MINING AND RECLAMATION ADVISORY BOARD
Wednesday, June 7, 2000
Training Room, 2nd Floor, RCSOB
Members in attendance: Fred Wolf, Chairman; David Mankamyer; Sue Wilson (alternate); Lisa Mahall; Walter Heine; David Osikowicz; Sue Germanio (alternate); Jack Chamberlin; Richard Fox (alternate); George Ellis (alternate); Mike Young (alternate), David Strong; Bruce Tetkoskie (alternate), Wayne Crawford (alternate).
Others in attendance: Bob Biggi (OSM Harrisburg), John Blaschak (Fisher Mining), Dan Blaschak (PAC), Robert Hughes (EPCAMR), Mark Killar (WPCAMR), Billie Ramsey (ARIPPA), Steve Rhoads (Pennsylvania Environmental Reporter), Kurt Weist (PennFuture), Robert Dolence, Roderick Fletcher, Evan Shuster, Jeffrey Jarrett, Mick McCommons, Scott Roberts, Bo Reiley, Joe Pizarchik, Joe Sieber, Alice Ballent and Elaine Holland.
Meeting Called to Order
The meeting was called to order at 12:10 a.m. Chairman Wolf opened the meeting and asked that all Board members and alternates introduce themselves. He then asked others in the room to introduce themselves and sign the attendance sheet that was passed around.
Mr. Dolence noted that David Mankamyer won one of the prestigious Three Rivers Awards last week.
The first order of business was to accept the minutes of the April 27, 2000 Board meeting. George Ellis moved that the minutes be adopted. Jack Chamberlin and David Mankamyer seconded it. MOTION CARRIED BY UNANIMOUS VOTE.
Regulation, Legislation and Technical (Presenter David Osikowicz, Chairman, Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee):
Full Cost Bonding Discussion – Mr. Wolf turned the meeting over to Chairman Osikowicz. He would like the record to reflect some of the comments that were made at our Committee meeting this morning.
About seven months ago, the Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee was given the task of putting a group of people together to work out as many of the details as we could of the proposed full cost bonding guidelines. Through the last seven months, we met many times and there was a lot of tremendous effort put forth by a lot of people and I want to recognize, not individuals, but groups of people. First of all, our Committee was pretty evenly represented between industry groups, members of the Legislature and various representatives in the environmental community. Those folks, along with members of the Department, worked very hard, very diligently and very well together to come up with making a recommendation to this Board, especially the Department was very proactive in coming up with innovative ideas and potential solutions for problems that, if not all individual constituencies on that Committee saw as being problematic with the implementation of full cost bonding. I don’t think that enough recognition can be given to everybody involved. With that being said, the Committee did meet for three hours this morning and we formulated a motion and a recommendation for the full Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board to consider in terms of full cost bonding.
At this time, the typed and updated motion was passed out to everyone in the room. While it was being passed out, for the record, Mr. Osikowicz read the motion.
David Osikowicz moved for the Board to consider this motion. It was seconded. Discussion followed.
Chairman Wolf read a letter he received from Senator Rhoades’ office. Senator Rhoades’ supports the motion that was presented at this morning’s meeting. We [Senator Rhoades and Pat Krommes] apologize, but a crisis came up regarding legislation, and we are trying to get done before the summer recess. The only time available for all the parties to meet is just after the session today.
Mr. Dolence stated that the department did receive a similar letter during the Technical Committee meeting. Some of the wording is a little bit different because the Technical Group apparently made some changes during that meeting, so the letter does not mimic this language but is probably 95% the same.
There is a motion on the floor. Typographical and grammatical corrections were made as follows:
MOTION – "The MRAB conditionally supports the Department’s proposed Full Cost Bonding (FCB) guidelines for calculating mine reclamation bonds. Whereas a full cost bonding program provides reclamation will be accomplished through bonds, which are determined on a site basis. It is also recognized that remining is a vital component in reclaiming the AML scars from prelaw mining. This recommendation is contingent on fulfillment of all the provisions of the four white papers, including a clear commitment or indication that the following two components of the proposal will be approved and in place prior to the effective date of the new bonding guidelines.
Moreover this support is further conditioned on assurances from surety companies that they will continue to write reclamation bonds in Pennsylvania under the FCB program."
With the above changes to the motion, Chairman Osikowicz amended his motion. George Ellis seconded it. MOTION CARRIED BY UNANIMOUS VOTE WITH NO ABSTENTIONS.
Obligation: Mr. Wolf will make sure that the passed motion will be sent to all parties.
Policy Committee (Presenter George Ellis, sitting in for Mark Snyder as Chairman, Policy Committee)
Chairman Wolf noted that Walter Heine is no longer the Chairman. He gave his resignation as the Chairman some time ago. Mark Snyder is now the Chairman. George Ellis is sitting in for Mark Snyder today. There is nothing to report today.
Reclamation Committee (Presenter David Strong, Chairman, Reclamation Committee)
There are seven items that we have been discussing. We would like to set a full-blown subcommittee meeting to go into these in detail but he will highlight what we have been working on.
Of course, Bark Camp is of issue. It appears that somewhere in mid-July we should be receiving more dredge to continue with the Bark Camp. Data, of course, continues to look excellent. At that time, we will be, hopefully, scheduling a tour for those who might be interested. There are some people at this meeting that have already asked for that. Mr. Dolence stated that there seems to have been some confusion in the past as to who is doing tours and who is setting these up. Mr. Fletcher’s shop runs and manages Bark Camp. If anyone is interested in touring Bark Camp, have them get in touch with Mr. Fletcher.
Mr. Dolence asked Mr. Strong if they could give the Board a little more detail on some things that are happening. There are going to be several things happening around the Fourth of July. We are looking at doing some tours at the end of July or beginning of August. We are also in continued discussions with the Corps of Engineers to bring in some Delaware material. We are very interested in doing Pennsylvania material. We have sampled the Port Mifflin Dewatering Basin. Samples are at the lab. Data is trickling in and so far the leach test on that data is meeting the standards of the permit. But I do footnote it that the organics have not been tested yet.
The Subcommittee was hoping, since we haven’t had much talk with the Department, that we could have a quick and dirty Reed-Strattanville update. Mr. Fletcher, since that last time we have talked, we are about two or three weeks into working information into the design. We have discovered, as a result of the drilling, the trench we have proposed to excavate does not need to be as long as we originally thought, so we are going to come up with some savings on that. Essentially, right now we are simply working on various aspects the design. Mr. Strong asked that, before it gets into the Update, could the Subcommittee have a quick and dirty report, whether we have a meeting or not, so that we are a little bit ahead of what’s given out to the general public. Mr. Dolence couldn’t promise that they delay any release of information due to waiting for a Committee. Mr. Dolence said that we are putting information on the website weekly, and occasionally putting an article in the Update for those who don’t go onto the website.
Mr. Strong stated that the clearinghouse website is great. Some of the members have looked at it and he encourages the rest of the MRAB to look at it and give comments to the Committee for any improvements, changes or whatever. Mr. Strong would like to have some comment from Solid Waste. He did talk to Ron Hassinger and asked him to look at, particularly the beneficial use section, to see if there is other materials or things that we might want to include. Mr. Strong hasn’t heard back from Mr. Hassinger, but will contact him.
Education – The Committee had asked the Department if they could please conduct a seminar for the full Board regarding technology, maybe a 15 to 20 presentation at each MRAB meeting to bring MRAB members up-to-date on the newer technologies. Does the Coalition have any input on that issue? Mr. Mark Killar, WPCAMR, said that it is an opportunity for us to also do that.
Mr. Dolence offered that when the Board knows of someone doing something that you are interested in, let us know and we will make arrangements to invite the person.
Mr. Strong asked for remote sensing technology. Mr. Dolence said it would be arranged for the meeting in July.
Obligation: Mr. Dolence stated that a remote sensing discussion would be held at the July meeting.
The next issue Mr. Strong presented was the general permits that may be applicable to help us finance reclamation activities. Like Bark Camp, sooner or later, we are going to end up writing general permits on how to use dredge. We have a number of general permits out there already for fly ash. There have been proposals for solid wastes to do composting under a brand new general permit on mine reclamation sites, specifically for use on that site only. That would be a streamlined permit, unlike the biosolids composting permits that are very expensive and very complex for general distribution. Mr. Ellis asked if there could be a briefing on this issue in terms of its application on mine reclamation. Mr. Strong stated that last year we had Mr. Doug Saylor come in and give us an excellent presentation and its probably time to do it again, particularly in light of the legislative year and the controversy on biosolids right now and also from the perspective of two different Deputates, well three, the mining Deputate, of course, because this Deputate handles a major portion of the biosolids land applications and Mr. Saylor is excellent. Solid Wastes because, of course, they handle the composting aspect and, of course, Water because they handle the direct land application permitting of biosolids. So, I think we need to coordinate between Deputates; we need a seminar from each perspective and how we work together. Again, the Committee is throwing these things out for the full Board to consider. We will have another Committee meeting and try to flush this out and, again, advise the Department on how we think we should approach looking at these. But again, it’s an educational thing.
Mr. Robert Hughes, EPCAMR, stated that one of the Growing Greener applications up in Schuylkill County was doing biosolids application on mine lands. Once it gets started it would be interesting to hear about how it is going.
Growing Greener grants – is there a way that the MRAB can help evaluate or look into that. How much of the Growing Greener is going into AMD. How does that tie in with the 10% Set aside and 319? What projects are being done? Is that a report that maybe the Department could give us on the status of what funding and who is doing what with the Growing Greener, since this is a kind of a new pool of money for mine rec., to bring us up to speed on those projects. Mr. Strong stated that Growing Greener will be funding certain types of mine reclamation and Growing Greener money is not the same as the AML money and the 319 money. Mr. Dolence stated that under Growing Greener website there is a complete accounting of every project that has been awarded – it gives the watershed and is broken down by county, it gives the recipient or the sponsor of the project, plus the dollar amount for it. We can really do that right now from the annual report that we put together for abandoned mine reclamation. We are going to put another line on that report for Growing Greener, but that will be in the 2000 report. The 1999 report, that is just coming out now, will not have Growing Greener, for obvious reasons. Mr. Joe Sieber stated that he thought all those grants and the county and the recipients are on the Growing Greener website. Mr. Dolence stated that Mr. Strong was asking for something different – he is asking to see what in mining related. We actually have something, a one-page Fact Sheet, that gives all the funding sources, including 10% program, AML, OSM emergency. Mr. Strong proclaimed that no one has seen this Fact Sheet. Maybe that could be presented to us. Mr. Strong asked if we were getting the most for our money. Mr. Fletcher noted that we are putting more monies into the program, we are certainly not giving up any funding resources that we have. Growing Greener is just another source of funding that we are able to get. When the proposals come in, it’s evaluated for its benefit. Mr. Wolf said that the question often asked of him is if the money is spent properly, who monitors the funding, who follows this. How does he answer that? Mr. Dolence stated that the mining program developed a system under the Water Restoration Act funding that we received, last fiscal year which was $962,000, at that point under Mr. Fletcher’s leadership. The process of monitoring those, we upgraded it, Dave Hogeman took that, it was his intense involvement under Growing Greener Grants Center and developed that mining program inspection and monitoring and record-keeping procedures, modified it and we applied it statewide and there were training sessions out there for DEP staff on how to monitor, what paperwork you need to keep, what records will be kept in Harrisburg as Central Office permit files, what records will be kept in the field. So to answer your question, absolutely the very key component was to make sure that taxpayer dollars were being spent appropriately and what they were intended for. The answer is yes, we are doing that.
Mr. David Mankamyer stated that he served on a work group that made some recommendations to the Secretary on the technical issues of this AMD and Growing Greener and one of the concerns that keeps coming up is one that was expressed, which was is there adequate funds for long-term maintenance and is there a monitoring program in place. I think that this is something that someone is going to have come up with some recommendations on the source of funding and so forth, so that this does not happen – that we don’t build a couple dozens of these things or a couple hundred of them and then they start failing and there is no long-term system. And, we should be able to monitor them so we catch them before they do fail.
Obligation: Mr. Sieber is to check to see if there will be a maintenance fund set up for projects 10-15 years down the road, when the Growing Greener funds are no longer in existence.
Mr. Dolence passed out the 1998 Abandoned Mine Lands Reclamation Summary in which Mr. Strong was asking about earlier.
It was brought up that, in looking at some of the proposals that were submitted, it was very difficult to determine whether the costs that were outlined in the proposals were valid or not in that there were not upfront designs done, things like that that were engineering drawings that were done ahead of time and so how do you know that what costs they are proposing are real or not. How do you know that a $100,000 proposed project isn’t really a $70,000 project or a $50,000 project? What know of controls there are in those instances where have proposals being made on some large sums of money and no design drawings, up front, bids, inspect sheets and whatnot.
Most of the Board members have not seen any proposals. We are assuming that the Department is evaluating these and giving out the money based on the full-blown technical evaluation. Mr. Dolence, can you address that? What Mr. Dolence suggests is that, in July, we bring David Hogeman in, who has been intimately involved in this whole process and let Mr. Hogeman answer your questions. Mr. Dolence has not been intimately involved with it and would not want to mislead anyone with his speculations.
Obligation: Mr. Dolence suggests that, instead of some of the members meeting with Mr. Hogeman, he be invited to a full Board meeting.
Mr. Strong did not have any other items to discuss. They will set a date for the next Committee and will need several hours. Mr. Wolf noted that that meeting should be prior to our next Board meeting. Mr. Wolf will get together with Mr. Strong to set something up.
Other Old Business
Mr. Dolence handed out a draft description of a meeting that took place on the Best Management Practices (BMP) program under Reclaim PA, which the MRAB has endorsed and there was a meeting held on the evening of June 5 and the draft is self-explanatory. He asked the members to take a minute and read it.
Secretary Seif attended the meeting at this point.
Mr. Wolf asked if everyone read the stakeholders’ roundtable report. Mr. Dolence stated that the BMP program that we have been working with EPA on, we are anticipating the under project XL practice workshop, as part of the necessary public outreach activity in order to satisfy EPA’s public stakeholder outreach program as part of project XL. Mr. Chamberlin attended the meeting on June 6 and it was very informative. He thought it helped a lot of the consultants and the industry people to be able to understand how that program is going to work. Mr. Dolence stated that this was part of Reclaim PA, one of the primary points that the MRAB gave to us was further encouragement of remining, and that is exactly what this program was geared towards. Mr. Wolf stated that we would continue to encourage remining, as was discussed today and full cost bonding, and has been discussed for a long time.
Mr. Seif was asked if he wanted to address the group. Mr. Seif wanted to thank everyone for their service. He also wanted to thank the Board, as well, for their consideration that they gave to the full cost bonding issue.
Mr. Ellis also wanted to commend Mr. Dolence, Mr. Jarrett, Mr. Roberts and Mr. Fletcher for their creativity that they have shown on this issue of full cost bonding in terms of where we were and where we are now. They have been extremely cooperative.
Growing Greener – DEP had in the Harrisburg offices, grant makers from around the state making big endowments. DEP has been traveling around the state visiting them individually and we are going to assemble a group that will help us be the clearinghouse for good ideas with projects and get people introduced to each other. We are going to assemble in our Grant Center a group of advise givers, lawyers, permit experts, and the like, so that our grant applicants and grantees can go to those centers. Long term, in the five years of the program, we hope to establish a great deal of know how, a great network of people who know each other.
The next round starts in a few weeks, we will have public meetings with grant applicants who are interested. The information will be published in the Update for the meetings. If the people still want to be part of the process, the applications that we did not fund this time will be considered for grants later in the fall. As each round gets more sophisticated in terms of targeting the mining and joining people together in new projects.
Mr. Wolf thanked the Secretary for attending the meeting. Some assurances were given that the money is spent properly; the big concern with the private sector. Mr. Seif stated that at the minimum level we want to make sure that no one is stealing. What we really want to do is target any two people doing the same thing, in the same watershed. Lets introduce them to each other and get them the technical assistance, which we fund statewide, at cheaper rates. Let’s be sure we fund TMDLs, especially in the early stage, so that future implementation is targeted according to legal requirements.
Watershed Restoration and Partnership Act – Mr. Wolf asked if this was swallowed up by the Growing Greener. He doesn’t remember. The legislation was not active. It did not come out of Committee and died in the House. We did get funding for it the first year. Mr. Wolf mentioned that at one time, three members of the Board were to be on that group.
Green County Trip with Citizens Advisory Council – Sue Wilson, Executive Director of the Citizens Advisory Council, invited the members of the Board to attend the trip to Greene County to go down into a deep mine and also see the surface impacts of deep mining. This has come up several years ago before this Board. If anybody from the Board would like to join the CAC, the trip is scheduled for July 24 and 25. Let Ms. Wilson know if you are interested.
Next Meeting Date and Location – Mr. Wolf noted that the July meeting is usually held on a Thursday and Friday on a field trip, which would be July 6 and 7. The Bylaws state that we need to hold our meeting the first Thursday of July, unless we vote otherwise. Mr. Wolf had talked to Mr. Mankamyer several times about coming down to Somerset. Mr. Dolence stated that if you want to do the 6th and 7th, we will put together a draft trip. Mr. Dolence asked Mr. Roberts to take the lead on preparing a draft trip and if Mr. Mankamyer has any suggestion, give Mr. Roberts a call. We will see if we can get into the Cambria Office. It was suggested that the field trip be on July 6, starting at 10:00 a.m. in Somerset or Ebensburg, we will arrange for transportation, and if you have something specific you would like to see on the tour, please let Mr. Roberts know as soon as possible, and the Board meeting will be on July 7, starting at 8:00 a.m. We will also see if we can pull any Growing Greener sites, even if construction has not begun, and show what is going to be done and then maybe sometime in the future you can go back and see the final product.
Obligation: Mr. Roberts to set up a field trip for July 6 and schedule a meeting place for the Board meeting on July 7.
|Date:||July 6, 2000 – 10:00 a.m.
July 7, 2000 – 8:00 a.m.
|Location:||Field trip in northern Somerset County or Ebensburg area
Board meeting in same general area
Motion to adjourn the meeting made by David Mankamyer and seconded by Walter Heine.
The meeting adjourned at 1:25 p.m.