Members present: Representative Sam Smith, Fred Wolf, David Osikowicz,
Jack Chamberlin, and
Also present were: Duane Feagley from the PA Anthracite Council, Bernie Hoffnar, Rod Fletcher and Evan Shuster, Bureau of Mining and Reclamation, and Ernie Giovannitti, Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation.
Representative Smith was the chairman for this committee meeting.
The subject of this meeting was a May 1996 draft report to the Governor titled Alternative Financing Mechanisms for the Perpetual Treatment of Post-Mining Discharges. These discharges are currently being treated by the coal mine operators. In almost all cases the Department is continuing to hold the reclamation bonds on these sites. The report evaluates several alternate mechanisms for funding the treatment of the discharges when the coal mine operators stop treatment. The mandate for the "ad-hoc" committee was to develop recommendations to present to the MRAB at the next board meeting. The Board will then decide what further action to take, based on the findings of the committee.
Specific aspects of the report which were discussed include:
The committee members agreed that the public would expect the problem to be dealt with; however, the public will ultimately bear the financial costs for treating post-mining discharges. Additionally, the committee agreed that because of the need for continuing treatment, bonding (which provides a one-time infusion of funds) is not an appropriate tool to address this problem on a long term basis.
The committee developed several recommendations for improving the report. They were:
The committee has asked the Department to identify how many of the bonds being held are for pre-existing discharges. They have also requested that a write-up on the meeting be sent out before the next MRAB meeting so that the other board member have time to consider the issues and recommendations.
Meeting Handout: Revisions to Chapter 86, Postmining Discharges, Licensing and Bonding