By Bria Woods
May 6, 2019 - A Texas coal company recognized by Railroad Commissioners for transforming mined acreage into wildlife habitat has now received a national award.
The Interstate Mining Compact Commission selected the Sabine Mining Co. for its Annual National Mine Reclamation Award in the Coal Category.
Sabine Mining Co. received the IMCC award for restoring more than 3,400 contiguous acres of Harrison County mined land into native grass habitat for bobwhite quail, grassland songbirds, Monarch butterflies, pollinating insects and grazing livestock.
In February, the RRC presented the Sabine Mining Co. with its 2019 Reclamation Award and nominated the operator for this national award.
"Sabine's efforts to improve wildlife habitat and livestock forage by using native grasses demonstrates the company's dedication to responsible mining and reclamation," IMCC Executive Director Thomas L. Clarke said.
Sabine Mining Company stated in its award application to the RRC, "The Sabine Mining Co. believed that reclamation can and should be synonymous with restoration-restoration of habitat, restoration of ecosystems and is doing just that by 'Going Native' through the use of native grasses."
The restored acreage south of Hallsville is part of the South Hallsville No. 1 Mine, a lignite surface mine which has been in continuous operation since 1984.
Since its beginning, reclamation has been ongoing at the RRC-permitted mine that encompasses 44,401 acres.
The operator replanted native grasses to provide habitat for a diversity of species, increased wildlife populations and higher nutrition for grazing livestock.
The Sabine Mining Co., whose parent company is North American Coal Corp., operates the South Hallsville No. 1 Mine and the adjacent Rusk Mine.
These two mines have 284 full-time employees and more than 40 contractors, who assist with maintenance, reclamation and other projects. The mines produce approximately 4 million tons of lignite annually, which generates electricity in Texas at the H.W. Pirkey Power Plant.
This plant is owned and operated by the Southwestern Electric Power Co. - a division of American Electric Power.