Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee Meeting

Thursday, July 12, 2001
Rachel Carson State Office Building
10:00 a.m.

Members/alternates in attendance: Jack Chamberlin (Member); Wayne Crawford (Alternate); George Ellis (Alternate); John Ford (Member); Richard Fox (Alternate); Susan Germanio (Alternate); Lisa Mahall (Member); Dave Mankamyer (Member); Mark Snyder (Member); David Strong (Member); Bruce Tetkoskie (Alternate); Burt Waite (Member); Sue Wilson (Member); Fred Wolf (Member); and Mike Young (Alternate).

Others in attendance: Jeff Jarrett (DEP-MRM), Bob Biggi (OSM), Duane Feagley (PAC), Scott Roberts (DEP-BMR), Joe Sieber (DEP Policy Office), Lou Guerra (DEP Policy Office), Roderick Fletcher (DEP-BAMR), Bo Reiley (DEP-OCC), Evan Shuster (DEP-BMR), Dave McCandless (CAC), Dr. Art Rose (Penn State University), Dennis Noll (EarthTech Inc.), Marjorie Hughes (DEP-Office of Air Recycling and Radiation Protection), Todd Lawton (Scrub Grass Power), Bernie Hoffnar (DEP-OPPCA), Ted Kopas (DEP), 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 April 26, 2001 MRAB Advisory Committee Meeting. Dave Strong made the motion and Jack Chamberlin seconded the motion to adopt the minutes. The minutes were unanimously approved.

After approval of the minutes, Chairman Wolf read a letter dated May 23 to Bob Biggi (OSM) regarding OSM’s position on technical guidance documents and thanked Mr. Biggi for his timely response. Mr. Wolf also read a letter he sent to Todd Lawton thanking him for his April 26 presentation.

Mark Snyder had nothing to report on the Policy Committee. Due to Dave Osikowicz’s absence, there was no report on the Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee. Annual Report Committee – Mike Young is going to start gathering information for the July 2000-July 2001 Annual Report. Reclamation Committee – Dave Strong mentioned that there has not been a committee meeting but things have been accomplished due to this committee’s intervention with mine drainage issues and better revegetation. A task force is being organized to look at organic recycling issues and technical assistance (legal services, land acquisition and liability issues). Growing Greener has funded several groups across the state to add technical assistance. Bark Camp’s data was mentioned again. More demonstration sites should carefully be selected and scientific information collected to get this information out to the public.

Sue Wilson, CAC, gave an update on the supplemental report to Act 54: "The Effects of Subsidence Resulting from Underground Bituminous Coal Mining on Surface Structures and Features and Water Resources." This report, when compared to the draft version, is improved in tone, clarity and neutrality of presented data and conclusions. It covers the topics of confidentiality agreements and claim resolutions (to date) more comprehensively. The pending studies identified in the report will help address some of the many questions that remain. There are remaining issues and comments; CAC has started to meet with the Department and legislative representatives to resolve some of these issues. More information is needed.

Scott Roberts, Bureau of Mining and Reclamation, presented the next item on the agenda, "Full Cost Bonding." In June 2000, the MRAB voted to endorse the concept of full cost bonding and the draft document in place at that time. The past year was spent working to get the program to a point where it is ready to fulfill the conditions made by the MRAB. A major concern was the impact of the conversion of bonding systems on existing operations. Mr. Roberts then handed out a marked-up version of the technical guidance on Convention Bonding for Land Reclamation – Coal, which was published in May 2001, with a 30-day comment period that expired on June 12, 2001. This copy represents the changes in response to comments. The purpose of this technical guidance describes the regulatory and statutory requirements for determining bond amounts. It also establishes bond rates and the process for determining the bond for land reclamation. Modifications are as follows:

Since this draft technical guidance document was "hot off the press," Mike Young made the motion to recess briefly to give MRAB members the opportunity to review this document in more detail and then reconvene and take whatever action members feel is appropriate. Mark Snyder seconded this motion. The motion was unanimously approved.

The meeting continued with a detailed and informative Coal Ash Presentation by Dr. Arthur Rose from Penn State University and Dennis A. Noll, President of EarthTech. The research/study was conducted at the request of ARIPPA, an association of power plants burning waste coal. The study was titled "Chemical Mobility of Selected Trace Elements in Ash from Plants Burning Coal Refuse by Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustion." The purpose of this report is to present and evaluate data on ash from two typical circulating fluidized bed combustion plants burning coal refuse. These two types of refuse differ significantly in content of sulfur and other elements. The emphasis is on the form and behavior of selected trace elements (As, Cd, Cr, Hg, Ni, Pb and Se). To investigate ash, samples from two plants were analyzed for total chemical composition and by several types of selective chemical leachates.

A working lunch was provided. The MRAB members then made a decision on full cost bonding. George Ellis made the motion for the MRAB to "support[s] the technical guidance on conventional bonding for land reclamation with the understanding that the Department update the Board on the status of program implementation and any problems being encountered during implementation and the need for any changes to the guidance that may be necessary to meet the interest of the program." Dave Mankamyer seconded this motion. The motion was unanimously approved.

The next item on the agenda was the Environmental Justice Work Group (EJWG) update presented by Marjorie Hughes, Office of Air, Recycling and Radiation Protection. Ms. Hughes handed out the EJWG "final report" and the June 29 DEP Update. The Update had an article asking for volunteers to be part of the new Environmental Justice Advisory Board. The Environmental Justice Advisory Board will review plans to implement recommendations made by the Environmental Justice Work Group and offer its advice on priorities for implementation. The EJWG was formed in spring of 1999 by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in response to an increasing awareness, both nationwide and within the Commonwealth, of environmental justice concerns. The 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. The work group recommends that DEP focus more on ensuring environmental justice for low-income and minority communities in Pennsylvania. The work groups consisted of environmentalists, representations from academia, citizens groups, OSHA, local government representatives and local internal DEP group members. Their recommendations are as follows:

Lou Guerra, Executive Policy Specialist, Office of Policy and Communications, presented an update on Acts 67/68 and Land Use Planning. The purpose of this guidance is to provide direction to DEP staff for the implementation of Acts 67 and 68 of 2000 in the administration of current DEP programs to avoid or minimize conflict with local land use decisions. This guidance addresses how DEP will consider comprehensive planning and zoning ordinances in DEP’s decision-making process concerning the permitting of facilities and infrastructure; and when DEP will rely upon comprehensive planning and zoning ordinances in DEP’s decision-making process concerning the permitting of facilities and infrastructure.

DEP will apply this policy where it has regulatory and decision-making discretion pursuant to legal authority and through the administration of DEP programs and regulations. This policy applies to DEP staff and applicants for certain DEP authorization. It applies to proposed projects for facilities or infrastructures that involve changes to land use or new land development.

Pending applications for affected authorizations that were received prior to August 21, 2000, are in varying states of review but are still subject to the obligations created by Acts 67 and 68. Generally, DEP required that these applicants complete a Land Use Questionnaire and provide municipal and county notice for those pending applications where DEP was aware that the proposed project raised potential conflicts or concerns involving comprehensive plans and local zoning ordinances. On new authorizations received on or after August 21, 2000, applicants will be asked to provide certain land-use related information to meet the obligations under Acts 67 and 68. This will be accomplished through the General Information Form (GIF). The GIF includes the following two questions that determine whether the applicant is required to complete the land use section:

In addition, another important obligation to consider is "municipal notice." DEP is relying on the municipality or county to interpret their own planning and zoning and its compatibility with the project. One advantage to this approach is that it gets the applicant and the municipality and county working together.

There must be a county plan, a local comprehensive plan, and municipal or county zoning ordinances before DEP has the ability to rely or base a permit decision on planning and zoning. The fourth element is that all of these things must be consistent.

Fred Wolf asked whether quarrying is allowed. The answer was that it is. Another question was, "Has the Department identified or published a map that would identify the municipalities that meet the criteria to have their comments involved in a permit decision?" The answer was no, but there are plans to have this done.

New Business

Suggested speakers for October’s MRAB meeting are as follows: a representative from United Mine Workers of America on the issue of biosolids as it relates to land reclamation; staff from the Water Quality department to discuss sulfate issue (water quality discharge); and Bill Pounds from Waste Management

Next Meeting

The next MRAB meeting is scheduled for October 25.


Mr. Wolf asked for a motion to adjourn the meeting. Dave Strong made the motion to adjourn meeting; Dave Mankamyer seconded the motion. The meeting adjourned at 2:00 p.m.