September 9-10, 1997

Pottsville District Mining Office

Special MRAB Meeting to discuss

Possible Remining and Abandoned Mine Reclamation Initiatives


September 9:


Members In Attendance:  Fred Wolf, Chairman; Representative Sam Smith; George Ellis; Sue Germanio; John Ford; Howard Laur; David Strong; Jeffrey Clukey; Pat Krommes; Jack Chamberlin; Steve Shrawder; Duane Feagley; Mark Snyder.


Others in Attendance:  Rod Fletcher & Dave Hogeman, Bureau of Mining & Reclamation; Don Barnes, Bureau of District Mining Operations; Don and Bill Rosini, Shamokin Filler; John Beadle, I & I Engineering, Inc.; Craig Morgan, Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation; Michael Ferko, Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Wilkes-Barre; Keith Laslow & Roger Hornberger, Pottsville District Mining Office; Jonathan Brightbill, Office of Policy & Communications; Richard Hergenroeder, Gannett Fleming, Inc.; Ed Wytovich, Schuylkill County Conservation District.


The meeting was called to order at 1:00 by Fred Wolf, Chairman.


Dave Hogeman and Donald Barnes addressed the board.  They stated that the Department is in the process of developing some possible initiatives for remining and abandoned mine reclamation.  These initiatives are still in the developmental stage and were being presented to the board for discussion and input.  The Department is also looking for MRAB involvement in further developing these initiatives.


A panel discussion was held to discuss ideas and thoughts about remining and reclamation in Pennsylvania.  The panel members were:


·        John Rich, Reading Anthracite Company

·        Mark Killar, Western PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation

·        John Blaschak, Fisher Mining Company

·        Don Barnes, Bureau of District Mining Operations


Attached to these minutes is a copy of the questions that the panel members were asked.  The following are comments and questions from the panel members as well as the others in attendance:


n      Why would there be an extension on the collection of AML funds past the year 2004?


n      Do a small demonstration with fly ash before doing a large project to show the public the success of using co-products.


n      Encourage the use of co-products


n      Do not like the idea of using fees for co-products


n      DEP should take a proactive role vs. a reactive role


n      Permit process for biosolids is too cumbersome and very difficult.


n      Kiln dust is only a short term solution


n      Fly Ash? Is very good for vegetation and not allowing water to permeate the mine site.


n      May lose sight of the importance of protecting watersheds if DEP allows a credit program.  Should be site specific (one watershed)


n      Overall load reduction in a particular watershed.


n      Pollution credits are a good concept; DEP should watch so that it’s not taken advantage of.


n      Credits should only be offered on Post-Mining Discharges and not encountered water.

September 10:


Members in attendance:  Fred Wolf, Chairman; Jack Chamberlin; Mike Young; John Ford; Howard Laur; Sue Germanio; Sue Wilson; Jeff Clukey; Mark Snyder.


Others in attendance:  John Rich, Reading Anthracite Co.; Michael Ferko, Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Wilkes-Barre; Joe Pizarchik, Office of Chief Counsel; Gary Byron & Dave Hogeman, Bureau of Mining & Reclamation; Jonathan Brightbill, Office of Policy & Communications; Don Barnes; Bureau of District Mining Operations; Craig Morgan, Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation; Mark Killar, Western PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation.


The meeting was called to order at 9:05 by Fred Wolf, Chairman


Dave Hogeman, Don Barnes and Gary Byron continued the discussion from the previous day.  They prepared a PowerPoint Presentation for the board members and discussed each individual initiative.  There was a comment and response period after each initiative was introduced.  The following are some comments from that discussion:


Legislative Initiatives:


n      What would OSM response be to a .35 cent/ton fee waiver?  Tax credits have the least impact on the Commonwealth


n      Will it involve local governments?


n      Where do civil penalties go at this time? 


n      Can this be tacked on to the Good Samaritan legislation?


n      Increase in fees & deregulation of utilities are going to hurt PA coal companies.  Funding is flawed.  Another fee would be counterproductive.


n      Anthracite underground would be hit hard by a per ton fee.


n      Property tax in coal areas is not going to be received well; bad idea.


n      Tax non-coal producers, i.e. gas industry.


Financial Initiatives:


n      The problem is congress won’t release the money to the states.  Get Congress to appropriate the money based on need of the state.


n      Is it possible to bring back the RAMP program?


Regulation/Policy Initiatives:


n      What are the Bonding Requirements going to be?  Performance Standards?


n      Who is going to monitor the no-cost contracts?


n      How is the liability determined?  What if the water is degraded?  Perpetual liability for treatment?


n      Will BMP’s & design-based standards replace the need for constant monitoring?


n      What does “self-monitoring” mean?


Partnership Initiatives:


n      Is there any effort to record historic data?  Scarlift reports?


n      How would you attract partners in that program to get the job done?


n      Landowners must be in agreement with this idea before the database of suitable remining land is put together.


n      How will the Department determine which land is economical for remining?


n      There should be local interest in the watershed to make this project happen.


Public Education Initiatives:


n      no comments

Monitoring & Compliance Fee:


n      No comments


Cost sharing for AML & AMD projects:


n      No comments


Maximize reclamation on Commonwealth lands:


n      No comments


“Adopt an Abandoned Mine Site” Program:


n      No comments



The board members decided that they are going to take an active role in developing these initiatives, either through ad hoc committees or by reviewing any changes that are made before they are released.  There will be more discussion on this program at the next meeting.


The next MRAB meeting will be held on October 23-24, 1997, in Greensburg, PA.


The meeting was adjourned at 12:00.