Craig Johansen of the Emery County Public Lands Council recently attended the Utah Water Quality Board public hearing to discuss the decision of the board to reclassify Electric Lake from a category I to a category II.
Johansen said, "The hearing was held to see what everyone thought of the decision. Most comments were favorable. The Division of Wildlife Resources had a few concerns and the forest service did not voice an opinion although they could still send in a written comment before the deadline. The board will consider all comments and letters and will address valid concerns and consider them.
"There are really two issues involved here. The hearing was on the second issue. The first issue deals with the water being pumped out of the mine. Two wells have been drilled outside of the mine workings. Those wells deal strictly with ground water and the Department of Environmental Quality has no jurisdiction. The mine currently holds a state engineer's permit for this dewatering into Electric Lake.
"The second issue deals with the Skyline Mine moving into the new lease area in Flat Canyon. This move will take place over the next two years. The mine anticipates hitting water. They have drilled test wells which indicate this possibility. They will apply for a new discharge permit. Their current permit is for discharge into Eccles Creek. Because of the distance involved in piping the water to Eccles Creek they are paving the way for a new discharge point by the reclassification of Electric Lake.
"The meeting was well attended. Irrigation companies were anxious to see the results as it pertains to their irrigation water. Both Emery and Carbon counties supported the reclassification," said Johansen.