Rachel Carson State Office Building
P.O. Box 8461
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8461

January 22, 2001

Bureau of Mining and Reclamation


To All Members and Alternates of the Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board (MRAB) and Interested Parties

At its January 4 meeting the Board identified several of areas in the draft final rulemaking on Chapter 90, Coal Refuse Disposal, in need of clarification. Based on those discussions, the Department proposes the following changes

Enclosed for the Board’s consideration are the proposed revisions to sections 90.5, 90.12, 90.50, 90.122, and 90.202.

One of the issues discussed at the meeting was that the proposed regulations do not provide specific design criteria for systems to prevent groundwater contamination at coal refuse sites. As pointed out at the meeting, design criteria for liners at coal refuse disposal sites are found in an existing DEP technical guidance document (563-2112-656, Liners – Impoundments, Stockpiles and Coal Refuse Disposal Areas). One suggestion was to include a reference to this technical guidance in the regulations. The Department has had a number of informal discussions with various parties on this issue since the January 4 meeting. We find ourselves between two strongly held, opposing views. One is to insert not only a reference to the technical guidance on liners but to insert references to all guidance that would apply to the permitting of coal refuse disposal operations. The other is that we not include references to technical guidance documents in the regulations. There are valid arguments for both positions.

The most compelling argument regarding the inclusion of references to guidance documents comes from the Department’s past experience with the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC). In cases where IRRC determines a guidance document is routinely relied upon by the Department or is integral to the implementation of a regulation, IRRC insists that the guidance be referenced in the regulation. I have, therefore, decided to insert references to the pertinent guidance documents in sections 90.5 and 90.50 as outlined above.



J. Scott Roberts, P.G.
Bureau of Mining and Reclamation