SHERIDAN — The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality on Jan. 17 requested additional technical information from Ramaco Carbon regarding its Brook Mine permit application for the small mining operation outside Sheridan.
Ramaco officials said the series of requests by regulators for additional information from the applicant is part of the standard permit review process. According to a press release from Ramaco, the DEQ request focuses on environmental safeguards. In response to the DEQ request, Jeff Barron of WWC Engineering — who has led work on the permit revisions for Ramaco Carbon — expressed support for the DEQ’s areas of focus.
“We’re pleased that the DEQ has advanced the permit process by providing these requests, which we believe puts us almost at the end of the overall permit process,” Barron said in the press release. “Once we respond shortly, our additional information will further demonstrate the strength of the environmental safeguards planned for this very small mine.”
Barron added that the clarifying information focuses on subjects such as hydrology and alluvial areas, which Ramaco has already been gathering additional data around.
One group that has consistently expressed opposition to Ramaco’s project issued a statement regarding the request for additional information from DEQ.
“If you pull back the curtain on Ramaco, there are several components of the mine operation that are not discussed at all, much less to the level of detail required for neighbors to determine impacts to us and our property,” said John Buyok, an impacted neighbor and retired engineer with experience working on mine permits. “…They still haven’t adequately addressed the serious concerns that caused us to protest the first permit submittal. We’re happy to see that the DEQ has apparently come to the same conclusion.”
The Powder River Basin Resource Council also had a consulting scientist review the permit application. Mike Wireman, hydrogeologist and former EPA national groundwater expert, said in the press release from PRBRC that the application “is barely any better than the original…”
Dr. Jerry Marino, a professional engineer and national subsidence expert, said he felt the company “only made a token effort to address the mine subsidence issues of the mine design. Ramaco Carbon expects to respond to the DEQ’s request in approximately one month. The DEQ is then expected to formally comment on the permit application in March, which will begin a period of public comment on the proposed permit.