Will the citizens in Canton, IL be getting a big lump of coal in their stocking? Or will the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) do the right thing and Protect Canton Lake and Copperas Creek from strip mining coal?
That’s what a large crowd of people who attended IEPA public hearings in Canton last night are wondering.The IEPA held the hearings to determine the request of Capital Resources Development Company, LLC, for a 401 Water Quality Certification¹ and a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)² permit for the proposed North Canton Mine. The proposed 1,084.5-acre coal strip mine site is located just over a mile upstream from Canton Lake, threatening the safety and quantity of drinking water for 20,000 people and permanently destroying miles of tributary streams in the Copperas Creek watershed.Aerial view showing proximity of proposed North Canton Mine to Canton Lake–drinking water supply for over 20,000 people.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has identified the Copperas Creek watershed as a strategic watershed in the Illinois River Bluffs regions due to its high quality habitat. Allowing the mine to destroy these streams is in complete opposition to the Department’s plan to “protect the good stuff first.”
If anyone gets a lump of coal in their stocking it should be Capitol Resources Development, LLC for the 300 Clean Water Act violations since 2003 at its Industry Mine in McDonough County. Despite ongoing legal action since 2009, IEPA has issued no fines and the Industry Mine continues to pollute.
It’s not too late to show your support for a broad alliance of farmers, business people, health care professionals, teachers, attorneys, students, retirees, camping, hunting, and fishing enthusiasts who have all come together to protect their area’s sole source of drinking water from an ill-conceived and potentially disastrous mine proposal.
Comments concerning both the 401 certification and the NPDES permit can be made until Jan. 5, 2012. Submit your comments using our handy Sierra Club Online Action form. Or email your comments– but be sure to specify either NPDES or 401 in the subject line.
¹The 401 certification is for impacts to the watershed associated with the proposed mine site, which is currently used for agriculture with forested stream corridors.
²The NPDES permit is for storm water related discharges of wastewater from the mine site into the Middle Branch of Copperas Creek and the West Branch Copperas Creek.