The Anthracite Region Independent Power Producers Association’s (ARIPPA) Executive Director, Jeff A McNelly, reported that ARIPPA plant members have collectively donated over $50,000 to various deserving volunteer watershed and conservancy groups actively battling Pennsylvania’s largest environmental problem…AML and AMD over the last 5 years.
ARIPPA awarded $5,000 in August at their Annual Awards Luncheon and $45,000 in the past to watershed organizations performing Abandoned Mine Land (AML) and/or Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) remediation improvements that are partners of EPCAMR and WPCAMR. Award recipients have included: Allegheny Valley Land Trust, Altman Run-Watershed, Babb Creek Watershed, Blackleggs Creek Watershed, Chestnut Ridge Chapter Trout Unlimited, Clearfield Creek Watershed, Earth Conservancy, Eastern Middle Anthracite Region Recovery, Evergreen Conservancy, Huber Breaker Preservation Society, Lackawanna River Corridor Association, Loyalsock Creek Watershed, Luzerne Conservation District, Mehoopany Creek Watershed Association, Plymouth Historical Society, Schuylkill Headwaters Association, Sewickley Creek Watershed, and the Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance.
Awards are granted under the guidance and administration of Eastern and Western Pennsylvania Coalitions for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR and WPCAMR respectively). EPCAMR and WPCAMR are the two leading, regional environmental non-profit associations organized to encourage the reclamation, remediation, and redevelopment of lands and streams impacted by past mining practices. “EPCAMR and WPCAMR oversee the solicitation of proposals each year, review them, recommend them for awards, and then provide the selected award winners with checks following the ARIPPA Annual Awards Luncheon in August. Each year we publicize the request for applications a few times a year and usually look forward to at least 4-6 applications knowing that we only $2500 per Coalition to distribute. It’s a very simple application process. I’m surprised there aren’t more applications, honestly. Hopefully in 2015, we’ll get more. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. That hasn’t stopped us from redistributing the donation from ARIPPA at all. 100% of the funding goes out each and every year and we are proud of the projects that we can support on the ground in partnership with ARIPPA,” stated Robert E. Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director. ARIPPA is also represented on the EPCAMR Board of Directors as an Industry Trade Association representative.
The 3 EPCAMR Award Winning Projects for 2014 are as follows:
$ 1300 will go to the Babb Creek Watershed Association (BCWA) for the cost of 1 of the 2 replacement stainless steel runners that are needed for the Antrim AMD MicroHydroPower Treatment Plant.
$ 700 will be administered by EPCAMR on behalf of a group of volunteers led by Joe Sapienza Jr., Director of a recent short documentary on Centralia, who sought EPCAMR’s technical assistance to coordinate a large illegal dumpsite cleanup effort, called Cleanup Centralia! on October 25th, 2014 this Fall to fund the hauling of waste and debris from three locations in and around Centralia, Byrnesville, and along Big Mine Run Road. Cleanup supplies, shovels, rakes, grass seed, wildflower mix, and NO DUMPING signs will also be picked up and housed with EPCAMR.
$ 500 will go to the Mehoopany Creek Watershed Association (MCWA) for the purchase of 17 Tons of limestone sand to treat the acidic conditions of the South Branch Mehoopany Creek that will be placed in the Spring of 2015 ahead of the melt of from the Winter.
Watershed protection and abandoned mine land reclamation are two of the fastest growing areas of community-based collaboration in the Commonwealth of PA. Throughout the country, watershed groups are playing an increasingly prominent role in environmental management. Remediation projects are costly and long-term endeavors with costs averaging between $10-20,000 per acre, according to the Pennsylvania Mining Reclamation Advisory Board. The ARIPPA Reclamation Awards partnership with EPCAMR/WPCAMR are designed to help watershed groups and community groups continue their volunteer efforts toward improving our environment.
Organized in 1988, ARIPPA is a non-profit trade association representing alternative energy plants that remove coal refuse from AML areas, convert it into alternative energy, and beneficially utilize the ash by-product to reclaim thousands of acres of mine-scarred lands and hundreds of miles of formerly dead streams back to their natural state; without any expenditure of tax dollars. To date over 212 million tons of coal refuse has been converted into alternative energy by member plants. Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) technology (one of the cleanest methods available today) is used to convert coal refuse into electricity and an alkaline-rich ash by-products utilized for decades in a highly regulated, safe, and beneficial manner to: fill and reclaim unsafe, abandoned mine lands; to remediate streams damaged by acid mine drainage; amend soil at mining sites, and serve as an additive in concrete/asphalt for construction and roadways.
The unique nature of ARIPPA’s environmental efforts combined with the desire to coordinate these efforts with “hands-on” environmentally oriented groups and governmental agencies symbolizes its commitment to improving our nation’s landscape and environment.