PRINCETON, Ind. — Gibson County Logistics, LLC received approval in September from the Gibson County Drainage Board to access two regulated ditches located along Ind. 64, west of the Ind. 65 junction near Duke Energy's Gibson Generating Station for a proposed rail load-out facility.
The project came to light with county government when Gibson County Logistics representatives Scott McGuire, Roy Dressler and Jamalyn Sarver reported to drainage board members of the rail loadout facility between two legal drains located in the Saunders Ditch and Kelch Ditch. The company plans to install pipes that will run into the legal drains. The company also requested to cross the Kelch Ditch at the north end of the property.
Gibson County Commissioner Gerald Bledsoe said the representatives told the drainage board that they are putting in a rail service system that will take coal to the power plant. "They mainly discussed the drainage concerns, and not the operations," Bledsoe said.
He said that while specifics of the project were not given in the public meeting, there are concerns about increased traffic flow on the highway with coal trucks coming into the new rail loading station. "There is a lot of concern about the traffic on that highway now, not to mention if it gets worse with this rail system going in," said Bledsoe. "The shape of the highway is bad, and I have already petitioned the Indiana Department of Transportation about fixing that road since it is a state road," Bledsoe said.
"Of course added traffic on the highway is something thing to be concerned about, we can't restrict it. All we can do is put the Gibson County Sheriff's Department on more patrols in that area," said Bledsoe.
Gibson County Logistics, LLC 's principal address in Terre Haute listed in the project proposal is the same address as Sunrise Coal's corporate office. Several efforts to reach Sunrise Coal for comment were not successful Tuesday.
Sunrise Coal, a subsidiary of Hallador Energy Company, is Indiana’s second largest coal producer, according to the company's website. The company is focused on developing coal reserves in the Illinois Basin. According to the website, Sunrise acquired mines in Oaktown, Ind. in 2014. "The Oaktown mines lie just between Sunrise’s Carlisle Mine and the developing War Eagle reserve. Altogether, Carlisle, Oaktown and the War Eagle reserve have become a 230MM ton underground coal complex. What was known as the War Eagle reserve will now be mined through Oaktown," according to the website.
INDOT officials have said there are not any current plans to install a traffic light in that area in Ind. 64. Efforts to reach INDOT's railroad division were not successful Tuesday.
Bledsoe said he hope to hear back from INDOT on his request for the upgrade to that highway by January.