/emergency-action-saves-illinois-land-from-dangerous-logging-for-peabody-coal-mine/#sthash.Te52mg9p.dpuf

HARRISBURG, Ill. – The Sierra Club, Prairie Rivers Network and local citizens’ group Justice for Rocky Branch are applauding an emergency action by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining (OSM) to halt illegal logging and land clearing at Peabody Energy’s proposed Rocky Branch coal mine in Saline County. The action to protect the forest came after local residents and the Sierra Club notified federal officials that the coal mining company was logging and clearing at the proposed Rocky Branch mine without a permit to conduct those activities.

Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ notice of violation and cessation order can be found here: sc.org/K2mXPw

“We are grateful for local citizens who were watching out for these woods, and to the Office of Surface Mining for stepping in to stop this illegal logging,” said Terri Treacy, a representative of the Sierra Club’s Illinois chapter. “Big Coal is taking aim at Illinois’ forests, farms and streams in the rush to dig up this dirty fuel and make a quick buck by destroying our natural heritage. We need Governor Quinn and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to step up and protect Illinois’ land and water from major coal companies and polluters.”

At Rocky Branch, nearby residents became alarmed when logging equipment began appearing at the site in late December, even though no mining permit had been issued. After logging began, the Sierra Club and its allies brought this illegal activity to the attention of OSM and demanded immediate action to save the forest and protect nearby residents from water pollution from the coal mine.

In a 2013 letter, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service urged that more work be done to assess the wildlife of the forest and protect it. Instead, Peabody began to cut the forest down.

After conducting its own investigation, on Monday OSM required IDNR to put an immediate stop to logging at Rocky Branch and forced the companies to implement sediment controls to protect nearby properties.

“I’m glad to see the state finally do the right thing here,” said Justice for Rocky Branch member Donald Karns. “I’m trying to make sure all the necessary steps are taken to protect our land before any more damage is done from dangerous mining tactics. It is my priority to save my farm, our local water and the wildlife habitat for bald eagles and other species we regularly see in these woods. We need IDNR to enforce the law against companies that would damage our countryside and pollute our water.”

Strip mines throughout the Illinois Basin are logged and cleared before mining companies can access the coal seams beneath the ground, but state and federal mining laws require companies to obtain a mining permit before logging can begin. This is supposed to ensure adequate protections are in place to prevent runoff from damaging nearby homes and polluting creeks, rivers and streams. The permit also requires that adequate studies be conducted to ensure that no threatened or endangered species will be impacted. Those steps were not taken in this case.

“These protections are put in place to give citizens a voice in the process,” said Traci Barkley, a water resources scientist with Prairie Rivers Network.  “Today, that voice was heard. While we’re disappointed the state didn’t take our concerns seriously, we’re very pleased with OSM’s quick work to protect the farms and creeks in Saline County.”

Peabody Energy’s proposed Rocky Branch mine would destroy productive farmland and leave a 1,000-acre pit, and destroy nearly 8 miles of streams and roughly 200 acres of forests that provide suitable habitat for the at-risk Indiana bat, wild turkeys, and other wildlife.

Nearby residents and environmental groups have already raised numerous concerns about the proposed mine, including impacts to rivers and streams, disturbances and damage from blasting, traffic and safety impacts from road closures, airborne dust and the destruction of farmland and wildlife habitat. In addition, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service previously recommended that IDNR delay the permit to allow for a survey of the forest for the federally endangered Indiana bat. For the time being, today’s decision ensures that the forests—and the wildlife habitat and clean water protection they provide—will remain standing.

Justice for Rocky Branch is hosting a public meeting for all residents concerned about this proposed strip mine this coming Saturday morning, January 18, 9 AM at Dad’s BBQ Restaurant, 1238 US Highway 45 N in Eldorado.  All are welcome.

There is also a public hearing on the two proposed water permits for the mine on February 18 in Harrisburg, Ill.  More information can be found here:http://www.epa.state.il.us/public-notices/2013/peabody-arclar-mining/hearing-notice.pdf.




HARRISBURG, Ill. – The Sierra Club, Prairie Rivers Network and local citizens’ group Justice for Rocky Branch are applauding an emergency action by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining (OSM) to halt illegal logging and land clearing at Peabody Energy’s proposed Rocky Branch coal mine in Saline County. The action to protect the forest came after local residents and the Sierra Club notified federal officials that the coal mining company was logging and clearing at the proposed Rocky Branch mine without a permit to conduct those activities.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ notice of violation and cessation order can be found here: sc.org/K2mXPw
“We are grateful for local citizens who were watching out for these woods, and to the Office of Surface Mining for stepping in to stop this illegal logging,” said Terri Treacy, a representative of the Sierra Club’s Illinois chapter. “Big Coal is taking aim at Illinois’ forests, farms and streams in the rush to dig up this dirty fuel and make a quick buck by destroying our natural heritage. We need Governor Quinn and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to step up and protect Illinois’ land and water from major coal companies and polluters.”
At Rocky Branch, nearby residents became alarmed when logging equipment began appearing at the site in late December, even though no mining permit had been issued. After logging began, the Sierra Club and its allies brought this illegal activity to the attention of OSM and demanded immediate action to save the forest and protect nearby residents from water pollution from the coal mine.
In a 2013 letter, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service urged that more work be done to assess the wildlife of the forest and protect it. Instead, Peabody began to cut the forest down.
After conducting its own investigation, on Monday OSM required IDNR to put an immediate stop to logging at Rocky Branch and forced the companies to implement sediment controls to protect nearby properties.
“I’m glad to see the state finally do the right thing here,” said Justice for Rocky Branch member Donald Karns. “I’m trying to make sure all the necessary steps are taken to protect our land before any more damage is done from dangerous mining tactics. It is my priority to save my farm, our local water and the wildlife habitat for bald eagles and other species we regularly see in these woods. We need IDNR to enforce the law against companies that would damage our countryside and pollute our water.” 
Strip mines throughout the Illinois Basin are logged and cleared before mining companies can access the coal seams beneath the ground, but state and federal mining laws require companies to obtain a mining permit before logging can begin. This is supposed to ensure adequate protections are in place to prevent runoff from damaging nearby homes and polluting creeks, rivers and streams. The permit also requires that adequate studies be conducted to ensure that no threatened or endangered species will be impacted. Those steps were not taken in this case.
“These protections are put in place to give citizens a voice in the process,” said Traci Barkley, a water resources scientist with Prairie Rivers Network.  “Today, that voice was heard. While we’re disappointed the state didn’t take our concerns seriously, we’re very pleased with OSM’s quick work to protect the farms and creeks in Saline County.”
Peabody Energy’s proposed Rocky Branch mine would destroy productive farmland and leave a 1,000-acre pit, and destroy nearly 8 miles of streams and roughly 200 acres of forests that provide suitable habitat for the at-risk Indiana bat, wild turkeys, and other wildlife.
Nearby residents and environmental groups have already raised numerous concerns about the proposed mine, including impacts to rivers and streams, disturbances and damage from blasting, traffic and safety impacts from road closures, airborne dust and the destruction of farmland and wildlife habitat. In addition, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service previously recommended that IDNR delay the permit to allow for a survey of the forest for the federally endangered Indiana bat. For the time being, today’s decision ensures that the forests—and the wildlife habitat and clean water protection they provide—will remain standing.
Justice for Rocky Branch is hosting a public meeting for all residents concerned about this proposed strip mine this coming Saturday morning, January 18, 9 AM at Dad’s BBQ Restaurant, 1238 US Highway 45 N in Eldorado.  All are welcome. 
There is also a public hearing on the two proposed water permits for the mine on February 18 in Harrisburg, Ill.  More information can be found here: http://www.epa.state.il.us/public-notices/2013/peabody-arclar-mining/hearing-notice.pdf.
- See more at: http://prairierivers.org/articles/2014/01/emergency-action-saves-illinois-land-from-dangerous-logging-for-peabody-coal-mine/#sthash.Te52mg9p.dpuf
HARRISBURG, Ill. – The Sierra Club, Prairie Rivers Network and local citizens’ group Justice for Rocky Branch are applauding an emergency action by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining (OSM) to halt illegal logging and land clearing at Peabody Energy’s proposed Rocky Branch coal mine in Saline County. The action to protect the forest came after local residents and the Sierra Club notified federal officials that the coal mining company was logging and clearing at the proposed Rocky Branch mine without a permit to conduct those activities.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ notice of violation and cessation order can be found here: sc.org/K2mXPw
“We are grateful for local citizens who were watching out for these woods, and to the Office of Surface Mining for stepping in to stop this illegal logging,” said Terri Treacy, a representative of the Sierra Club’s Illinois chapter. “Big Coal is taking aim at Illinois’ forests, farms and streams in the rush to dig up this dirty fuel and make a quick buck by destroying our natural heritage. We need Governor Quinn and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to step up and protect Illinois’ land and water from major coal companies and polluters.”
At Rocky Branch, nearby residents became alarmed when logging equipment began appearing at the site in late December, even though no mining permit had been issued. After logging began, the Sierra Club and its allies brought this illegal activity to the attention of OSM and demanded immediate action to save the forest and protect nearby residents from water pollution from the coal mine.
In a 2013 letter, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service urged that more work be done to assess the wildlife of the forest and protect it. Instead, Peabody began to cut the forest down.
After conducting its own investigation, on Monday OSM required IDNR to put an immediate stop to logging at Rocky Branch and forced the companies to implement sediment controls to protect nearby properties.
“I’m glad to see the state finally do the right thing here,” said Justice for Rocky Branch member Donald Karns. “I’m trying to make sure all the necessary steps are taken to protect our land before any more damage is done from dangerous mining tactics. It is my priority to save my farm, our local water and the wildlife habitat for bald eagles and other species we regularly see in these woods. We need IDNR to enforce the law against companies that would damage our countryside and pollute our water.” 
Strip mines throughout the Illinois Basin are logged and cleared before mining companies can access the coal seams beneath the ground, but state and federal mining laws require companies to obtain a mining permit before logging can begin. This is supposed to ensure adequate protections are in place to prevent runoff from damaging nearby homes and polluting creeks, rivers and streams. The permit also requires that adequate studies be conducted to ensure that no threatened or endangered species will be impacted. Those steps were not taken in this case.
“These protections are put in place to give citizens a voice in the process,” said Traci Barkley, a water resources scientist with Prairie Rivers Network.  “Today, that voice was heard. While we’re disappointed the state didn’t take our concerns seriously, we’re very pleased with OSM’s quick work to protect the farms and creeks in Saline County.”
Peabody Energy’s proposed Rocky Branch mine would destroy productive farmland and leave a 1,000-acre pit, and destroy nearly 8 miles of streams and roughly 200 acres of forests that provide suitable habitat for the at-risk Indiana bat, wild turkeys, and other wildlife.
Nearby residents and environmental groups have already raised numerous concerns about the proposed mine, including impacts to rivers and streams, disturbances and damage from blasting, traffic and safety impacts from road closures, airborne dust and the destruction of farmland and wildlife habitat. In addition, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service previously recommended that IDNR delay the permit to allow for a survey of the forest for the federally endangered Indiana bat. For the time being, today’s decision ensures that the forests—and the wildlife habitat and clean water protection they provide—will remain standing.
Justice for Rocky Branch is hosting a public meeting for all residents concerned about this proposed strip mine this coming Saturday morning, January 18, 9 AM at Dad’s BBQ Restaurant, 1238 US Highway 45 N in Eldorado.  All are welcome. 
There is also a public hearing on the two proposed water permits for the mine on February 18 in Harrisburg, Ill.  More information can be found here: http://www.epa.state.il.us/public-notices/2013/peabody-arclar-mining/hearing-notice.pdf.
- See more at: http://prairierivers.org/articles/2014/01/emergency-action-saves-illinois-land-from-dangerous-logging-for-peabody-coal-mine/#sthash.Te52mg9p.dpuf