Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee Meeting

Thursday, April 26, 2001
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); Susan Germanio (Alternate); Walter Heine (Member); Patricia Krommes (Alternate); Lisa Mahall (Member); Honorable Samuel Smith (Member); Margaret Urban (Alternate); Burt Waite (Member); Fred Wolf (Member); and Mike Young (Alternate).

Others in attendance: Jeff Jarrett (DEP-MRM), James Brahosky (DEP-DMO), Joe Sieber (DEP Policy Office), Billie Ramsey (ARIPPA), Roderick Fletcher (DEP-BAMR), Bo Reiley (DEP-OCC), Evan Shuster (DEP-BMR), Brian Bradley (DEP-BAMR), Todd Lawton (Scrub Grass Power), Paul Linnan (DEP-BAMR), Bernie Hoffnar (DEP-OPPCA), and Chris Shroyer (DEP-MRM).

Meeting Called to Order

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

After introductions, Chairman Wolf asked for a motion to adopt the minutes from the February 21, 2001 interim MRAB Advisory and the Reclamation Committee Meetings. Jack Chamberlin made the motion and Richard Fox seconded the motion to adopt the minutes. The minutes were unanimously approved.

After the minutes were approved, Chairman Wolf read the correspondence on reappointments of members and alternates to the MRAB Board.

There were no committee reports at this time.

Evan Shuster, BMR, presented the draft regulation changes relating to criteria for approval/denial of coal mine permits and to requirements for coal mine roads that remain as part of the post mining land use. This rulemaking, titled "Coal Mine Permits/Road Requirements," is scheduled for review at the July 17, 2001 EQB meeting. Mike Young made a motion to approve the changes to this regulatory package as a proposed rulemaking. Walter Heine seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved.

Also, Evan Shuster read the April 18 e-mail correspondence from Bob Biggi, OSM, relating to implications, if any, of including Technical Guidance Documents (TGD) being referenced in regulations with regard to the State Program approved under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. These issues and/or concerns were mentioned at the February 21 meeting.

The first question was,"How does OSM review Pennsylvania making reference to one or more of technical guidance documents in a regulation?" OSMís response was "a reference to a technical document does not require OSM review or approval of the guidance." The second question was, "Does the guidance become part of Pennsylvaniaís approved program?" The response was "OSM does not require states to submit policies, procedures or other guidance to support the approval of proposed statutory or regulatory changes to the approved program. TGDs contain a disclaimer that they do not constitute regulations. OSM would not be specifically required to review any referenced TGD to make the finding required by 30 CFR 732.15(b) or (c) regarding approval of proposed program amendments. The last question was, "Does the reference make changes to TGD subject to OSM review and approval?" OSM responded with, "OSM approval of policies, procedures, or other guidance is not required prior to implementation or when subsequently modified. This applies to TGDs regardless of whether they are referenced in approved regulations."

Bernie Hoffnar, Office of Pollution Prevention, handed out brochures and a schedule for water resource forums that are being conducted in the state. The forums will provide education on water resource challenges and opportunities, both locally and statewide. The information gathered at these forums will provide important strategic direction on the efforts needed in Pennsylvania to meet our future water challenges.

Todd Lawton, Scrubgrass Generating Plant, gave a very informative and detailed presentation on Mine Reclamation and Flyash. Mr. Lawton mentioned that since 1993 they completed approximately 700 acres of reclamation that did not come out of state funds and is worth approximately $14 million to the taxpayers in the Commonwealth.

Paul Linnan, BAMR, handed out a suggested format for a report on Bark Camp. This included an outline and example of graphs that could be produced from the existing data. He asked the group to give him input as to whether the suggested format was adequate or in need of something additional or different. He also reported on the status of the search for a dredge reclamation demonstration site in the anthracite region. Mr. Linnan will work on this report. The outline on Bark Camp consists of eight topics. They are as follows:

As for the demonstration of mine reclamation using dredged sediments in the anthracite region, Mr. Linnan had asked the Wilkes-Barre BAMR and Pottsville District Mining staff to suggest specific abandoned mine demonstration sites. He asked them to look for sites with the following characteristics: remote from population; would have no impact on water supplies; would have access to rail; access by highway; sites that are not the obligation of somebody else to reclaim; sites that might have a history of accidents; sites where reclamation is needed; and where the use of dredge sediments can have a positive impact. Site selection was centered around Schuylkill County, because it is the closest area (transportation wise) to where the material that we intend to demonstrate would come from. The source of sediment material is Fort Mifflin, an Army Corps of Engineersí installation located near Philadelphia, at the juncture of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers. Approximately a dozen demonstration sites were suggested and discussed. The site will be chosen based upon input from organized environmental groups and the local government and county officials.

Since Meredith Hill, Policy, was unable to attend the meeting, Joe Sieber handed out a Fact Sheet and a Guidance Document on "Land-Use Plans and Zoning Ordinances in Issuing DEP Permits." Ms. Hillís presentation will be rescheduled at a later date.

The last item discussed was the Environmental Justice Work Group. Mr. Wolf feels strongly that if subjects relate to mining, the MRAB members should be notified to attend these meetings and volunteer input. The Environmental Justice Work Group (EJWG) defines environmental justice as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to the identification of environmental issues, and the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental policies, regulations, and laws. Fair treatment means that no group of people including racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic groups, will bear a disproportionate share of the negative environmental impacts resulting from industrial, municipal, and commercial activities or from the execution of Federal, State and local programs and policies. The attainment of environmental justice requires the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protectionís proactive and on-going review of environmental and administrative programs and policies, identification of inequities, and its working to assure equal consideration and protection. The focus of this report is the empowerment of minority, low-income and mining communities that suffer disparate, i.e. disproportionate, adverse environmental impacts as the critical first step in ensuring environmental justice for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Unfortunately at the same day the MRAB was meeting, the EWJG was also having a two-day meeting. Mike Young made a motion that any recommendations on the final report should also be submitted to the MRAB for review and approval before DEP accepts it. Burt Waite seconded this motion. The motion was unanimously approved.

Other issues/items to be added to the next meeting are as follows: invite Dr. Rose, Penn State University, to follow-up on water and other discussions in reference to helping DEP through some of the ash problems; full cost bonding; and Environmental Futures, which is a planning mechanism creating networks to evaluate the environmental health of watersheds.

The last important issue was the election of a new MRAB chairperson. Walter Heine nominated Fred Wolf for a second term; John Ford seconded the motion. The motion was unanimously approved. Mr. Wolf accepted the nomination.

Next Meeting

The next MRAB meeting (a field trip in the anthracite region) is tentatively scheduled for July 12-13.


The meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m.