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Bond Returned to Coal Company

The Industry mine

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources issued its bond release decision regarding a pair of permits for the Industry mine, which is owned by Springfield Coal Company.

The IDNR document said, “The Department has determined the total amount of bond eligible for release from Permit 305 is $168,604.00 and from Permit 341 is $432,476.00.”

The document, dated May 20, 2015, also said, “The total bond remaining for Permit 305 after the release following this decision will be $178,080.00 and for Permit 341 will be $590,520.00”

The bond was put down by coal mine operators years ago to ensure land restoration work is completed once mining ceased at the McDonough County site.  The state last year denied Springfield Coal’s application for a permit renewal for mining and stated only reclamation operations would be allowed.

A hearing on the company’s request for bond release was held at the Schuyler County Courthouse in March.  Five people spoke against the release, including Ramona Cook, who lives near the mine.

On Tuesday, Cook said she was not surprised by the IDNR’s decision to release the bond money.  And she said she’s still concerned about whether the entire mine site will be restored.

“There are two ponds I recently saw … that appear to be ash deposits.  These cannot be left the way they are today,” Cook said.

“Since there is no bond left to ensure that Permit Area 16 will be reclaimed, I am very concerned that they’re releasing as much bond on Permit Areas 305 and 341 as they are.”

Cook said it’s too soon to know if a judicial review will be sought by opponents of the bond release, who also include the Sierra Club and the Prairie Rivers Network.

In its decision, the IDNR said it inspected the site and found work had been done “…in accordance with the approved reclamation plan…”

The agency also said, “The applicant has successfully completed all surface coal mining and reclamation activities and the liability period has expired for these areas and the reclamation requirements of the State Act and permit have been met.”

Rich is TSPR's News Director.