Alpha Natural Resources Inc. applied for a waste discharge permit at a preparation plant in Wyoming County, W.Va.
The permit, which was posted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Dec. 22, would allow for the discharge of dredged and/or fill material into 7,625 linear feet of streams and 0.344 acres of emergent wetland on tributaries of the Right Fork of Big Branch.
Alpha intends to build a coal refuse disposal area for its Kepler Preparation Plant, including an in-stream drainage control and treatment pond as well as stream crossings, a coarse refuse starter dam, coarse refuse embankment and underdrain system, and placement of coarse and fine refuse materials.
The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection approved the refuse disposal area.
Surveys determined that the Guyandotte River crayfish, which is federally classified as endangered, is not present downstream from the proposed discharge area and that endangered bat species in the area will not be adversely affected.
A spokesperson from Alpha did not respond to a request for comment about the project.
The public comment period for the permit ends Jan. 20, 2017.