Hopkins County Commissioners Court Monday morning during their regular session approved an order releasing TXU Mining Company LP and Luminant Mining Company LLC from the businesses’ obligation to restore two county roads as agreed upon in previous court orders.
Basically, the Commissioners Court allowed the mine to close or relocate County Road 2307 and County Road 2309 in January 2000 and September 2007 and July 2010. However, the mine company in the documents, agreed to build new or restore the roads within two years of all mining and reclamation.
The City of Sulphur Springs asked the county to make the change to the TXU/Luminant agreement with the knowledge that the city will be annexing the property upon completion of the transfer of the property to the city. The city limits already protrudes into the coal mine so the coal mine property can be annexed. Maxwell said the city has no intention to annex any other area around the mine, only the mining property, according to Sulphur Springs City Manager Marc Maxwell.
“We made some commitment to Luminant. One of those commitments is that we will get them out of their requirements to rebuild the county roads that they entered into with you. Since we’re going to annex it as soon as it become ours, the road will become our problem anyway. We would ask you to pass the order, letting them out of their responsibility on the date we gain possession of the property,” said Maxwell.
The city anticipates taking possession of the property by the end of the year, according to Maxwell. That’s contingent on three things: releasing Luminant of their commitment to rebuild the County Road 2309, which is almost located completely within the mine, and County Road 2307, which begins where Bill Bradford Road ends just past the overpass; amendment of the water rights; and getting the mining company out of their commitment to remove the overpass on FM 1870.
The city has already posted the notice and are awaiting the 21 days required for further action on the water rights commitment, according to Maxwell. The property has 21 ponds on it and water rights have to be given.
When they release those Lake Sulphur Springs and Coleman will be able to draw 2 inches to 1 foot from Lake Sulphur Springs to compensate for evaporation from the ponds, according to the city manager.
In recent negotiations, city officials expressed agreed to take over County Road 2307 from Interstate 30 back to the mine property, understanding that when there’s significant water due to rains, the road often is out of service or in need of repairs. Precinct 2 Commissioner Greg Anglin noted there’s a work order in for a culvert due to recent rains. Maxwell said that might be an area to consider utilizing mechanical concrete for improvements.
The city also has been in talks with Texas Department of Transportation officials for the state agency regarding who will take over care of the overpass; the city and TxDOT have a verbal agreement are awaiting a written document on the matter, Maxwell told the commissioners.
With completion of the transfer of the property from the company to the city, the city would still allow county officials access to a radio tower used for communications on the relinquished county road. Precinct 2 would also still be allowed to dig sand from a specified area so long as the sand lasts, Maxwell assured Anglin.