April 22, 1999
Delaware Room, 16th Floor RCSOB
Harrisburg, PA

Members in attendance: Fred Wolf, Chairman, Jack Chamberlin, David Mankamyer, David Osikowicz, Mike Young (alternate), David Strong, Rep. Sam Smith, Walter Heine, Patrick Sicilio, Sue Wilson (alternate), Lisa Mahall, and Sue Germanio (alternate).

Others in attendance: Robert Barkanic, Evan Shuster, Mark Killar, Robert Hughes, Bernie Hoffnar, Bo Reiley, Marc Roda, Mike Getto, Christine Getto (as part of Bring Your Daughter to Work Day), George Ellis, Duane C. Feagley, Mick McCommons, Rod Fletcher, Robert Dolence, Joe Sieber, Ernie Giovannitti, Natalie Shepherd.

The meeting was called to order at 10:00 a.m.

Chairman Wolf opened the meeting and introduced those in attendance. The two newest members were present - David Mankamyer, appointed by the State Conservation Commission (replacing Dr. Brian Redmond) and Lisa Mahall, a licensed anthracite professional engineer with Reading Anthracite (replacing Steve Shrawder).

The first order of business was to adopt the minutes of the previous meeting of October 15, 1998. Walter Heine moved that the minutes be accepted. It was seconded by David Osikowicz. The motion carried by unanimous vote.

Reclaim PA - Update

PA's Comprehensive Plan for Abandoned Mine Reclamation
Presented by Ernest Giovannitti, Director of the Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation.

The plan was developed out of need to have a systematic method for selecting abandoned mine reclamation projects. The long-term effects of the problem, as well as the benefits of a project, must be assessed in order to maximize the environmental gain from limited resources.

This is a systematic approach. The area needs to be defined including a problem definition. Problems are ranked as moderate, serious, very serious, or critical. Solutions must be proposed, including a plan for financing, as well as plans for implementation and measuring success. There must be reasonable and achievable goals.

This problem/benefit/cost ranking system serves as a framework for the selection of projects. We want significant benefit at moderate cost. We want to develop long-term funding sources, not just rely on the AML grant. Partnering is essential - between DEP, active mine operators, watershed associations, local governments and environmental groups. Another important principle is that when funds are expended, preference be given to AML reclamation or AMD abatement projects for which there are approved rehabilitation plans for the area.

Model Plan for Watershed Restoration
Presented by Ernest Giovannitti, Director of the Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation.

A lot of groups are involved in watershed restoration activities. This Model Plan for Watershed Restoration defines the common elements of a restoration plan which could be used by more than one resource and funding agency. This will facilitate partnering and avoid reworking plans to suit individual agency processes. Essential elements of a watershed restoration plan are: 1) watershed description, 2) problem identification, 3) expectations, 4) definition of problems that are driven by data collection and analysis and problem assessment, 5) specific objectives including evaluation criteria, 6) project scoping, 7) plan development, 8) recommendations, 9) implementation, and 10) assessment.

The board renewed its support of public participation in the selection process. The board also expressed its need to be kept informed - where we are operating, what we are doing, where the funding is coming from and other pertinent information. In developing rehabilitation plans, the potential for remining should always be considered.

It was suggested that a committee be formed to work on this initiative. The group would be small, approximately seven people. At least one person from the MRAB would serve on the committee. BAMR would be represented as well as a water quality watershed person. By the next meeting it is expected that the board will have selected its representative and recommendations for outside members will be made.

Best Management Practices
Presented by Rod Fletcher, Director of the Bureau of Mining and Reclamation (for Dave Hogeman who was unable to attend).

It was explained that the Department is moving forward with this program in close coordination with the federal EPA. Seven bituminous sites have been selected so far. The sites are in various stages of development from conceptual discussions to permit application review. It is a long-term process. It will take years for the Department to demonstrate to EPA that the best management practices are working as we collectively have developed the program.

Government Financed Construction Contracts (GFCCs)
Presented by Rod Fletcher, Director of the Bureau of Mining and Reclamation (for Dave Hogeman who was unable to attend).

Previously, federal guidelines required that any reclamation projects that were at least 50 percent government-funded could remove coal that was incidental and necessary for the completion of the reclamation of the site. Such coal removal was exempt from the requirements of the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. The federal Office of Surface Mining has approved eliminating the "government funding" requirement for removal of incidental and necessary coal on reclamation contracts. This means that incidental and necessary coal removal can take place on reclamation projects that are less than 50 percent government-funded. In addition, placement of excess active mine site spoil on adjacent abandoned mine lands for the purpose of reclamation is now allowable under a GFCC. After more than two tedious years, OSM granted approval of Pennsylvania’s similar program amendment.

Bark Camp
Presented by Bob Dolence, Deputy Secretary for Mineral Resources Management (for Ernie Giovannitti who departed the MRAB meeting for a meeting in Wilkes-Barre).

The site is in good shape. There is no material being processed currently. CTI has been and continues to pursue additional contracts. To address the comment that Pennsylvania dredge material has not been used at Bark Camp, DEP is working with DCNR to obtain Parker Dam Lake dredge material. This material will serve the study well by providing a very clean silt as a baseline to use with different sources of ash.

Pennsylvania Senior Environmental Corps (SEC)
Presented by Bob Dolence, Deputy Secretary for Mineral Resources Management (for Chris Allen who was not able to attend the MRAB meeting due to a schedule conflict).

The SEC is an organization of senior citizens who are interested in active environmental stewardship. Last year the Water Management deputate developed with SEC a monitoring program for watersheds in Pennsylvania.

There was a great deal of interest within SEC in streams impacted by acid mine drainage. The Department is negotiating an agreement with the SEC that will provide seed money that will be leveraged with private funds. The monies will pay for program development, equipment and training for the SEC volunteers. Although the Department is helping to develop this initiative, once it is functioning, their activities will be coordinated by the conservation districts.

Reed and Strattanville
Presented by Bob Dolence, Deputy Secretary for Mineral Resources Management.

The Department is receiving negative press in the Clarion area for not acting on the conceptual plan submitted by the CAWIC. It has been and continues to be the Department’s goal to maximize the reclamation at the contiguous sites. There are some barriers to moving forward. The Independent Review Committee as well as the Department has requested details of the conceptual plan in order to proceed with a proper technical review of the likely outcomes. To date, we have not received any detailed plans or proposals. In addition, the CAWIC outlined three unacceptable conditions for moving forward: 1) they want the money up front, 2) they don't want to post a performance bond and 3) they want to have the ability to unilaterally walk away from it at any time. Fiduciary responsibilities prohibit the acceptance of these conditions. The Department is evaluating options with the intent of having reclamation begin this year. One option is to collect the forfeited bonds and issue a Request for Proposals.

Attorneys' Fees Legislation, Good Samaritan Legislation, Watershed Restoration and Partnership Act
Presented by Rep. Sam Smith (for Pam Witmer who was not able to attend the MRAB meeting due to a schedule conflict).

Rep. Sam Smith explained that a committee meeting has been tentatively scheduled to run the Good Samaritan Legislation. The Attorneys' Fees Legislation committee is coming together, and the Watershed legislation was not voted out of committee.

The Growing Greener Initiative
Presented by Bob Barkanic, Director, 21st Century Initiative.

Over the next five years Pennsylvania will spend over $5 billion on environmental protection and water and sewer investments. Based on recommendations made by the 21st Century Environment Commission, Governor Ridge is proposing to change the way over $1.3 billion will be spent in those five years to put Pennsylvania on the path to Growing Greener in the 21st Century. The Growing Greener Initiative would do three things: 1) redirect $425 million to a special Environmental Stewardship Fund, 2) free $44 million for county use, and 3) change the criteria for spending over $900 million in water and sewer system financing to achieve these objectives: 1) restore and protect watersheds, 2) preserve open space and farmland, 3) reclaim abandoned mines and wells, 4) give communities incentives to adopt sound land use planning practices, 5) make infrastructure investments that do not promote sprawl, and 6) invest in restoring public lands. There will be 50 land use forums across the Commonwealth in June, July and August to get input over and above what the 21st Century Environment Commission has already received. A list of the dates and locations of these forums will be provided to members of the board. Bob provided a brief overview of House Bill 1200 which creates the Environmental Stewardship Fund. To better illustrate the need for Growing Greener, a map showing the various categories of watersheds in Pennsylvania was presented to the group. It was noted that not all of Pennsylvania's streams have been assessed yet to determine if they meet stream quality standards.

After an enlightened discussion, the MRAB unanimously passed the following resolution:

The MRAB endorses the concepts of the Growing Greener Initiative, particularly the goals that would address the Commonwealth's AMD and AML problems and remining programs.

Committee Reports

Ad Hoc Committee on Reclamation Issues

David Strong explained that the Ad Hoc Committee has not met for a while so there was no report to present.

Annual Report Committee

Chairman Wolf reported that the text of the MRAB Annual Report has been completed. A listing of committee members will be added as an appendix to the report.

Policy Committee

A new chairman needs to be appointed.

Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee

David Osikowicz explained that the Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee has not met for a while so there was no report to present.

Blasting Regulations and Overview
Presented by Michael Getto, Chief, Explosives and Safety Section, Bureau of Mining and Reclamation.

The Department has undertaken a project to revise its explosive regulations. Public input was solicited through stakeholder roundtables scheduled at different locations throughout the state. A questionnaire was circulated at these roundtables and posted on the Department's website for people who were reluctant to attend the meetings. The Department wanted to hear what the public thought the primary purpose of the regulations should be, what the goals of the program should be, and how the department should function to accomplish its goals - specifically, the Department wanted to know what it should do and how to do it. The reasons for rewriting the regulations are twofold - 1) to ensure public protection, and 2) to justifiably regulate the explosive industry. There were eight roundtables. The Department received a lot of compliments from those participating in the process. The Department is currently evaluating the comments and expects to present a draft regulation to the MRAB at the July 1 meeting.

UFM Rulemaking
Presented by Mick McCommons, Bureau of Mining and Reclamation.

An overview of the Areas Unsuitable for Mining (AUFM) Rulemaking was provided including the second formal solicitation for public comment in the Advanced Notice of Final Rulemaking. The amendments retain the existing EQB rulemaking process. Although the process requires additional time to reach a final decision, it also provides a more significant level of public participation in decisions concerning the designation of areas as unsuitable for mining and is consistent with the Administration's objective to improve public access and decision-making in the Department. After a question and answer period, Mike Young moved that the MRAB recommend that the EQB approve the AUFM rulemaking. It was seconded by Jack Chamberlin. The motion carried by unanimous vote.

New Business


Copies of Coal Mine Drainage Prediction and Pollution Prevention in Pennsylvania were provided to the MRAB members (and alternates) in attendance. Evan Shuster of the Bureau of Mining and Reclamation will be processing additional requests for this publication.

Election of Chairman

Walter Heine moved that Fred Wolf be reelected as chairman of the board. It was seconded by David Strong. The motion carried.
Mike Young moved that Mark Snyder be reelected as vice chairman of the board. It was seconded by Jack Chamberlin. The motion carried.

Next Meeting Date and Location

Date: July 1, 1999 Fieldtrip

Location: Southwest Part of the State - location to be announced.

It was suggested that the board visit a cogeneration and remining operation.


Rep. Sam Smith moved that the meeting be adjourned. It was seconded by David Strong. The motion carried. The meeting adjourned at 1:40 p.m.