May 20, 1998

Days Inn State College


Members present: David Osikowicz, Chairman; David Strong, Chairman; Susan Germanio; George Ellis; Mike Young; Jeffrey Clukey; Pat Krommes; Duane Feagley; Jack Chamberlin; Fred W. Wolf; Rep. Smith

Others in present: Alan Tamm, Alliance Environmental Services; Mark Killar, WPCAMR; Robert Hughes, EPCAMR; John Blaschak, Fisher Mining Co.; Joe Seiber, Office of Policy; Bernie Hoffnar, Office of Pollution Prevention & Compliance Assistance; Gary Byron, Dave Hogeman, Mike Klimkos & Evan Shuster, Bureau of Mining and Reclamation; Michael Smith, Hawk Run District Office; Jeff Jarrett, Don Barnes, & Roger Hornberger, Bureau of District Mining Operations; Bud Friedrich, Kim Snyder, Brian Bradley, & Eric Cavazza, Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation; Robert Dolence, Office of Mineral Resources Management; Marc Roda & Mike Sokolow, Office of Chief Counsel.

The meeting was called to order at 10:05.

The board members requested this meeting at the quarterly meeting on April 16. The committee members were asked to review and further discuss three of the reclamation initiatives that the Department is developing. Those initiatives are: The Mineral Resources Management GIS initiative that is being developed in conjunction with the PENN 1999 project, Environmental Good Samaritan draft legislation, and Design-Based Standards for Pre-existing Discharges Encountered During Remining.


DEP staff from the Bureaus of Mining and Reclamation and Abandoned Mine Reclamation gave a brief presentation on the development of the MRM GIS software. . Since it will be tied in with the PENN 1999 project, anyone using the software can find out a wealth of information on any given site in the state, including landfills, oil and gas well, solid waste sites, etc. There are future plans to include water sampling points and monitoring data into the system. Once the system is running on the Internet, the information that is available will constantly be updated and maintained so that the general user will be provided with the correct facts. The Rural Abandoned Mine Program information has also been included in this database. The Bureaus are almost ready to put out a test version to the public so that comments can be received and incorporated into the design of the system. The response to this program has been overwhelming and very positive.


This is formally known as HB2613, and was introduced on May 11 by Representative Smith. It is stand alone legislation that provides relief from liability to encourage reclamation and water quality improvement. The primary concern is if DEP will include previously installed treatment ponds that will eventually need maintenance. DEP’s response is no, they will not "grandfather" any previous sites. The Act 2 regulations were not retroactive either. Several issues regarding this legislation were raised for discussion. They were:

    1. Should DEP provide public notice of proposed projects?
    2. Will DEP replace adversely affected water supplies?
    3. Will there be a more formal project review by DEP?
    4. Protection of access to orphaned oil/gas wells?

DEP staff will do a project review/evaluation on each project, but it will not be considered a permitted activity. The guidelines will be established to help citizens/organizations with their projects and to protect those involved. DEP does not want this to become a permitted activity. In this way, more projects will be done because the liability has been removed. Historically, a public notice has not been necessary. If any permits are required, they must be applied for, but liability will be removed.

The comments received from board members included:



The Department has issued 260 Subchapter F & G permits since 1985 with a 98.5% success rate(the operator didn’t have to treat any discharges). But there were too many disincentives & liability issues to make remining attractive to operators. This initiative is being developed to make the process more streamlined. The Design Based Approach is a watershed-based approach. The four principles of this program are: Strong Best Management Practices(BMPs), Increased inspection frequency; Emphasis on stream monitoring points (TMDLs); Contingencies if something goes wrong with the permit. In this way, the risks are small compared with the benefits. Initially, any permits that are issued will be limited to watersheds that are already heavily impacted.

The comments received from board members included:

This program is not in the final stages yet. More test/pilot projects will be done. Staff is working with IMCC, OSM & EPA to develop this program in accordance with all regulations.


The committees will provide a briefing to the other board members at the quarterly meeting in July.