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Sapphire permit approved



The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Louisville District has announced that the proposed Sapphire Coal Company project in Letcher County is authorized by Nationwide Permit 49.

The operation, located one-half mile southwest from the junction of KY 160 and KY 15 near Van on an unnamed tributary of Smoot Creek, would impact 473 linear feet of intermittent stream by extending one existing hollow fill. To compensate for “aquatic functional losses” related to the proposed fill extension, the stream channel would be reconstructed through the existing sediment control pond upon state bond release, the Corps said.

The Corps reviewed the proposal in accordance with the Nationwide Permit coordination procedures. As part of the review, the Corps coordinated the proposal with interested state and federal agencies including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Surface Mining, and the Kentucky Department for Natural Resources to ensure the impacts would be minimal.

The Nationwide Permit 49 is an Army Corps of Engineers’ permit which authorizes the discharge of dredged or fill material into “waters of the U.S.” associated with the remining and reclamation of lands that were previously mined for coal.


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