Madisonville’s Property and Risk Management Committee met Monday afternoon to discuss the possibility of Warrior Coal mining on land owned by the city and a private owner.
The land in question is the 78-acre piece of property that currently houses the Boy Scout camp and 58 acres off of Brown Badgett Loop, which is owned by Phillip Renfro.
No action was taken at the meeting, but discussion regarding the current ordinance — which deems it unlawful to mine coal by the surface, auger or strip method within the city — was held.
The ordinance also states that it is unlawful to mine coal by the underground or deep shaft method as well.
“There is a 1970s ordinance that we are looking to address during this process,” said Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton. “Some of the thoughts that we heard tonight was the possibility of entering into a lease agreement with the coal company on that particular piece of property if they would agree to leave 50% of the coal in place.”
Madisonville Mayor Kevin Cotton said neither of these properties are residential, adding that the property that houses the space for the Boy Scouts camp is limited for just that use.
“On that particular property, it is limited to be used for that Boy Scout camp, and there are no structures nor will there be significant structures on that property,” he said. “It is not a residential area at all.”
Another option is to amend the ordinance to allow Warrior to do the mining.
“I think you will see them work on that 50% option and whether or not they move forward on amending the ordinance might be the question,” he said. “Right now it has some language that prohibits some things, however there was a case that was done several years ago that was done with the economic development … that did give some opportunities for mining with a lease agreement.”
Cotton said the property was donated to the city to be used for the Boy Scout camp.
“I think there are some other owners, not of the property itself, the city owns 100% of the property, but of the mineral rights that are there,” he said. “I’m sure there’s going to be heirs to either the individual that donated the property to the city or the individuals that sold the property years ago.”
According to Micah Dunn — land manager with Warrior Coal — the properties owned by private owners have to be leased out as well.
Cotton said there are some benefits to letting Warrior perform mining in the city limits, adding that the city receives 4% of the revenue made from the coal mining.
“As we know coal has taken a huge hit in our community in the last several years, and this is just an opportunity to keep those folks working,” he said. “It also generates income for the city that we could utilize in our revenue streams and potentially look at some options to upgrade out at the Boy Scout camp that we wouldn’t have otherwise.”
Cotton said the committee is also weighing the options of the benefits of mining in the city limits.