Last week, on October 28, the North Dakota Public Service Commission received a revised application from South Heart Coal for a permit to strip mine 4581 acres near South Heart for lignite coal. The PSC Reclamation Division sent the applicant a completeness deficiency letter on April 28th. This is a third attempt by South Heart Coal at submitting a complete application. PSC staff are reviewing the response and changes to the application over the next few weeks to determine if the application is now complete.
Plains Justice will post the full application on this blog and on our website as soon as we can obtain a copy. The public comment period will not begin until the application is deemed complete.
Local South Heart area ranchers and outfitters who serve nearby Theodore Roosevelt National Park have resisted this project – which includes coal gasification and drying facilities – for the last three years because of its anticipated impacts on drinking water, air quality, and quality of life. Plains Justice has provided legal and communications support to local efforts, both with our own staff and by retaining Attorney Derrick Braaten of Bismarck as local counsel. Plains Justice Communications Director Kelly Fuller spent a few months at South Heart this summer as the guest of a local ranching family, learning more about the area and helping the coalition organize.