March 17, 2000 MRAB Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee Executive Summary

The MRAB Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee met on Friday, March 17, at the Best Western University Inn, Indiana. Approximately 25 people attended, including nine MRAB board members and/or alternates, seven DEP employees, and representatives of the Pennsylvania Anthracite Council, OSM, Inter-Power/AHLLON, the mining industry, two citizens groups -Tristate Citizens Mining Network and CAWLM, and a citizen with a mine subsidence complaint.

This was the second time the Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee has met since the quarterly MRAB meeting on January 6. The committee is committed to meeting as many times as possible to discuss conventional or full cost bonding so that they can make a recommendation to the full board on April 27. Aspects of conventional bonding as well as specific components of the Full Cost Bonding Initiative were again discussed. The Department's responses to questions posed at the February 16 Legislative Hearing were the primary handouts for the meeting. A synopsis of the Department's February 24 meeting with the surety companies in Pittsburgh was also provided.

A number of unanswered questions remain. In particular, the committee is still waiting for a report from OSM which will review OSM's work in the bonding area, including bonding-related activities in other states. The date for releasing information to the public has yet to be determined. The draft study is tentatively scheduled for OSM internal review in April.

The committee will meet again on Thursday, April 13, to wrap up its discussions of the full cost bonding proposal. The meeting will take place at the Pottsville District Mining Office.

Key Obligations:

  1. The Department will provide site characteristics information for the Comparison of ABS and Traditional Bonding Report submitted to the committee at the March 17 meeting.
  2. The Department will prepare a report regarding MRAB statutory limitations.
  3. The Department will mark up existing legislation to address points raised during the meeting (bond credits versus financial guaranties).

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