July 1, 1999

Point of Departure: Best Western Inn and Conference Center
DuBois, PA


Members in attendance: Fred Wolf, Chairman, Jack Chamberlin, Duane Feagley, Sue Germanio (alternate), David Mankamyer, David Osikowicz, Rep. Sam Smith, and Mike Young (alternate).

Others in attendance: Javed Mirza, Bill Allen, Joe Ferrara, Lori Odenthal, Robert Dolence, Rod Fletcher, Dave Hogeman, Joe Sieber, Bernie Hoffnar, and Natalie Shepherd.

The group departed from the Best Western Inn and Conference Center at 10:30 for the first stop. The field tours included the Amerikohl Rathmel Site, Alvin Gearhart/ACV Power Site, Hanley Brick Conifer Project and Original Fuels Park Mine. The Amerikohl Rathmel Site is an example of a Best Management Practice (BMP) Permit. The Alvin Gearhart/ACV Power Site is an example of a Government Financed Construction Contract (GFCC). The Hanley Brick Conifer Project is an example of surface reclamation, passive treatment and active treatment, where a trust fund is in place as a result of a Consent Order and Agreement. The Original Fuels Park mine is a remining showcase (DEP financial guarantees on remining bonds, one mile of highwall to be reclaimed and alkaline addition).

The site visits were informative and generated a lot of informal discussions. (For more information, please see the Tour Site Descriptions and Tour Site Locations Map which are attached.) Special thanks are extended to the Knox District Mining Office who assisted with the tours.

Late afternoon the group returned to the Best Western Inn in DuBois.



July 2, 1999

Best Western Inn and Conference Center
DuBois, PA

Members in attendance: Fred Wolf, Chairman, Jack Chamberlin, Duane Feagley, Sue Germanio (alternate), David Mankamyer, David Osikowicz, Mark Snyder, Rep. Sam Smith, David Strong, Mike Young (alternate).

Others in attendance: Mark Killar, Robert Dolence, Rod Fletcher, Dave Hogeman, Mike Getto, Joe Sieber, Bernie Hoffnar, Jerry Farnella, Dale Ramsey, Jay Elkin, Natalie Shepherd.

The meeting was called to order at 8:00 a.m.

Chairman Wolf opened the meeting and introduced those in attendance.

The first order of business was to adopt the minutes of the previous meeting of April 22, 1999. There were no additions or corrections to the minutes. Jack Chamberlin moved that the minutes be accepted. It was seconded by David Osikowicz. The motion carried by unanimous vote.

Committee Reports

Ad Hoc Committee on Reclamation Issues: Dave Strong presented to the board a report and recommendations that came out of the committee's meeting of May 28, 1999 in Brockway. The highlights of that report are as follows:

  1. The Ad Hoc Committee on Reclamation Issues again is raising the need for better interbureau and interprogram cooperation. They asked the board to formally urge better interprogram coordination and cooperation on a site-specific basis. There needs to be more coordination, communication and cross-training between the deputates, bureaus and programs.
  2. The committee would like the efforts of independent power producers to be included in incentives being provided under Reclaim PA. By burning waste coal piles, for example, these facilities are remediating some significant environmental concerns and simultaneously producing power. The committee is asking the Board to recommend that DEP consider this recommendation and report back to the Board at its next meeting on how it could be implemented.
  3. The MRAB members and alternates unanimously agreed that the Ad Hoc Committee should meet with Billie Ramsey of ARIPPA to gain some information to help preserve the co-gen plants and get back to the board with recommendations.

  4. The Committee asks the board to lend its support in the exploration of a resource clearinghouse concept.

Annual Report Committee: Copies of the MRAB April 1997 - May 1998 Annual Report were distributed and the Annual Report Committee for the next reporting period was formed.

Policy Committee: The committee had nothing to report.

Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee: The committee had nothing to report.

Program Activity Updates

Reclaim PA
Presented by David Hogeman, Chief, Division of Environmental Analysis and Support, Bureau of Mining and Reclamation

The presentation consisted of comparisons of the 1998 and 1997 AML Reclamation Summaries, including the following major observations: 1) Total reclamation effort increased from $31 million to $58 million; 2) total acres reclaimed increased from 4,500 to 5,400; 3) total stream miles improved increased from 112 to 170; 4) industry remining project value increased from $7.1 million to $31.3 million; and 5) no landowner reclamation jobs were initiated in 1998, and there was significant reclamation at little or no expense to the government.

Presented by Representative Samuel Smith

Good Samaritan Legislation: It has been approved by the House Committee. A vote in the House in this fall's session is anticipated. No major hurdles are expected. It is hoped to keep the Watershed Restoration piece moving along with it.

Attorneys Fees: It has been voted out of the House. The most objectionable piece which allowed the Department to seek attorney fees where a permittee or citizen acted in bad faith was removed from the legislation in the House Committee.

House Bill 1585: Mike Young led the discussion on this bill which was just reported out of the Local Government Committee. The bill focuses only on the use of biosolids in reclamation and it places potential testing authority with the municipal government. Mike Smith's editorial on biosolids was shared with the board. After valuable discussions David Osikowicz moved that the board send a letter to the Secretary recommending that the Department oppose any legislation that would discourage the use of innovative reclamation techniques including the application of biosolids, that the techniques meet regulatory requirements that are uniform, that there be continued safe use and that as many disincentives as possible be eliminated. It was seconded by Mark Snyder. The motion carried by unanimous vote.

Growing Greener
Presented by Joe Sieber, Information Specialist, Office of Policy and Communications

The whole Growing Greener proposal just hasn't moved as fast as everyone wanted it to. It is broadly supported, but there are so many considerations based on the 21st Century Commission Report. There have been many controversies, especially over where the money is to come from. Some amendments are being worked on. The Department is anticipating additional discussions when the Legislature reconvenes.

Proposed Revisions to 25 PA Code Chapters 210 and 211
Presented by Mike Getto, Chief, Blasting Section, Bureau of Mining and Reclamation

Mike reported that the proposed changes to Chapters 210 and 211 were developed considering a great deal of input obtained through outreach sessions that the Department conducted. The focus of the proposed regulations has been twofold - protection of the public and the public property and justifiably regulating the explosive industry. Mike went through each section of each chapter, highlighting the substantial changes that were being proposed and received suggestions and comments. Two explosives industry representatives participated in this part of the meeting - Dale L. Ramsey, Senex Explosives, Inc. and Jay Elkin, Mid-Atlantic Chapter ISEE - Wampum Hardware Company. Considerable discussion followed. The Department was asked to further refine the proposed regulations and bring them back to the board at its October meeting for review and final approval.

Reclamation Fee on Refuse Piles
Presented by Jerome Farnella, Regional Audit Manager, Division of Compliance Management, Office of Surface Mining, U.S. Department of the Interior

This was a follow-up to a presentation made on May 6, 1999 by OSM to the Pennsylvania Anthracite Council and industry representatives regarding DOI's intention to rescind AML-14. The anthracite producers and ARIPPA are very much concerned about any taxation or reclamation fee on refuse used in co-gen plants, because of the additional financial restrictions it would put on the plants. Chairman Wolf asked that Mr. Farnella provide an additional information sharing session to the board. Mr. Farnella confirmed there is no OSM reclamation fee if refuse is going to co-gen plants.

New Business

House Bill 1546: This bill will amend the state's administrative code by requiring that any state agency planning to convert its coal fired heating system to another fuel, provide advance notice so that all interested parties are aware of the planned conversion. The bill also includes a bid preference for heating systems that use coal from remining and reclamation projects. It will come out of committee July 13, 1999.

Sue Germanio moved that the Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board write a letter to Representative Paul I. Clymer in support of House Bill 1546. It was seconded by Duane Feagley. The vote was unanimous.

Next Meeting Date and Location

Date: October 21 - 22, 1999 - including a field trip
Location: Somerset, PA - tour to be announced


Dave Strong moved that the meeting be adjourned. It was seconded by Dave Mankamyer. The meeting adjourned at 12:00 p.m.