IDNR denies permit for Canton mine
After years of struggle, the people who fought the North Canton Mine are stoked that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources finally has denied its permit.
“It’s been a very long effort for dedicated citizens to give up their time and their resources,” said Joyce Blumenshine of the Heart of Illinois Sierra Club. “They put in many, many hours.”
Via email, Canton Area Citizens for Environmental Issues chairwoman Brenda Dilts said she was so tired “that right now I can’t think.” But in a news release on behalf of those who fought the mine, she called the decision an example of what ordinary citizens can do to protect the environment.
“Residents in the area realized that mining would harm the watershed, and for some temporary jobs it is not worth the pollution and loss of our water,” she said.
In mid-2008, IDNR’s office of Mines and Minerals Land Reclamation Division issued a permit for Capital Resources Development Company LLC to have surface coal mining and reclamation in Fulton County. Within a month, Blumenshine and Dilts were part of the group that asked for a review of that decision. The Sierra Club, Canton residents and staff from Prairie Rivers Network teamed up to analyze local streams and contended the mine would threaten local water supplies.
“In this particular case, initially we did approve the permit,” IDNR spokesman Chris McCloud said Friday. “It was challenged. An administrative hearing took place. This is the administrative officer’s final decision.”
McCloud said he did not feel he could comment about what might happen next. He deferred to the 32-page final order from hearing officer Jack Price that was dated Feb. 12.
Although Price found in favor of IDNR for most questions in the proceeding, he said the application failed to provide information about the protection of that stream, which was required.
“While I ascribe no intent to deceive on the part of (Capital Resources Development), nor an ‘evil intent’ on the part of the Department, it is clear that the Department has ignored the provisions of the Administrative Procedure Act and, by so doing lead (Capital Resources Development) into creating error,” Price wrote.
Representatives of Capital Resources Development did not respond to requests for comment.
Terry Bibo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.