MINUTES MINING AND RECLAMATION ADVISORY BOARD 6th Floor Conference Room Rachel Carson State Office Building Harrisburg, PA
July 18, 1996
The meeting was called to order at 10 a.m. by Chairman Walter N. Heine.
Board members present:
Susan Germanio for Representative Anthony L. Colaizzo, Walter E. Fike, John M. Ford, Walter N. Heine, J. Anthony
Ercole for David D. Osikowicz, Ron Ramsey for Senator Eugene E. Porterfield, Brian Redmond, Pat Krommes for
Senator James J. Rhoades, Steven D. Shrawder, George Ellis for
Mark A. Snyder, and Fred W. Wolf.
DEP staff present were Robert C. Dolence and Rodney L. Kelley, Office of Mineral Resources Management, Chris
Allen and Nina Huizinga, Office of Policy and Communications, Peter T. Slack, Evan Shuster, and David C. Hogeman,
Bureau of Mining and Reclamation, and Ernest F. Giovannitti, Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation.
The minutes of the April 25 and May 29, 1996 meetings were approved.
KEY OBLIGATIONS FROM THE APRIL 25, 1996 MEETING:
1. A revised Concept Paper concerning beneficial use of coal ash will be mailed to the Regulation, Legislation and
Technical Committee by April 30 and will be followed up by a telephone call on May 6. The Concept Paper will again
be revised and mailed to the full MRAB by May 10. Completed.
2. The Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee will make a recommendation on the Concept Paper at the July
meeting unless a special meeting is called before July. Completed; a special meeting was held on May 29.
3. The MRAB will send letters to the EQB: a) reaffirming the MRAB approval of the remining and reclamation
incentives; b) recommending approval of the Squaw Run UFM petition as unsuitable for mining; and c) recommending
approval for final rulemaking of the Discretionary Criteria on Areas Unsuitable for Mining. Completed.
4. A copy of the Bureau of District Mining Operations proposals concerning the customer needs program will be given
to members of the MRAB. Completed.
5. A copy of the final report from the field teams concerning the customer needs program will be given to the MRAB.
6. The July meeting will be held on July 10 and will be combined with a field trip through a deep mine on July 11. The
date of the July meeting was changed to the 18th; the field trip was not held.
REGULATION, LEGISLATION AND TECHNICAL COMMITTEE REPORT:
The Committee met on July 10 to discuss the final rulemaking portion of the coal ash residual waste package.
The following day, the Bureau of Waste Management and the Regulatory Counsel staff met and suggested a few
minor changes to clarify some issues. The package was then incorporated into the Residual Waste regulations,
which is moving toward final rulemaking in September.
The EQB had suggested some changes to the Licensing and Bonding regulation package prior to final
rulemaking. These changes were reviewed as well as the Comment and Response document.
The Committee also discussed the Regulatory Basics Initiatives (RBI) and agreed to meet again in September to
review drafts of RBI rulemaking packages.
FIELD TRIP TO UNDERGROUND MINE:
The field trip that was to have taken place on July 10 was not held because of concern that the MRAB was not
authorized to be involved with underground mining. However, because of the absence of an advisory board
dealing with underground mining concerns and because of an interest in underground mining by several members
of the MRAB, the CAC had arranged a September field trip to an underground mine and extended an invitation
to MRAB members to participate.
Two members expressed interest in the underground mine tour: Susan Germanio and Brian Redmond.
A motion was made, seconded and unanimously passed that the MRAB ask the CAC to postpone the deep
mine field trip in order to give the MRAB a chance to further discuss its involvement or the involvement of
another board in underground mining issues.
No one on the MRAB represents the underground mining industry. Some members of the surface mining
industry felt that if the MRAB would become involved in underground issues, it would not devote as much
attention to the needs of the surface mining industry.
Presently underground mining issues are handled on an ad hoc basis.
A letter written by Terry Fabian in 1992, delineating the DEP position on the Board's involvement in
underground mining, was passed out at the meeting. Deputy Secretary Dolence stated there had been no change
in the Department's position since the Fabian letter was written.
The Policy and General Issues Committee will review how the Department handles underground mining issues.
They will determine if: A) The Department needs a formalized board or, B) whether underground mining issues
should be handled by an ad hoc committee or, C) whether anything at all should be done. If the recommendation
of the Committee is approved by the Board, it may be submitted to the Secretary of the DEP. However, the
MRAB will handle only surface mining issues, subject to statutory amendment.
Members of the Committee include Brian Redmond, Chairman, Howard Laur, Mark Snyder, George Ellis,
Susan Germanio, and Susan Wilson.
BYLAWS AND DEP SUPPORT FOR THE MRAB:
Mr. Kelley, DEP liaison to the MRAB, asked Board members to feel free to contact anyone who supports the
Board. He explained that he works closely with the MRAB Chairman as issues arise. He emphasized that the
Board is independent and all significant paperwork is signed by either the Board or Committee Chairperson. The
Chairpersons are the people who make the decisions; DEP only tries to help make their job more efficient and
effective by providing administrative and technical assistance.
Some of the ways DEP presently supports the Board are not reflected in the bylaws.
The Policy and General Issues Committee was asked to review the Bylaws.
DRAFT GUIDELINES ON ADVISORY BOARDS:
Board members were asked to submit comments on the draft.
DEP will do a Comment and Response document when all comments have been received.
NON-COAL MINING ISSUES:
Although at the time the MRAB was established surface mining included non-coal minerals, the Board is not
established under a non-coal or industrial minerals act and there are no members on the Board to represent that
At the May meeting of the MRAB a resolution was passed to explore using excess ash at active non-coal sites
to help fill the leftover holes in the ground. A letter referencing this resolution will be sent to the Department. The
revised regulations would allow the use of ash at abandoned quarries.
Fly ash is mainly used to reclaim coal mine sites because the ash can reduce acid mine drainage problems.
Excess ash use is recommended at non-coal sites.
Currently the DEP deals with the industrial minerals industry through round-table meetings.
COMPREHENSIVE PLAN FOR MINING RECLAMATION:
The draft plan is a framework for mining reclamation to help DEP coordinate among all the various groups
involved in mining and reclamation, including watershed associations and the Corps of Engineers.
The plan should prioritize the way DEP spends money and makes decisions.
The plan has five elements.
1. To update the abandoned mine land inventory.
2. To use an aerial approach. DEP wants to look at whole watersheds as well as areas where public water has been
destroyed or diminished in order to address the entire problem. When reviewing subsidence or a mine fire, the idea is
to consider the needs of an entire area instead of just a few homes.
3. Partnerships need to be formed. One of the groups involved in reclamation is the Corps of Engineers. They require a
50% match of money for a feasibility study and a 25% match for construction. There needs to be a way to help the
local sponsors gain access to the Corps' money. By partnering with DEP or a private institution, a local community can
get the assistance it needs to perform its work. By the same method, DEP can make its money stretch by uniting with
the Corps and a local community.
4. The key element is the rehabilitation plan. This means DEP will look at all the problems in the watershed, even if it is
not related to mining. The plan must have a well-defined goal and a timeframe.
5. The last element is a long-term financing plan.
It was observed that streams are being cleaned up and fish are thriving in them due to remining, volunteer work,
and coal operators. Much improvement has been accomplished through teamwork, which is a main component
of the Comprehensive Plan.
MRAB members were requested to review the Comprehensive Plan and send comments to Mr. Giovannitti as
soon as possible.
The Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee was asked to review the Comprehensive Plan, paying
particular attending to the goals, principles and plan elements, and make a recommendation to the full Board.
The Plan will be sent to various organizations for comment.
Finalization of the plan is scheduled for this fall.
Each year the MRAB is to put together a document of its accomplishments and a strategy for the future.
Tony Ercole and Sue Germanio volunteered to work with Mr. Kelley on the report.
UPDATE OF AREA UNSUITABLE FOR MINING PETITION - SHADE TOWNSHIP:
A public hearing was scheduled for July 10 in Shawnee State Park. That facility could handle 50 people. Since
over 160 people arrived for the hearing, it had to be rescheduled.
The rescheduled hearing will be August 14 in the Shade High School, Cairnbrook.
The Department's recommendation on this petition will be submitted to the EQB in November.
A question was raised whether it was appropriate for the Board to advise the Secretary on the specific and
technical issues of a petition since there was a concern who on the Board was qualified to make a decision on
the technical aspects of the petition.
The Department asked that the MRAB supply some type of response to a petition, even if the MRAB makes no
recommendation because they don't feel that they should review unsuitable for mining petitions. The Department
must present something from the MRAB to the EQB because the unsuitable for mining process in Pennsylvania
is a rulemaking process. The EQB will consider the endorsement or non-endorsement of the MRAB when the
EQB makes its decision.
A report on the Shade Township UFM will be ready during the last two weeks in September and ready for
discussion in early October. Also the Licensing and Bonding and Post-Mining Discharges packages should be
ready at that time.
The Policy and General Issues Committee was asked to consider the issue of the Board's involvement with areas
unsuitable for mining petitions. Mr. Ramsey asked to participate in this discussion.
The Regulation, Legislation, and Technical Committee will meet on September 26 to consider the Shade
Township unsuitable for mining petition and the Licensing and Bonding and Post-Mining Discharges packages.
A letter will be sent to all members inviting everyone to review the issue of the Board's participation in UFMs
and explaining the Board's policy that everyone is invited to participate in Committee meetings whether or not
he/she is a member of that Committee.
CONFERENCE CALL MEETINGS:
When the MRAB meets via conference call, the meeting fulfills all requirements for a valid meeting if it has been
properly advertised in accordance with the Sunshine Laws and a meeting room is provided with a speaker
phone for persons wishing to participate.
A motion was made, seconded, and passed that the next meeting of the MRAB will be held on
Upon motion duly made and seconded the meeting adjourned at 12:20 p.m.