Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee Meeting

Thursday, October 26, 2000
Rachel Carson State Office Building
10:00 a.m.


Members/alternates in attendance: Jack Chamberlin (Member); Wayne Crawford (Alternate); John Ford (Member); Richard Fox (alternate), Walter Heine (Member); Patricia Krommes (Alternate); Lisa Mahall (Member); David Mankamyer (Member); Dave Strong (Member); Bruce Tetkoskie (Alternate); Sue Wilson (Alternate); Burt Waite (Member); Fred Wolf (Member); and Mike Young (Alternate).

Others in attendance: Robert Dolence (DEP), Jeffrey Jarrett (DEP), Bob Biggi (OSM-Harrisburg), George Rieger (OSM-Pittsburgh), Tim Danehy (Stream Restoration Inc.), Margaret H. Dunn (Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition), Joe Sieber (DEP Policy Office), J. Scott Roberts (DEP-BMR), Sam Faith (DEP-DMO), Billie Ramsey (ARIPPA), Roderick Fletcher, (DEP/BAMR), Paul Linnan (DEP-BAMR), Bill Dadamo (DEP-DMO), Bernie Hoffnar (DEP), Curt Pieper (DEP-MRM), Mark Killar (WPCAMR), Kurt Weist (PennFuture), Dan Snowden (CAC), Judy Rivera (DEP-OCC), Bo Reiley (DEP), Joe Pizarchik (DEP), P. J. Shah (DEP-BAMR), Steve Rhoads (Pennsylvania Environmental Reporter), Elaine Holland (DEP) and Chris Shroyer (DEP).

Meeting Called to Order

MRAB Board Chairman Fred Wolf called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. Chairman Wolf asked that all Board members, alternates, and guests introduce themselves and sign the attendance sheet.

After introductions, Dave Strong made a motion to accept the minutes from the June 7, 2000 meeting. John Ford seconded the motion.

Chairman Wolf gave an update on letters and correspondence sent out since the last meeting. Burt Waite was welcomed as a new member to the Board; and a thank you letter was sent to Patrick Sicilio for serving on the Board. A thank you letter was also mailed to Todd Lawton, Scrub Grass Generating Plant, for his knowledge and input on coal refuse banks, and as well as an invitation to participate on the Board.

The agenda was slightly changed due to the receipt of a letter from the Regional Director of OSM regarding bonding program changes. The MRAB expressed great dismay and frustration to OSM over OSMís recent mandate to DEP. OSM is prohibiting DEP from requiring industry to post additional bonds or financial guarantees needed to further protect Pennsylvaniaís citizens and environment from potential adverse impacts from mining, should an operator default from its responsibilities. OSMís surprise decision came a year after negotiations and development by the MRAB including industry, CAC, legislative representation, and DEP. After considerable discussion, Mike Young made the motion that Chairman Wolf write a letter to OSM expressing MRAB and DEPís disappointment in the breakdown of this process. Jack Chamberlin seconded the motion.
Obligation: Chairman Wolf to write a letter to OSM.

Paul Linnan, BAMR, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the status of Bark Camp. The site is in good shape. Some of the Board members mentioned that they went to visit the site and were impressed how well it is managed and monitored. The water quality result, surface water and ground, continues to show no metal contamination from the fly ash or dredged material. The site is actually better than it needs to be for regular reclamation; it is being over-engineered.

The Policy Committee (Mike Young) has not met for some time. It was suggested that the members meet before the next scheduled MRAB meeting and get some input from members on the remining policy.
Obligation: A suggestion that the Policy Committee meet before the next MRAB meeting.

The Reclamation Committee has been receiving questions regarding coal refuse disposal and whether or not they are reclamation issues. Scott Roberts gave an update on long haul mining. The Reclamation Committee submitted a proposal for a study on the impacts of subsidence on streams and wetlands

The Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee did not meet, but based on earlier discussions, this committee will be busy again.

Mike Young handed out rough draft copies of the July 1999 Ė June 2000 Annual Report. Obligation: Review with additions, deletions, and/or corrections to Ted Kopas.

Scott Roberts gave a report on full cost bonding. This was abbreviated due to the uncertainty that the recent OSM letter created. Changes were made to comply with the Departmentís internal policies, but are on hold until the OSM matter is resolved.

David Hess, Executive Deputy Secretary, gave a brief talk on Act 67 and 68. Act 67 and 68 are changes that were made to the Municipalities Planning Code, the basic law that covers what municipalities and counties can do in terms of controlling land uses through plans and zoning ordinances. DEP adopted an interim policy that outlines the basic steps DEP will take to consider local land-use plans and ordinances when reviewing permit applications for facilities (buildings and structures) and infrastructure (transportation, water, stormwater, wastewater, energy and communication services). The objective of the interim policy is to avoid or minimize conflicts with local land-use ordinances and plans when DEP make certain permit decisions.

Scott Roberts gave a report on the Surface Mining and Conservation Reclamation Act Remining Incentives from 1999-2000. This final version is being presented to the Board Members for their approval for submittal to the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee and to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee. The report is a detailed look at the various remining incentives that were envisioned due to SMCRA and the changes that were made in the mid-1990. Dave Strong made a motion to approve that this report move forward. Jack Chamberlin seconded this motion. Motion was passed unanimously.

During lunch, Scott Roberts congratulated Dave Hogeman on a $1,250 cash bonus for his work in the Growing Greener program. Jeff Jarrett followed with a presentation on the Quantitative Mechanics of Financial Model. Mr. Jarrett gave a detailed talk on trust funds/reclamation bonds. The Department came up with a new way to structure trust funds to satisfy two opposing goals: how to get more than 50 years worth of treatment out of a trust fund and do it for less money. With newer treatment technology for treating discharges, the less money you need in a trust fund to finance that treatment over time. Also, the Department looked at ways to structure these trust funds so that operators could take advantage of the best possible tax situations.

P.J. Shah, M.S., P.E., Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Cambria Office, gave a technical presentation on Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD): Origins and Chemistry. Topics included definition, formation, and drainage types. He also touched on elements found therein such as calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. AMD can be recognized by some of the following indicators: little or no evidence of aquatic life; toxic chemical readings in the stream; and stream bottom coating/and or stream discoloration.

Bill Dadamo, Greensburg District Mining Operations, gave the next presentation on Types of Passive Treatment Systems. Passive treatment is the buffering (metal removal/acidity neutralization) of AMD by alkaline addition, aeration and or detention without mechanical or chemical means. The most common types are aerobic wetlands, compost wetlands, anoxic limestone drains (ALD), vertical flow systems (VFS), and limestone/compost bacterial reactors (knight piesold, pyrolusite). Bill elaborated on each type and the methods they use to aerate, increase alkalinity and filter.

Margaret Dunn, Stream Restoration, Incorporated (SRI) presented the next presentation, "Applied Examples of Passive Treatment,". SRI is a non-profit group that was started to administer grants, donations to projects that were involved in mine drainage treatment. These groups of people restore the land or reclaim the land.

New Business

Billie Ramsey gave an update on fly ash. They issued a regulatory determination in May. They decided that, at least for now, they would not represent ash as a hazardous waste.

2001 Meeting Dates

The dates are January 4, April 26, July 12, and October 25.

Next Meeting

The next Committee meeting will be held at 10:00 a.m. on January 4, 2001 in the Rachel Carson State Office Building in Harrisburg.


There was a motion by David Mankaymer, seconded by Mike Young to adjourn the meeting. The meeting was adjourned at 3:15 p.m.