January 6, 2000 Executive Summary

The MRAB held its first quarterly meeting for the year 2000 on January 6 in the 2nd Floor Training Room of the Rachel Carson State Office Building. Approximately 44 individuals attended, representing the following: The General Assembly, the Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, the Pennsylvania Oil and Gas Association, the Office of Surface Mining, ARIPPA, PG&E Generating Company and the mining industry.

After the minutes from the previous quarterly meeting were approved, DEP's Chief Information Officer Kim Nelson provided a very informative presentation about the department's electronic commerce initiative. Other key topics included Growing Greener, Full Cost Bonding and the Reclamation Clearinghouse. Dave Hogeman of the Bureau of Mining and Reclamation provided all the attendees with a Growing Greener Grant Application package.

Committee reports followed. Annual Report Committee: The board voted unanimously to accept the draft Annual Report for the period June 1998 to June 1999. The report will be submitted shortly to the Office of Policy and Communications for its review, approval and publication. Policy Committee: Due to other obligations, Walter Heine is stepping down as chairman of the Policy Committee. Walter will continue to serve on the board itself. Chairman Wolf has appointed Mark Snyder as the new chair of the Policy Committee. Reclamation Committee: Nothing to Report. Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee: The committee met at 9:00 a.m. in Harrisburg, one hour before the full board meeting, to further review the proposed revisions to the department's coal refuse disposal activities regulations, 25 Pa. Code Chapters 88 & 90. Chairman Osikowicz reported that the committee was not able to resolve the issue of primacy requirements as they relate to the protection of threatened and endangered species. However, with the assurance that the Department would further investigate these requirements, the committee recommended that the board approve the proposed revisions. The board voted unanimously to approve the proposed revisions. A letter from board chairman Fred Wolf to Secretary Seif, stating the board's position, will be prepared and then attached to the regulatory package as it moves forward.

There were two motions regarding full cost bonding. The first motion recommended that the full cost bonding proposal be referred to the Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee for a detailed review and reports its recommendations to the full board at the April 27 meeting. The other motion recommended that the Department defer further action on the full cost bonding proposal until the MRAB has had an opportunity to consider the recommendations of the Regulation, Legislation and Technical Committee. Both motions were unanimously approved. Scott Roberts was asked to look more closely at this proposal as it relates to the anthracite region and then report back to the full board.

Program activity updates were provided on Reclaim PA, Bark Camp, Penn Futures Litigation, Comparative Tax Liability Study, EPA Regulation of Fly Ash, TMDLs/Watershed Coordinator Program Involvement, HBs 866, 867, and 868 and the proposed revisions to the blasting regulations, 25 PA Code Chapters 210 and 211. After the proposed blasting regulations update, the MRAB again voted unanimously to approve the proposed blasting revisions.

Board alternate Duane Feagley has accepted employment elsewhere and will no longer be serving on the board.

The next meeting will be held on April 27, 2000 in Harrisburg.