The state of Indiana is soon to be the host to the biggest coal mine in all of eastern USA. However the Bear Run Mine in southwestern Indiana is worrying environmental groups as it steps up to become the largest coal mine in the region.
Peabody Energy, the company that owns Bear Run Mine, mines half of the 36 million tons of coal mined per year in Indiana.
The new mine is likely to produce between 8 million to 12 million tons of coal per year. This is in line with Governor Mitch Daniels trying to make coal a viable industry for the state of Indiana. The Peabody Energy run mine is however likely to put aquatic life at risk as it ups its production as per critics. While the company spokeswoman Meg Gallagher said that Peabody had an excellent reputation for environmental stewardship.
27 of the largest mines in America need to get individual permits from their respective state governments to follow environmental analysis and regular testing. This is not true of the Bear Run Mine in Indiana. The state needs the mine to follow a less strict general permit that is more of a one size fits all permit.
The Environmental Protection agency and some environmentalists groups are worried that this omission would lead to high levels of pollution in the waterways of the state affected by the mine. However the Indiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Thomas Easterly says the general permit provides enough protection and Bear Run meets the state's standards.