JULY 10, 1997


Best Western Inn and Conference Center

DuBois, PA



Members in Attendance:  Mark Snyder, Vice-Chairman; Jack Chamberlin; David Osikowicz; Duane Feagley; Sue Wilson; Mike Young; David Strong; Sue Germanio; Representative Sam Smith; Brian Redmond.


Others in Attendance:  Rod Fletcher, Evan Shuster, Dave Hogeman, Gary Byron & Mick McCommons, Bureau of Mining and Reclamation; Nina Huizinga, Office of Policy and Communications; Bernie Hoffnar, Office of Pollution Prevention & Compliance Assistance; and Joe Pizarchik, Office of Chief Counsel.


The meeting was called to order at 12:30 pm by Mark Snyder, Vice-Chairman.  Fred Wolf, Chairman of the MRAB, was unable to attend this meeting due to a family situation.


A motion was made, seconded, to accept the minutes of the April 24 meeting as presented.


There are no outstanding obligations at this time.




These three regulations were previously seen by the board.  They will be presented to the EQB for final rulemaking in August. 


Bonding, Civil Penalties and Areas Unsuitable for Mining:  There were some changes made in the definitions to reflect the percentage of ownership in the federal regulations.  There were changes also made in the assessment of penalties (penalties were lowered to match OSM).  A motion was made, seconded, to recommend to the EQB that the regulations be approved as presented.  Motion passed, unanimous.


Small Operators Assistance Program:  The Department incorporated some changes that IRRC had suggested as well as removed redundant language.  A motion was made, seconded, to recommend to the EQB that the regulations be approved as presented.  Motion passed, unanimous.


Postmining Discharge/ Licensing and Bonding:  The changes that were presented were the removal of provisions for sound treatment of discharges and the addition of definitions from another chapter.   A motion was made, seconded, to recommend to the EQB that the regulations be approved as presented.  Motion passed, unanimous.




Currently, the 1996 report to the Governor is being improved, utilizing the eight recommendations the

ad hoc committee made to the MRAB.  The Bureau of Mining and Reclamation (BMR) is also upgrading a database which was established in the 1980’s to track discharges from bituminous regions.  This would include deep and surface mines as well as refuse piles.  The latest figures show that over $100 million in bonds is being upheld due to AMD problems in the bituminous regions.  The problem is not as severe in the anthracite region because most discharges seep down to old underground mines and enter other tunnel discharges.  (No bonds are being held at this time on anthracite discharges).  In order to make the database as correct as possible, the BMR is reviewing all the anthracite data and all of the scarlift reports.  After all the information is gathered, calculations will be done and a projected cost for treating discharges annually will be made.  When all this work is completed a copy of the database will be given to board members.




On the previous day, September 9, the MRAB and members of the CAC, CNRAC, Department employees, USCOE, as well as several other individuals, attended a presentation/orientation about the Bark Camp Site.  This was put together by the Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation to update everyone who was not familiar with the site, and it also provided a brief history.  After the orientation a tour was given of the site. Many felt that it was very informative and helpful in viewing first hand the problem with abandoned mine lands.  The members also toured the Willamette Industries Johnsonburg Mill to see the reclamation work being done there.  This was organized by David Strong.


The suggestion was made that the board, or a sub-committee, should monitor what is going on at the site.  This could be done through regular reports to the board on the progress that is being made.  The MRAB feels that the project is very worthwhile, however it should be monitored closely to ensure nothing is done incorrectly.  A motion was made, seconded, to ask the DEP to provide a report to the board members on a regular basis about the progress at the site.  Motion passed, unanimously.





The Department is developing a program to address the issues of remining and reclamation.  A set of initiatives has been put together.  The board members requested to see the initiatives and make comments on them before they are released to the public.  A special meeting will be planned.



The next meeting is scheduled for October 23.  The place of the meeting is to be determined.



The meeting was adjourned at 2:10 pm.




1.      The board will send thank you letters to the Best Western staff and Fullington Bus Company for their assistance with the field tour on July 9.  Letter sent in July.


2.  A letter will be sent to the Environmental Quality Board advising them of the board’s approval of the regulations proposed for final rulemaking.  Letter sent on July 16, 1997.