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306 Call for Presentations for the 2011 PA AMR Conference 2011-02-11 18:43:54

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact Robert Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director

(570) 371-3523 or rhughes@epcamr.org

Planners for the 13th Annual Pennsylvania Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference Seek Presenters

The Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR), acting as the host for the 13th Annual Pennsylvania Abandoned Mine Reclamation (PA AMR) Conference, is seeking presenters to talk. EPCAMR will join forces with the PA AMR Conference Planning Committee to coordinate efforts in the Anthracite Region on August 4-6th, 2011 at the Best Western Genetti Inn & Suites in Hazleton, PA. This years conference will focus around the theme of showcasing coalitions Working Together for Innovation and Success.

The presentations will begin on Friday morning, run through the evening, and continue on Saturday morning through lunch. We look to fill 22 presentation slots this year and plan to divide them into two simultaneous tracks. The presentations and abstracts that we are looking for in 2011 should be related to the following topics:

  • Marcellus gas rush and ties to AMD/Mine pool use
  • Land reclamation and Brownfields redevelopment projects on AML
  • Pennsylvania coal mining history and heritage
  • Innovative AMD treatment system designs
  • Watershed implementation projects utilizing landscape architecture designs
  • Developing qualified hydrologic unit plans for AMD-impacted watersheds
  • Sustainable alternative energy initiatives
  • Showcases of success in AMD treatment
  • Partnerships between watershed groups and industry
  • Geothermal projects utilizing underground mine pools
  • Operation, Maintenance, & Repairs (OM&R) of AMD treatment systems
  • Status of state funds for maintaining existing AMD treatment systems
  • Future coal market predictions in Pennsylvania

Professional development hours will be offered. Certificates will be available, upon request, with authorized signatures by members of the PA AMR Conference Planning Committee. Presenters are eligible to receive additional credits beyond attending sessions presented throughout the conference.

If you would like to present, please submit a one page abstract of your presentation, with your name, title, work affiliation, presentation title, and brief biography, by April 30th, 2011, to Robert Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director. PowerPoint presentations are acceptable. Presenters selected will be expected to pay the conference registration fee, which is reasonably priced for all to attend.

If your presentation is not selected, you will have an opportunity to display it in poster format, which will be available to view during breaks during the conference.

See more details as they become available at www.treatminewater.com.

 

305 13th Annual PA Conference on Abandoned Mine Reclamation to be held August 4-6th 2011-02-11 18:38:20

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact Robert Hughes-EPCAMR Executive Director

570-371-3523 or rhughes@epcamr.org

13th Annual Pennsylvania Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference to Showcase Coalitions Working Together on Innovations and Success in the Anthracite Region

The Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR), acting as the host for the 13th Annual Pennsylvania Abandoned Mine Reclamation (PA AMR) Conference, will join forces with the  PA AMR Conference Planning Committee to coordinate efforts in the Anthracite Region on August 4-6th, 2011 at the Best Western Genetti Inn & Suites in Hazleton, PA. This years conference will focus around the theme of showcasing coalitions “Working Together for Innovation and Success.”

This years conference coincides with the celebration of EPCAMR’s 15th anniversary, serving as an environmental organization committed to reclaiming Pennsylvania’s abandoned mine lands, restoring streams impacted by abandoned mine drainage, building partnerships to address water quality problems associated with mining, and educating Pennsylvania’s youth and communities inherently impacted by past mining practices. A dinner/fundraiser will be held on Thursday evening (August 4th), prior to the conference on Friday, to mark this special milestone. Artwork, commissioned by local artists and created utilizing recovered iron oxides, will be auctioned off and several awards will be presented to partners and long-term EPCAMR board members. The EPCAMR staff will present highlights of the success and growth of EPCAMR over the last 15 years.

Discounted room rates are available at the Best Western Genetti Inn & Suites for $70 plus taxes until June 30, 2011. There will be a conference pre-tour, including a boxed lunch, on Thursday afternoon that includes various innovative reclamation and abandoned mine drainage (AMD) treatment systems that are successfully treating polluted water from the underground mines within the Anthracite Region. Tentative stops are sites such as Eckley Miners Village and treatment systems in the Catawissa Creek, Nescopeck Creek, and Schuylkill River watershed, led by volunteers and community leaders from the Schuylkill Headwaters Association, Friends of the Nescopeck, Schuylkill County Conservation District, Catawissa Creek Restoration Association, and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation.

The presentations will begin on Friday morning, run through the evening, and again on Saturday morning through lunch. Invited to attend will be the PA Department of Environmental Protections newly appointed Secretary of Mineral Resource Management-Michael Krancer, the Director of the Federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement- Joe Pizarchik, and Renew Growing Greeners Executive Director-Andrew Heath. 22 presentations will be divided into two tracks and two ½-day workshops on Grant Writing and Seeking Community Foundations for Support will run concurrently with the Conference.

The presentations will vary from topics such as the Marcellus “Gas Rush” and ties to AMD / Mine Pool Use, Successful TMDL Implementation, PA Coal Mining History, Watershed Implementation Projects utilizing Landscape Architecture, Developing Qualified Hydrologic Unit Plans, Coal Mine Heritage, Mine Pool Mapping, Sustainable Alternative Energy Initiatives, Showcases of Successes in AMD Treatment, Partnerships between Watershed Groups and Industry, Geothermal Projects utilizing underground Mine Pools, Operation, Maintenance, & Repairs (OM + R) of AMD Treatment systems, the status of State funds for maintaining existing AMD Treatment systems, and Future Coal Market Predictions in PA.

Professional development hours will be offered and certificates will be presented by EPCAMR Staff and members of the PA AMR Conference Planning Committee for authorized signature approval. Presenters at the Conference are eligible to receive additional credits beyond attending sessions presented throughout the Conference.

Travel scholarships, to be reimbursed for vehicle mileage only, will be offered to members of non-profit and community watershed organizations, historic preservation, and conservancy groups. Please be aware that financial assistance will only be granted as a reimbursement basis, as funding allows. In certain instances, discounted registration prices will be provided to groups that can show need, to be determined by the EPCAMR and the AMR Conference Planning Committee.

Friday evening, August 5th, as a part of the 13th Annual AMR Conference, there will be a formal dinner where the Annual Mayfly Award will be presented to this years yet to be announced winner. The Mayfly Award is presented to those individuals who exhibit long-term efforts in addressing mine drainage remediation projects in PA and has contributed greatly towards cleaning up PAs environment from abandoned mine drainage impacts.

EPCAMR is actively looking for sponsorship of this years Conference at the following levels: Platinum ($2000+), Gold ($1000+), and Silver ($500+). Details of the benefits of each of the levels of Sponsorship will be posted on the www.treatminewater.com website shortly as will other Conference materials. A sponsorship wish list is being created to assist with covering costs of the Conference expenses such as the Pre-Conference Tour, Meals, Breaks, Box Lunches, Entertainment, and Travel Scholarships. Exhibitors can set up at the Conference at a cost of ($250) for a space near the hustle and bustle of the Conference happenings in the major hallways and within the large banquet room and a complimentary Conference registration. Non-profit, community groups, student poster presentations, historic preservation groups, and watershed groups will be allowed to exhibit for free, however, will not have access to electricity.

 

304 The Inquest into the Avondale Colliery Fire 2011-01-26 11:07:33

110 dead miners, mostly welsh men and children! What was the cause of this tragedy and who is to blame? The Eckley Players perform a reenactment based on a book by Robert Wolensky and Joe Keating: Tragedy at Avondale.

At the Irem Temple Country Club, 1340 Country Club Road, Dallas

Saturday February 19th @ 3PM. Please see the flier for more details.

 

303  Rendell Awards Smallest-Ever Round Of Growing Greener Grants 2011-01-10 11:37:18

Gov. Rendell last week announced the awarding of $14.1 million in grants for 87 projects in 36 counties– $8.13 million from Growing Greener Funds, $4.17 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and $1.8 million from forfeited bonds from mining companies.

The combined state and federal investment is being matched by more than $6.7 million from outside sources. Read more from the PA Environmental Digest

Here are the projects that were awarded in the EPCAMR Region:

EPA 319 Program Funding

Bradford County

Bradford County Conservation District received $161,938.00 for Mill Creek Stream Rehabilitation and Habitat Improvement in West Burlington & Springfield Townships.

Lancaster County

Lancaster County Conservation District received $159,675.00 for the Mill Creek Stream Restoration Project – Phase III in the municipalities of Earl, Leacock, and Upper Leacock.

Luzerne County

The Borough of Harveys Lake received $565,700.00 for Design & Installation of Large Stormwater BMPs at Harveys Lake in Harveys Lake Borough.

Multiple Counties

Tri-County Conewago Creek Association received $108,980.00 for Conewago Creek Stream Restoration Projects (Old Hershey Road to Route 230) in the municipalities of Conewago, Londonderry, and Mt. Joy.

Schuylkill County

Schuylkill County Conservation District received $132,035.00 for the Implementation of the Pine Knot AMD Watershed Study Priority Projects – West Branch Phase #2 in Cass Township.

Growing Greener Program Funding

Bradford County

The Wysox Creek Watershed Association, Inc. received $157,109.00 for Wysox Creek Streambank Stabilization in Wysox, Rome, Orwell, Pike, Windham Twps and Rome Borough.

Carbon County

Carbon County Conservation District received $347,814.00 for Nesquehoning Creek Phase 2 Stabilization.

Lackawanna County

Lackawanna River Corridor Association, Inc. received $54,120.00 for the Lackawanna River Corridor Association Misty Ridge Project, Phase 2 in the municipality of Old Forge.

Lancaster County

City of Lancaster received $225,000.00 for Lancaster City Green Streets in the City of Lancaster

Lancaster Farmland Trust received $75,000.00 for Conservation Plans – Conestoga River Watershed in Multiple municipalities.

Lebanon County

Jonestown Borough received $41,373.00 for Jonestown Rain Garden BMP Design / Construction in Jonestown Borough.

Palmyra Borough received $50,000.00 for Swatara Creek Watershed Stormwater Improvements in Palmyra Borough and North Londonderry Township.

Luzerne County

Earth Conservancy received $400,000.00 for the Hanover 9 Phase II / Parcels B, C and D Reclamation Project in Hanover Township.

Lycoming County

Lycoming County Commissioners received $32,277.00 for the Lycoming County Water Quality Improvement Program

Multiple Counties

Montour County Conservation District received $285,565.00 for the Chillisquaque Creek Watershed Restoration Project in the municipalities of Anthony, Limestone, East Chillisquaque, and Liberty.

Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy received $165,829.00 for Agricultural Impaired Northcentral Stream Restoration.

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society received $200,000.00 for TreeVitalize – Phase VII.

Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. received $349,305.00 for the PACD Engineering Assistance Program.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc. received $155,954.00 for Watershed Restoration through CREP Buffers in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Pennsylvania Environmental Council, Inc. received $116,883.00 for Statewide Stormwater and Green Infrastructure Implementation.

Pocono Northeast Resource Conservation & Development Council received $300,000.00 for the Consortium for Scientific Assistance to Watersheds (C-SAW VII).

Trout Unlimited, Inc. received $236,000.00 for the AMD Technical Assistance Program.

Stream Restoration Incorporated received $150,000.00 for Passive Treatment O&M Technical Assistance.

Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation received $130,000.00 for Quick Response V.

The Pennsylvania State University received $170,500.00 for the PaOneStop: Online Conservation and Nutrient Management Planner.

Stream Restoration Incorporated received $79,591.00 for the Datashed – Web-based Data Management Tool.

Schuylkill County

City of Pottsville received $300,000.00 for the Sharp Mountain Phase VII Reclamation Project in the City of Pottsville.

Wyoming County

Mehoopany Creek Watershed Association Inc. received $449,000.00 for Phase 3 Windy Valley Construction in Forkston Township.

Borough of Factoryville received $27,450.00 for The Factoryville Borough Stormwater Plan in the municipality of Factoryville.

For a complete listing of the grant awards, please visit DEP’s Growing Greener Webpage.

 

302 Regulating the Regulators: WVDEP Forced to Issue Permits to Itself 2010-12-09 14:05:53

Commonly know as the “Keeley Decision”, an opinion of the 4th Circuit Court in West Virginia.

As seen on COAL POWER, published by POWER magazine.

On November 8, 2010, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued its decision in West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, et al. v. Huffman (Appeal No. 09-1474). It’s an opinion that should be of great interest to government agencies and others who find themselves in a position of seeking to remediate water quality problems left by third parties. The appeals court decision in Huffman affirmed a district court ruling requiring that the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) issue National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits to itself, to address water discharges emanating from abandoned coal mining sites.

Though the case dealt with so-called bond forfeiture sites (areas that were permitted after passage of the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977), the legal principles that lie behind the decision are equally applicable to work done at mining sites that were abandoned before 1977 (abandoned mine lands or AML sites), for which no site-specific bond monies are available. In essence, the Fourth Circuit held that the federal Clean Water Act establishes a structure whereby states that are delegated NPDES permitting authority are also required, by virtue of that delegation, to regulate themselves.

The case arose in the context of an effort by the WVDEP to use monies available in its “Special Reclamation Fund” to address acid mine drainage problems at various bond forfeiture sites in northern West Virginia. Under state law, the WVDEP is required to “take the most effective actions possible to remediate acid mine drainage” at such sites. In most cases, this takes the form of in-stream treatment works such as waterwheels, which mechanically release neutralizing agents, bringing the stream back to a more healthy condition. Here, the plaintiff groups took the position that this kind of effort devoted to actual stream conditions “was not enough.” Instead, plaintiffs pressed the district court to require that the WVDEP issue NPDES permits to itself for each site, regulating the types and concentrations of pollutants in discharges from those sites, requiring monthly reporting (to itself), and exposing the Mining and Reclamation Division of the WVDEP to potential enforcement actions brought by the WVDEP for violations of effluent limits and other NPDES permit conditions.

Though there can be little doubt that imposing these obligations will increase the costs of such reclamation projects,and thereby reduce the number of areas that may be remediated,the Fourth Circuit agreed with the district court’s decision requiring that NPDES permits be obtained.

In so ruling, the appeals court emphasized several principles that would apply to any person who seeks to treat water discharging from property that he or she owns or controls. Of primary importance is the observation that “there is simply no causation requirement in the [Clean Water Act].” In other words, that statute “takes the water’s point of view: water is indifferent about who initially polluted it so long as pollution continues to occur.” Equating the WVDEP to a subsequent “operator” of a mine, the court held that whenever an owner abandons a mine, any other person who steps in to address polluted runoff at that mine site becomes “the party responsible for obtaining a permit.”

The Clean Water Act, the court pointed out, is a “broadly worded statute.” Thus, when that statute prohibits the discharge of “any pollutant by any person,” it means just that. In the words of the court: ” ‘Any’ is a powerful statutory term. The Clean Water Act uses it frequently.” In short, the court’s opinion is fair warning to anyone who would try to tiptoe around the implications of these statutory prohibitions,regardless of how good one’s intentions may be.

Recognizing that the Special Reclamation Fund represents a limited pool of recourses available to address a large number of bond forfeiture and AML sites, is easy to foresee that the immediate result of this decision will be to restrict the number of such sites that the WVDEP is able to address. This would presumably be contrary to the goals of the conservancy groups that brought the lawsuit. However, looking beyond the short-term implications, it is also reasonable to expect that this decision will lead to a renewed push for both an increase in the $5,000-per-acre cap on bonds for coal mine permits and more frequent denials of permit applications where it can be shown that long-term water treatment may be required after mining. Under either or both of those scenarios, the ultimate result will likely be less coal mined in West Virginia, which would be consistent with the plaintiff groups’ goals.

Though the potentially severe consequences of this decision are evident based upon existing law and regulations, the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently initiated an effort in this region that may make the situation even worse. Specifically, on April 1, 2010, the EPA published “Guidance” that imposes a pseudo water quality standard for conductivity limited in its application to coal mining sites in the Appalachian states (including West Virginia). The WVDEP, which has its own narrative water quality policy that is intended to address the aquatic ecology concerns cited in the EPA’s guidance, has challenged that policy in federal court. According to the WVDEP’s complaint, the EPA is improperly usurping the role of the state in setting water quality standards under the Clean Water Act, and the proposed conductivity “threshold” represents “an overbroad, generic criterion” that is “unattainable” at many sites.

The application of the April 1, 2010, EPA guidance will not only greatly restrict permitting of new coal mines; if applied to bond forfeiture and AML sites, it will also further reduce the number of those areas that may be remediated by the WVDEP. Nevertheless, on November 16, 2010,eight days after the Fourth Circuit’s decision in Huffman,a number of groups petitioned the court to intervene on behalf of the EPA, to help it defend its action. Included among that group: the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy, lead plaintiff in Huffman.

These legal skirmishes may be all about coal. But other industries,and those who regulate them,should keep a close watch on how far mining opponents are allowed to go in hampering all efforts to maintain an effective permitting program.

 

301 Abandoned Mine Drainage: An Epic Tale Video 2010-12-07 13:40:31

The much awaited time is finally here, WPCAMR and EPCAMR have teamed up to produce an educational short film on the formation of AMD. Informational? Yes! Entertaining? Yes! Will it go viral? Absolutely!

Directors Comments:

By Anne Daymut, WPCAMR Watershed Coordinator

There is a new tool for individuals to learn about how Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) is formed and the severity of the problem in our region. WPCAMR has published an educational video on YouTube titled “Abandoned Mine Drainage: An Epic Tale”. It is the first in a series of three short films related to AMD to be published by WPCAMR over the next couple of years. If you are sitting there thinking, “Oh no, not some boring educational video about the chemistry of AMD”, don’t worry! We guarantee this will be the most entertaining fifteen minutes of AMD education you have ever received. And you may recognize some of the stars of the show.

 

300 EPCAMR organizes tour for OSM/VISTAs to the Huber Breaker 2010-11-23 11:21:35

Contact: Robert Hughes, Executive Director. rhughes@epcamr.org

****FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE****

EPCAMR organizes tour for OSM/VISTAs to the last historical mining industry dinosaur in the Northern Anthracite Coal Fields Huber Breaker

Ashley, PA November 15, 2010

The Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation in conjunction with the Huber Breaker Preservation Society offered a full informational outside tour and inside look of the last standing coal breaker in the Northern Anthracite Coal Region for OSM/VISTAs within the Anthracite Heritage Alliance. The tour was led by current Huber Breaker Preservation Society Membership President, Bill Best, who imbued his extensive knowledge of the history and functions of the Breaker and all of its parts of both the remaining structures and those long since demolished or removed. Mr. Best took a party of eight people, including five OSM/VISTAS and two supervisors through the major remaining buildings, including a climb directly up the conveyor belt that supplied coal to the top of the 10-story high coal breaker.

Participating in the tour was Chris Deemer with Eckley Miner’s Village, who initiated the interest in having a full educational experience at the site. Megan Blackmon of Schuylkill Co. Conservation District, Michael Stanton of Schuylkill Headwaters Association, Michael Bloom with Hazleton Civic Partnership/Delaware and Lehigh Rails to Trails, Wren Dugan-EPCAMR Community Watershed Development Coordinator through the OSM/VISTA Anthracite Heritage Alliance, and Sarah Koontz with Susquehanna Greenway Partnership rounded out the party. Robert E. Hughes, EPCAMR’s Executive Director shared his thoughts on the tour by saying, “EPCAMR hopes that through this regional collaboration tour with our fellow regional volunteer watershed community development coordinators that work for the OSM/VISTA Anthracite Heritage Alliance that we could expand our outreach and publicity efforts to gain additional support for saving this fossil of a building. Once its gone, there will never be another structure as ominous and telling as this one that could explain to our next generation of children the reasons for the rise and the fall of the Anthracite Mining Industry in Northeastern PA. Coal mining history of the Anthracite Region will become a thing of the past.”

The Office of Surface Mining Volunteers In Service To America (OSM/VISTAs) work on a great variety of projects including water monitoring, biological sampling, historic preservation and clean up efforts, community mobilization and revitalization, event organization and fund raising/grant writing. The goal of every OSM/VISTA is to lower poverty by improving the environment on a grass roots level within the community. In addition, the EPCAMR Executive Director Robert Hughes, and Program Manager Michael Hewitt, attended to provide insight to the support that they have provided to the Huber Breaker Preservation Society over the last decade.

Wren Dugan has been assisting the Huber Breaker with developing grant proposals to secure additional funding for various phases of construction of the Anthracite Region Miner’s Memorial and park development. The Huber Breaker Preservation Society is a 501c3 dedicated to preserving the history and legacy of the Anthracite Region’s last standing coal breaker. Established in 1990, the HBPS has been working towards creating a public park on the three acres they own in front of the Breaker, including an 8×10 foot black Vermont granite Anthracite Region Miner Memorial to be installed in the park. A Buy-A-Brick Campaign is still underway and pavers that will be laid out at the site will be made from recycled pervious pavement and iron oxide, a metal commonly found in local abandoned mine drainage discharges. The HBPS hopes to have benches, and plantings along walking trails, interspersed with interpretive educational kiosks detailing the workings of the Breaker and life in a patch town. The Huber Breaker still remains under ownership of #1 Contracting, Inc. and is private property. Trespassing is illegal and not encouraged. EPCAMR received and signed liability waivers provided by #1 Contracting, Inc. in order to conduct the tour at the site.

For more information or to schedule a tour of the Huber Breaker, visit www.huberbreaker.org.

 

297 EPCAMR Releases Current List of Environmental Education Programs 2010-10-15 09:59:34

Contact: Robert Hughes, Executive Director. rhughes@epcamr.org

EPCAMRs new Mine Drainage Menu of Place-Based Environmental Education Programs Now Available!

Ashley, PA , The Place-Based environmental education programs have long been a cornerstone of EPCAMR’s philosophy and community services. Executive Director, Robert Hughes, and Program Manager, Michael Hewitt, have been working with schools, clubs, and community organizations for more than a decade, educating children and adults about the aquatic welfare throughout the region. EPCAMR emphasizes knowledge of students’ immediate environment, teaching about the local waterways, the affects of abandoned mine drainage on the ecosystem throughout the watershed. Presently there are 13 different educational programs being offered, and each can be specifically tailored to reflect current in-class curriculum. Prices for the programs will be assessed based on the size of the group and distance traveled to the teaching site. If you would like to receive a full color brochure by mail, you may request one through our website, www.epcamr.org or email info@epcamr.org. The online version is available at our Environmental Education and Outreach Programs Page.

 

296 A New Facelift for the EPCAMR.org Website 2010-10-05 14:26:04

We have recently made updates to the EPCAMR.org website based on a document called “Fire the Web Committee” by SpinWeb, a great document that lays out some common misconceptions and the building blocks of a good non-profit website.

EPCAMR never really had a true “brochure website” (but have seen hundreds and created a few for partners with limited desktop programs). EPCAMR uses a database driven content management system (CMS), called CPG Nuke, that boasts quick page load times and supported flashy dynamic features. Back in 2002-2003 the homepage turned into a “What’s New” page to get people hooked and join our cause. We started adding news scrolls and badges to connect to the “flavor of the month” and the history of our organization. We got a lot of good comments at first, but then it started to have way too much on the homepage and it became increasingly difficult to navigate to the real content. One person thought it was overloaded and looked like a TGI Fridays Restaurant.

Most of this was in response to some of the social networking sites that had been popping up and other group’s success in recruitment / marketing with such web content. About a year ago, we made a fan page for EPCAMR on facebook and suggested that members go there for specific updates. We share news, project photos and use the list-serve features for upcoming events. There is a preview of the facebook fan site in a side bar on the EPCAMR.org site. Another plus is that EPCAMR staff share the updating responsibility for facebook now rather than 1 person whose responsibility (among many many other things) is to update the website.

So we have created a “happy medium” which displays our resources and content organized in less-colloquial categories with some text links to news, calendar, photo gallery and things that work better in a navigation bar. We like to think of our website now as clearinghouse and reference for issues that are important to our goals. We are working on possibly integrating more forms and an online store with instant payment, but are not setup to take credit card payments online and frankly do not want to after a little research. However, there is badge that hooks us up to accept funds through Network for Good.

We also created a web page to explain our “chalk board” style background. We acknowledge that our web pages may be in convenient to see and difficult to print off for some people, but there are inherent energy saving properties to the style. EPCAMR, being an environmental organization, just recently made the switch to Host Gator, a hosting company that derives some of its power from renewable “green” resources. This webhost is has also granted our non-profit with a year of free hosting through a Technology Grant.

We also took a page from the “Fire the Web Committee” article and printed and posted an article on “Writing content for the web” which explains the need for brevity and concise information, especially on the web. People will devote up to 15 minutes to reading something in print, however, attention spans on the web are measured in seconds (most of you will never read the entirety of this article…but to those of you who do, Thank You for your dedication). Effective paragraph structure is also different and should include bulleted points, double spaced line breaks and no indentation. Polished grammar is also a must. We will endeavor to follow these steps in future article and page creation.

Please enjoy the new site and provide comments through our feedback form.

Sincerely,

EPCAMR Staff

 

295 ALTERNATIVE ENERGY PLANTS GRANT $20K TOWARD REMEDIATION OF ABANDONED MINE LANDS

2010-10-01 14:19:15 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

9/30/2010

CONTACT:

Jeff A McNelly, ARIPPA Executive Director

2015 Chestnut Street Camp Hill PA 17011

Phone 717 763 7635 Fax: 717 763 7455

Email:office@arippa.org Web: www.arippa.org

ALTERNATIVE ENERGY PLANTS GRANT $20,000 TOWARD REMEDIATION OF ABANDONED MINE LANDS (AML) AND ACID MINE DRAINAGE (AMD) IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS.

Celebrating 20 Years of Environmentally Beneficial Alternative Energy Production

CAMP HILL , ARIPPA’s Executive Director, Jeff A McNelly, reported today that ARIPPA plant members have collectively donated $20,000 to various deserving watershed and conservancy groups actively battling Pennsylvania’s largest environmental problem.

To commemorate its 20th Anniversary, the Anthracite Region Independent Power Producer’s Association (ARIPPA) awarded $20,000 to watershed organizations working on Abandoned Mine Land (AML) and/or Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) remediation projects. Award recipients included: Earth Conservancy, Eastern Middle Anthracite Region Recovery, Schuylkill Headwaters Association, Clearfield Creek Watershed Association and Evergreen Conservancy.

Awards were granted under the guidance and administration of Eastern and Western Pennsylvania Coalitions of Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR and WPCAMR respectively). EPCAMR and WPCAMR are non-profit associations organized to encourage the reclamation, remediation, and redevelopment of lands and streams polluted by historic coal mining

Watershed protection is one of the fastest growing areas of community-based collaboration. Throughout the country, watershed groups are playing an increasingly prominent role in environmental management. With their local focus and community base, watershed groups are building consensus and expanding participation within communities across Pennsylvania.

AML remediation projects in particular are costly and long-term endeavors. According to the Pennsylvania Mining Reclamation Advisory Board, the average cost of an AML project is at least $8,000 per acre. The ARIPPA AML/AMD Reclamation Awards were designed to help environmental organizations and Conservation Districts to continue their tireless efforts toward improving our landscape and environment.

Organized in 1988, ARIPPA is also a non-profit trade association representing alternate energy plants that remove coal refuse from the landscape, convert it into alternative energy, and beneficially utilize the ash by-product to reclaim over 4,700 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 one hundred sixty two (162) million tons of coal refuse has been processed and converted into alternative energy by member plants. Further, the technology used to convert coal refuse into electricity, known as Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB), is not only one of the cleanest energy technologies available but it also produces alkaline-rich ash by-products. The CFB ash by-products have been beneficially used in a highly regulated and safe manner:

  • to fill unsafe, abandoned mines and reclaim abandoned mine lands,
  • for acid mine drainage remediation,
  • as a soil amendment at mining sites,
  • and as a concrete/asphalt additive for 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 community’s landscape and environment.

 

294 EPCAMR has new AmeriCorps OSM/VISTA Volunteer on board

2010-08-31 11:12:29 ****FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE****

Contact: Robert Hughes, Executive Director. rhughes@epcamr.org 570-371-3523

Ashley, PA – August 30, 2010 – Wren Dugan to act as the Watershed Community Development Coordinator volunteer for the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation for the next year.

The Watershed Community Development Coordinator serves to enable EPCAMR’S success along with its supporting organizations by building public awareness and involvement through educational outreach and community revitalization projects. The volunteer position cost-shared between EPCAMR, the Corporation for National Service, and the Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team, under the direction of the Federal Office of Surface Mining, will also assist with water monitoring , watershed research, and developing projects necessary to help secure EPCAMR additional organizational funding to keep the small staff of two full-time and fully operational and self-sustaining.

Wren holds a B.F.A. from Edinboro University of PA, where she served as Managing Editor of the internationally-award winning art and literary journal, allowing her to build experience with fundraising and events planning, and volunteer organization. With more than a decade of experience with educational programming for children and youth, her personal investment with family roots in Bradford County, and a passion for all things environmental make her an enthusiastic advocate for the reclamation of lands effected by abandoned mine drainage.

Robert Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director stated, “With Wren’s skills in fundraising, marketing, and previous work with children and youth, we feel that she is going to bring those sets of much needed assets to our organization over the next year to help us move forward, during these economic hard times when finding funds, in the non-profit world, are hard to come by.” Robert went on to say, “EPCAMR has just recently begun to update our strategic plan for our organization looking forward three to five years down the road, and Wren is coming in at a time when her ability to help us sort out some of those strategic implementation goals and objectives are going to crucial to the future success of our organization’s development.” In June 2011, EPCAMR will be celebrating its’ 15th year of existence as a regional non-profit environmental organization that has become a state-wide leader in the fight to reclaim abandoned mine lands and to restore streams impacted by abandoned mine drainage. “Wren is going to be able fulfill the role of that third full-time staff person that will be able to help us put together our first 15th Anniversary Dinner and Fundraiser, before her term of service is up next August”, Robert stated.

Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation is a non-profit organization that reclaims abandoned mine lands through partnerships today for a cleaner environment tomorrow.

 

293  An Insiders Guide to the 2010 Joint Mining Reclamation Conference 2010-05-05 16:23:02 by Anne Daymut, WPCAMR Watershed Coordinator

The 12th Annual PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation (AMR) Conference has joined forces with the 27th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Mining and Reclamation (ASMR) and the 4th Annual Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative (ARRI) Mined Land Reforestation Conference. The 2010 Joint Mining Reclamation Conference, to be held June 5 – 10, with a post conference site tour on June 11, at the Radisson in Greentree, PA , will interest participants on national, regional, and local levels and we encourage everyone in Pennsylvania’s AMR community to attend this very unique event. In case you are wondering how your watershed and reclamation efforts fit into this large-scale conference, we thought it might be helpful show you some of the highlights and give you some tips to reduce the cost of your trip. Here is how to make the most of your 2010 Conference experience.

Have Fun While Networking. This year, we are offering networking opportunities like never before. On the evening of Tuesday, June 8 the Three Rivers Boat Cruise will depart from Station Square, Pittsburgh, upon which the PA AMR Conference’s coveted Mayfly Award will be presented. For a mere $60, enjoy the live music of Mike Gallagher and Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team, Reckner will address the key successes of the watershed movement in Pennsylvania and the importance of partnerships with science and industry in the progression of the movement. On an individual level, you can interact with industry, other watershed groups, and environmental professionals throughout the conference to build lasting partnerships.

Learn Something New. With such a wide variety of topics offered this year you may find it difficult to decide which presentations and discussions are right for you. Those who typically attend the PA AMR Conference will most likely be interested in the Science, Community, and Reclamation (SCR) Track. The vast array of informative topics that will be covered in this track include building watershed group capacity, returning trout and mussels to AMD impacted streams, constructing successful AMD treatment systems, remembering our regions coal history, and lots more. Don’t be afraid, however, to sit in on a presentation from one of the other tracks, including a panel discussion on AMD treatment options and getting the most out of your AMD treatment system. The full schedule will be posted at http://www.pghminingreclamationconf.com/ by the end of the week. Check back daily.

Reduce the Cost of Your Trip. We have several suggestions to help make your attendance more affordable.

* Register for the Full Conference and Register Early. How can spending money also save you money you ask? Well, each day of the conference costs $100 but the full conference rate is only $270 before May 10 (a savings of $130). Students and non-profits get a reduced rate of $135 (a savings of $265, that is 66% off regular registration). After May 10 the daily rate will be $125 and full registration will be $325. There is no deadline for the reduced non-profit rate.

* Book your room early. This is one of the most expensive areas in the Pittsburgh area. Fortunately, the Radisson Conference Center is offering a special room rate until May 22. See details below.

* Many meals are included in the registration fee. Full registration includes the Sunday evening reception; breakfast, lunch, poster session with beverages, and the ASMR awards banquet on Monday; breakfast and lunch on Tuesday; and breakfast and lunch on Wednesday.

* Find a Roommate. Maybe you have a friend that is attending that might enjoy saving some money. Or maybe you would like to make a new friend. WPCAMR staff might be able to hook you up with registrants who would be willing to share a room.

* Carpool. Chances are someone from your area or along your route is attending. WPCAMR staff can hook you up with other registrants who are willing to carpool. What a great way to do more networking!

* Apply for a Scholarship. If after you have made all of the above considerations and you find that you still need financial help to attend, scholarships will be made on a reimbursement basis to Pennsylvania non-profit representatives and Conservation District employees. The amount of reimbursement will be based on need and amount of requests received. A scholarship application will be available in a few days at www.treatminewater.com/scholarship10.htm.

Now that we have your interest, here’s what you need to do so you won’t miss out:

* Go to or conference website www.PghMiningReclamationConf.com to register, get the most up-to-date schedules, and other details to plan your trip

* Financial assistance to attend the conference is available to those in need. Please be aware that financial assistance will only be granted as a reimbursement to Pennsylvania non-profit and Conservation District representatives. You must first pay for the conference and then ask for reimbursement.

* You don’t have to attend the Conference to go on the Boat Cruise and you may pay separately the day of the event.

* Special conference room rate of $108.00 per night plus tax ($15.12) will be offered until May 22. Reservations can be made by calling the hotel at 1-800-395-7046. Be sure to mention the Joint Mining Reclamation Conference to secure the Conference rate.

 

291 Pennsylvania Ave Cleanup Results 2010-04-15 12:04:06

Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation

Wyoming Valley Watershed PRIDE

(People Reaching Into Dumps Everyday)

Cleanup Results

Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR) has completed another cleanup! With the help of 26 volunteers on two Saturday morning cleanups (3/20 & 3/27), EPCAMR has cleaned up a 5.78 acre area along Pennsylvania Ave. and High Street in Wilkes-Barre. In this area we collected and disposed of more than 4.5 tons of municipal solid wastes (plastic and glass bottles, plastic bags, shopping carts, TV’s, air conditioners, children’s toys and strollers, mattresses, furniture, bicycles, etc.). This garbage alone filled a 40 cubic yard roll-off dumpster higher than the brim. Wilkes-Barre City offered assistance by taking almost another ton of recyclable waste (steel woven cables, and various metal objects) to a scrap yard, and 44 tires to a recycler. Pictures are available on our EPCAMR Facebook Fan site Cleanups Photo Album.

Your browser may not support display of this image. EPCAMR would like to thank our volunteers, many of whom were King’s College and Wilkes University students who were members of their respective higher education’s Environmental Clubs, for donating their Saturday mornings and Wilkes-Barre City for providing Public Works workers, and the use of a pickup truck and front-end loader to help out. Petroleum Service Company, Wilkes-Barre Housing Authority, and Luzerne County Rail & Redevelopment Corporation granted us permission to enter their properties, Louis Cohen and Sons (Fellow’s Ave., Hanover Twp.) for providing the dumpster, and OnSite Portable Toilets (Sugarloaf) for a restroom facility for the volunteers. We would like to thank the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority for donating six cases of spring water, and a deal with Jones’ Pizza & Pub (Hazle St. in Wilkes-Barre) for donating pizzas to replenish the volunteers after their hard work.

EPCAMR received a $16,000 grant from the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Waste Management in April 2009. The non-profit has partnered with dozens of local community groups to secure the funding to work on multiple locations throughout the Wyoming Valley and has a 12 year history of conducting community cleanups throughout the Anthracite Region. Also, PA CleanWays has been a partner with EPCAMR over the years and has provided educational materials to community residents to prevent future dumping incidents from occurring. PA DOT provides gloves and garbage bags.

Within the next few months EPCAMR, with the valued help of volunteers, will be ridding Luzerne County of trash, tires, garbage, household wastes, demolition debris, and other discarded items located at several illegal dump sites throughout the Wyoming Valley. The majority of the dumping that goes on in local community open spaces, where apathy is high, access to sites is unlimited, and policing of the sites is virtually non-existent. There needs to be a change the mindset of local residents that illegal dumping will not be tolerated. Robert E. Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director emphatically stated, “We don’t accept the mentality that it is alright to dump garbage wherever you want just because the landscape has already been scarred by mining. We’re trying to teach our children that this is unacceptable and a quality of life issue for our residents, their health, their children’s future, and the environment. EPCAMR would like to promote the PA CleanWays Adoption Program with local governments and community groups to establish additional signs and cameras to make dumpers more aware that people are becoming more vigilant and on guard in the future.”

EPCAMR would like to recruit additional volunteers for future cleanups to increase our volunteer base within the Wyoming Valley and other restoration projects in various communities to build upon our earlier successes. If you would like to offer a hand, contact Leigh Ann Kemmerer or Robert E. Hughes to learn how to sign up and get notified of more details. Cleanup dates will be scheduled on Saturdays until the end of June 2010. Volunteers can expect to work for at least a 4 hour shift to assist with any of the cleanups. Get more details on www.orangewaternetwork.org or EPCAMR’s Facebook page. Just search EPCAMR on Facebook to become a fan.

 

288 Growing Greener Projects Will Improve the Economic and Environmental Health 2010-04-13 17:55:00

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

Dept. of Environmental Protection

Commonwealth News Bureau

Room 308, Main Capitol Building

Harrisburg PA., 17120

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

04/5/2010

CONTACT:

Tom Rathbun, DEP

717-787-1323

DEP: 88 Growing Greener Projects Will Improve the Economic and Environmental Health of Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG — Addressing some of Pennsylvania’s most pressing environmental challenges, the Department of Environmental Protection today announced more than $16.5 million in Growing Greener funding for projects that will clean state waterways, restore stream banks, prevent flooding, reclaim mine-scarred lands and reduce pollution.

“During the past seven years, Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener program has delivered more than $237 million to local communities to improve the quality of our waterways, address serious environmental problems at mine sites and make communities more livable,” said Secretary John Hanger. “Growing Greener has also sparked economic redevelopment by providing the tools and funding needed to tackle tough environmental issues and restore the state’s natural resources.”

The funding awarded today includes $12.6 million in Watershed and Flood Protection grants and $3.9 million in federal funding for Non-Point Source Pollution Control grants.

Grants range in size from $6,145 to the Cameron County Conservation District to address invasive species and repair riparian buffers along the Sinnemahoning Creek to $664,500 to the Schuylkill Headwaters Association to design and construct a system to treat the 1.7 million gallon-per-day discharge of mine drainage from the Mary D Borehole into the Schuylkill River.

More than 1,300 Growing Greener Grants have been awarded since 2003. These grants have funded new and innovative drinking water/wastewater treatment systems, dam improvements, open space acquisition, repairs and upgrades of fish hatcheries, wildlife habitat development, acid mine drainage abatement, industrial site revitalization, community parks and recreation projects, acid mine discharge treatment, abandoned mine reclamation, watershed protection, and advanced energy projects through Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority.

The funds are distributed to non-profit organizations, watershed groups and county and municipal governments to address local and regional water quality issues.

A complete list and descriptions of the Growing Greener grants announced today by DEP may be found online at: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/growing_greener/13958/watershed_grants/588895

 

287  PA Watershed Summit 2010 2010-03-22 13:48:53

Saturday, May 1, 2010

7:30 a.m. , 4:30 p.m.

Ramada Inn Conference Center

State College, PA

Please join the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, the PA Department of Environmental Protection, and the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management at Robert Morris University in promoting the health and future of Pennsylvania’s waterways on Saturday, May 1, 2010.

Citizens from all walks of Pennsylvania’s watershed community will have the opportunity to share their expertise and wisdom, as well as learn from peers. Participants will include community watershed organizations, Trout Unlimited chapters, and sportsmen’s groups, along with environmental professionals from conservation districts, government agencies, academia, and consulting firms.

On Saturday, May 1, the Summit will begin at 8:20 a.m., with one of our keynote speakers. There will be eight breakout sessions, each of which will be offered twice during the morning and will focus on the areas of organizational development and technical assistance.

The Organizational Track will cover topics relating to board development, community engagement, and financial opportunities and diversity. The Technical Track will offer information on Datashed, volunteer monitoring, available resources for community watershed organizations, and the current issues surrounding Marcellus Shale gas well drilling.

Our second keynote speaker will present after lunch. Attendees will then work together to prioritize their expectations for the incoming Governor of Pennsylvania and meet the newest allies in the efforts to renew Growing Greener.

Please come early to enjoy our Friday evening reception featuring appetizers, a cash bar, and opportunities to network with colleagues and other professionals in the display area.

For more information and registration please visit

http://pawatershedsummit2010.wordpress.com/

 

286  Dominion & the Western PA Conservancy Award EPCAMR $500 2010-03-05 13:41:17

AMD Environmental Education Outreach Programs Targeted for Tioga & Lycoming County Schools in the Northern Tier

(Ashley, PA),EPCAMR was chosen as 1 of 68 proposals within Dominion’s service area in the Northern Tier to help support our AMD Environmental Education Programs to be able to reach students in Tioga and Lycoming Counties who live in watersheds impacted by AMD. Hands-on programming about watersheds, AMD impacts, community volunteerism, recycling of iron oxide, monitoring water quality of local streams, and education on local solutions to treat mine drainage will be discussed in the classrooms. EPCAMR will present our AMD Chalk Talk, Tie Dye, and Comedy Skit Educational Programs built upon the already popular AMD Avengers vs. The Pollution Posse Activity/Coloring book created several years ago by the EPCAMR Staff. EPCAMR Staff will be attending an awards ceremony to receive a $500 check and join a luncheon on Thursday, April 8th, 2010 at the Chestnut Ridge Resort, Blairsville, PA to be recognized and to provide the staff with networking opportunities with other award winners. The event will also offer a workshop designed to assist the management of non-profit organizations as a bonus training experience.

The funds will go towards educational material supply costs and travel to get to the Northern reaches of our service area. “The ability to obtain grant funds and material supplies to be able to travel 2.5 hours north to conduct our environmental education programs is a need that EPCAMR currently has limited our ability to reach even further into the Bituminous Coal Region,” stated Robert E. Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director. “This funding will allow us to conduct a few more programs that we might not otherwise have been able to do in this area. The Northern Tier is a beautiful place to visit and work with the students. Our work over the years with Blossburg Elementary and many of the community groups in the Northern Tier has been successful, however, we wish we had more travel funds to be able to make the drive more often,” regretted Mr. Hughes.

EPCAMR will partner with its regional partners in the Northern Tier to introduce the AMD Education Programs to some of the elementary schools in the area with the help of the Carey Entz, Lycoming County Conservation District Watershed Specialist, who supported our application and is currently working with a local watershed association on Larry’s Creek that is impacted by AMD, and other groups like the Tioga County Concerned Citizens organization, Blossburg Rod & Gun Club, Tioga River Watershed Reclamation, Inc., who work in the Tioga River watershed. EPCAMR Staff will coordinate with these regional partners to network with the local schools to be able to come and provide several programs to students from 4-7th grade.

Financial support for this project is provided by the Dominion Foundation, which is dedicated to the economic, physical, and social health of communities served by Dominion companies. The grant program is being administered by the Western PA Conservancy in commitment to its core mission of conserving PA’s diverse ecosystems through science-based strategy, leadership, and collaboration. ###

 

285    WBACTC FFA RECEIVES LIVING TO SERVE GRANT 2010-02-23 15:58:19

The national FAA organization recently awarded more than $400,000 in rural youth development grants to 65 FFA chapters across the country including the chapter at the Wilkes-Barre Area Career and Technical Center. $4,000 was awarded to Mrs. Janice Leiby’s horticulture class to fund their “Avondale Community Garden Project”.

On September 6, 1869 a mine fire killed 110 miners at Avondale, near Plymouth. The WBACTC is in partnership with the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation to implement the plan along the Susquehanna Warrior Trail located in Plymouth Township.

The grants are administered by USDA’S National Institute for Food and Agriculture through the national FAA organization. The FAA’s mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agriculture education.

Pictured here are: Mr. Frank Majikes, WBACTC principal, Keith Konze, Percell Wilson, Samantha Shotto, Mr. Peter Halesey WBACTC acting director, Robert Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director , Mrs. Janice Leiby, advisor,

Micheal Hewitt, EPCAMR Program Manager, Leigh Ann Kemmerer, EPCAMR Illegal Dumpsite Clean-Up coordinator

 

284  Intern to Instill PRIDE into the Wyoming Valley coordinating cleanups 2009-12-08 17:44:48

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 12-8-09

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Leigh Ann Kemmerer, Illegal Dump Site Cleanup Specialist-570-371-3522

Intern to Instill PRIDE into the Wyoming Valley coordinating cleanups

EPCAMR would like to welcome Leigh Ann Kemmerer, a recent graduate of King’s College, Wilkes-Barre, PA, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Science. As a student, Leigh Ann completed a variety of courses ranging from Ecological Statistics, Wildlife Ecology and Management, to Ecotoxicology. Many of the courses were hands-on performing fish population surveys, electrofishing, and benthic macroinvertebrate sampling. She was also a two year member of the Environmental Club at King’s.

She recently completed an internship with the Susquehanna River Basin Commission assisting with various projects utilizing state and federal protocols for water quality sampling, biological, habitat assessment surveys, and launching/retrieving remote monitoring devices on watersheds close to Harrisburg impacted by sedimentation and storm water runoff and on the E. Branch Fishing Creek, Columbia County on acid deposition. Leigh Ann contributed to the development of Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) dealing with acid deposition.

She also spent three months studying abroad in Queensland, Australia, a few years ago, doing a range of research techniques in a highly fragmented and endangered mountain-forest ecosystem. The research contributed to long term goals that are major factors in rehabilitation projects in that region.

Leigh Ann previously interned with the Luzerne Conservation District where she completed a Wetlands Delineation Course with the Army Corps. Much of her time was spent with private consultant engineers on inspections with other District Staff in the Erosion and Sediment Control Department, assisted with stream bank assessments and stream corridor damage due to severe flooding occurrences in 2006, and assisted with several workshops including installing backyard wildlife habitats and pond installations.

She also had previously provided volunteer support to EPCAMR during an AMD tour in Luzerne County with youth from the Children’s Service Center from Wilkes-Barre that had not been previously exposed to many outdoor areas throughout the Wyoming Valley. Along with fellow interns, she harvested iron oxide from several AMD sites to use in an EPCAMR Anthrascapes AMD Art Exhibit and for educational outreach programs, including tie dye t-shirts and chalk.

Robert Hughes, Executive Director enthusiastically stated, “Leigh Ann comes to EPCAMR with a background that is sufficient for any intern to enjoys the outdoors, who already has a familiarity with abandoned mine drainage, is someone who doesn’t mind mucking around in orange water and getting her hands dirty, and enjoys spending time with our area youth educating them on water quality and ways in which they can help through volunteer efforts, such as community cleanups.”

Leigh Ann will be designated as the Illegal Dump Site Cleanup Specialist intern for the Winter and early Spring 2010 working 10-15 hours a week helping EPCAMR to plan for the Spring 2010 Cleanups once the snow and ice recede. She will be seeking community volunteers, neighborhood groups, and college students from the Wyoming Valley to participate in these future cleanups. She’ll be preparing press releases, seeking grant opportunities, and working to put together a small display on illegal dumping on abandoned mine lands and the hazards it presents, working with our state-wide partners, PA Cleanways and the PA Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Waste Management.

“I look forward to helping clean up the Wyoming Valley and exposing as many people as possible to the beauty of our area as a reason why history should not be repeated. Keeping garbage out of our streams, keeps future generations safer in our scenic part of Pennsylvania.”

 

283 Art sculpture exhibition to be held in Pioneer Coal Mine 2009-09-08 12:19:37

The WYSO Foundation in association with the Pioneer Tunnel Coal Mine and Train Tour is excited to exhibit a selection of original sculptures in the coal mine. The art show will be exhibited through the month of September 2009 and may very well be the first art sculpture exhibition to be held in a coal mine. On September 23 @ 6PM WYSO Foundation curator, Steven Lichak, will be there to provide some insight.

Schedule:

Weekday Mine Tours -11 AM, 12:30 PM & 2 PM.

Weekend Train & Mine Tours Continuous, 10 AM – 6 PM.

Last Train Ride- 5:00 PM, last Weekend Mine Tour- 5:30 PM.

Call 570-875-3850 or 570-875-3301 or visit The Pioneer Coal Mine and Train Tour Website for more details.

 

282  STAGE IS SET FOR EPCAMRs AMD AVENGERS TO BE AN INTERACTIVE COMEDY 2009-09-03 16:36:34

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Contact Robert E. Hughes-EPCAMR for details

570-371-3523

September 2, 2009

STAGE IS SET FOR EPCAMR’s AMD AVENGERS AND POLLUTION POSSE TO BECOME AN INTERACTIVE THEATRICAL COMEDY AND ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION SKIT AT GREATER NANTICOKE AREA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

(Nanticoke, PA) EPCAMR has once again been able to secure a PA Partners in the Arts Grant Program from the PA Council on the Arts and the Scranton Area Foundation to support our environmental education and outreach to local schools on mining impacts in our region. EPCAMR was recently informed that our application for funding was approved for $1408, around half of what was originally requested, nevertheless, a substantial amount to assist us with the development of a theatrical comedy skit and performance involving 4th grade students that will educate them on abandoned mines, anthracite coal, water pollution, mine drainage, land reclamation, and the work of EPCAMR to restore our watersheds and reclaim our land previously impacted by mining. The funds will be used for set and costume designs. Props will be used and created to enhance and make the students more aware, symbolically, of the meanings and representations of various themes of the skit. A project will be purchased to project large colorful pictures of mine drainage, coal mines, mine water, fossils, volcanoes, geologic eras, dinosaurs, swamps, and other images of abandoned mines and real people in our communities making a difference to clean up our environment. A mini-microphone system will be used to narrate the skit and a fog machine will add a fun and cool element of swamp bogs during the times of the dinosaurs to the stage. EPCAMR will probably be looking for a sponsor to help us print up a booklet similar to a PLAYBILL to introduce the audience to the students, their roles, parts, and EPCAMR.

EPCAMR will be receiving its grant award along with other 2009 grant recipients at a celebration and media event on Thursday, September 17 , 20009, at 5:00PM at The Scranton Cultural Center’s Masonic Temple, in downtown Scranton.

The project will entail the creation of backdrops and set designs based on EPCAMR’s hugely popular AMD Activity Book, “The AMD Avengers vs. The Pollution Posse”.

The skit will bring nearly 30 pages from the Activity Book to life on stage. EPCAMR is going to partner with the Greater Nanticoke Area 4th Grade Elementary Class to cast its first production. It is anticipated that it can then be taken to other school districts and potentially nature camps, and performed as a part of our environmental education and outreach programs. Many students will get to become actresses and actors for the skit. The idea is to engage and involve the student body audience as well with interactive role playing and decision making processes based on educational activities and learning experiences contained with the Activity Book.

The students will get to read lines, narrate, act, act silly, come up with impromptu mannerisms for the characters in the Activity Book and make people laugh.

There are several interactive games that will be incorporated into the skit used by EPCAMR in many outdoor field settings in the past. We are hoping to do a dress rehearsal before school lets out in the Summer, possibly for the student body, and maybe at the Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre, if the space is available. A play book for the production will be produced by the students of the Greater Nanticoke Elementary 4th Grade as well.

EPCAMR is reaching out to The Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre, Arts YOUniverse, Costumes by Barbara, Bloomsburg University’s Drama Department, and the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble for volunteer assistance and guidance in creating the unique and creative set designs, backdrops, props, and costume designs. We are also going to encourage the parents to get involved by helping their children create some of the small props that will be assigned to them as a part of the set designs that EPCAMR will be building and creating.

EPCAMR hopes to teach the students how to artistically express themselves, make fun of themselves, and create a fun and educational learning atmosphere based on the combination of art, science, the environment, and local mining history. EPCAMR will evaluate the project by having the students fill out a questionnaire towards the end of the project as to whether or not they enjoyed the experience and learned significantly more information about the impacts of abandoned mines in their community as a result of our program. EPCAMR is targeting the underserved school districts in Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties for the effort and are hoping to expand it into the region once all of the bugs are worked out of the skit.

Robert emphasized, “The Greater Nanticoke Elementary School District has always been receptive to any grants or educational programs that EPCAMR could bring to its students over the last 5 years or more, whether it was AMD Tie Dye T-shirts, creating Iron Oxide Chalk, or Watershed Education Tours on AMD. Dr. Scott, one of the school’s principals has always welcomed EPCAMR into its school district with open arms and has been very accommodating to scheduling the programs with EPCAMR. The teachers that we’ve worked with over the years really have enjoyed our Programs and seem to like having us come back from year to year. I can’t see them turning down another great opportunity to continue to educate the students in our community when mine drainage is the worst pollution problem the entire school district is surrounded by in the Newport and Nanticoke Creek watersheds.”

State government funding for the arts depends upon an annual appropriation by the Commonwealth of PA and support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. PPA is administered in this region by the Scranton Area Foundation.

 

281 EPCAMR AMD AVENGERS AND POLLUTION POSSE CHARACTERS EMERGE FROM ACTIVITY BOOK 2009-09-01 14:19:54

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

CONTACT: ROBERT E. HUGHES-EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR; 570-371-3523

SEPTEMBER 1, 2009

EPCAMR MINE DRAINAGE AVENGERS AND POLLUTION POSSE CHARACTERS EMERGE FROM THE ANTHRACITE REGION’S ACTIVITY BOOK COME TO REAL LIFE

(Ashley, PA) As Executive Director and co-creator of the “AMD Avengers vs. The Pollution Posse” Activity Book and the characters and story lines that are contained within the book, during the Fall 2008, upon receipt of the Scranton Area Foundation’s Project Partners for the Arts Project Stream $1691 in funding, EPCAMR began to work with our volunteer AmeriCorps position, Carly Trumann, and co-worker, Mike Hewitt, to think about ways to bring mining history back to life for our youth. EPCAMR has done hundreds of elementary-aged environmental education and arts programs for dozens of school districts across the Anthracite Region over the last 13 years on abandoned mines, mining, geology, biology, aquatic biology, art, and volunteerism in our communities.

Robert reminisced, “back in 2003, I came up with the idea that we needed to be creative in our approach to teaching kids about mine drainage and abandoned mine reclamation, so that it wasn’t technical and super-scientific. We wanted to make our environmental education programs fun, interactive, and exciting, with hands-on learning and outdoor experiences that were related to the local abandoned mine impacts to their watersheds. Mike and I thought it would be awesome if we could get funding to create an activity and coloring book based on different coal mining, water quality, biology, science, and land reclamation themes. Plus, we really wanted to become super heroes for the environment related to the line of work that we were in. What’s the chance of there being any other comic book super heroes fighting for water quality on Northeastern PA’s abandoned mining landscapes? Not even Captain Planet has stopped by!” We worked with several artists and graphic design friends of ours to begin to put the character designs and their traits on paper and it eventually led to EPCAMR purchasing the outright copyrights on all of the characters we created in the activity book, “The AMD Avengers vs. The Pollution Posse” at that time.

Prior to Halloween 2008, EPCAMR was working with a well-respected artist in the Wyoming Valley, and good friend of Robert’s, Kathleen Godwin, another resident of Plymouth Township, and collaborator for the creation of Arts YOUniverse, Wilkes-Barre, where a mansion full of talented artists live, teach, work, and inspire other young artists alike. It is the goal of Arts YOUniverse to develop inexpensive art programming for each member of the community. She had assisted EPCAMR with pulling together a two week AMD Anthrascapes Art Exhibit several years ago where we had over 50 artists create pieces or artwork that contained iron oxide in one format or another.

Robert recalls, “I remember meeting Kathleen in 2006, when I was completing my Leadership Wilkes-Barre classes and she had this string with a notepad hanging from the ceiling of Arts YOUniverse where she had told community leaders from the class to sign, if they ever had a passion for art and wanted to make a connection through her. She said she would do her best to make our wishes come through. I signed up and said that I eventually wanted to secure funding to put a comedy play or theatre performance based on our Anthracite AMD Activity Book and create costumes for all of the characters and the stage settings. Not even a year and a half later, after helping EPCAMR to come up with ideas for the grant, we were prepared to submit the application to the Scranton Area Foundation for funding to begin designing costumes and coming up with a draft skit. She came through for me big time! She is one of my most favorite inspiring artists in the Valley.

Although the grant took some time to develop and honing in on a potential funding source, she suggested that EPCAMR talk with Barbara Gavlick, another local artist and costume designer from Luzerne. EPCAMR took her advice quickly and followed up. EPCAMR had initially made contact with Barbara just before the Halloween rush, so we decided after talking on the phone that we would meet up to discuss EPCAMR’s ideas for costume designs for many of the characters that are in our Activity Book, in the late Fall, around Thanksgiving.

After Thanksgiving, EPCAMR took a trip to her Costume Shop on Main Street in Luzerne, and had a wonderful and exciting time going over some great ideas for each of the characters. Robert exclaimed, “You could see the wheels spinning in our heads as we started to come up with fresh and creative designs! We were all smiles at that point.” She wanted to think about things over the Christmas Holidays and meet back up with EPCAMR after the New Year. She asked EPCAMR to write up some of our costume ideas and get them to her in the meantime, which we did.

EPCAMR is sure that if she hadn’t been so busy in the Fall 2008 with the Halloween Season, which was obviously her busiest time of the year, we may have been able to get a few more characters completed with this project before it closed. However, she was able to complete 8 costumes out of the 14 main characters. She left the 4 hardest ones until the end of the project, which were the D-9 Bulldozer, Gobba “˜da Pile, the Limestone Cowboy (Robert’s costume) and Dolomite (Robert’s horse), Swampy (Robert’s co-worker -Mike) and Wart (Mike’s Bull Frog). EPCAMR is going to complete them under a separate project funding stream request.

In June 2009, Barbara was able have EPCAMR pick up the following 5 characters: Fe Rock, Mang Rock, & Silt Rock (The Toxicity Trio), Coal Face, and Filamentous Algae. We began using the Toxicity Trio at a Nature Camp this summer at Hickory Run State Park and the kids loved the costumes. In early August 2009, we were able to pick up 3 more costumes: Brooky the Trout, Pyrite O’Brian, and Al Floc. Towards the end of the month, EPCAMR Staff made a trip to the Salvation Army, where we thought it would be most appropriate to purchase our additional clothing accessories and props for as many costumes as possible and give back to another local charitable non-profit organization in the community. With a puzzled expression on his face, Mike said, “We were like two kids in a candy store with about $100 and we couldn’t even spend it all, yet our cart was full. We got every kind of clothing accessories you we could think of in all kinds of colors. We’re talking colors of the rainbow!”

The skits have been morphed into an idea by Robert to become a comedy play that we’d like to perform on-stage with a willing elementary school from the area, complete with sets, backdrops, additional props, narration by the kids, art in motion, and local children playing each of the characters on stage that will have silly mannerisms and an interactive presence with the kids that aren’t in the actual play. We have gotten a commitment out of a local elementary school principal from the Greater Nanticoke Area’s 4th grade class to participate and we will be following up with the Little Theatre of Wilkes-Barre for assistance and receiving set design volunteer assistance from a Theatre Group from Bloomsburg University, where we have a tie, through our most recent summer Environmental Education Specialist Intern, Kyra Norton.

280  NATIONAL AWARD WINNING MAGAZINE, ORION, HELPS RAISE $ FOR OUTDOOR SUPPLIES 2009-08-28 13:49:23

For Immediate Release:

August, 28, 2009

Contact Robert E. Hughes-570-371-3523

NATIONAL AWARD WINNING MAGAZINE ORION HELPS EPCAMR RAISE $300 FOR OUTDOOR SUPPLIES TO GET KIDS IN CREEKS

Several months ago, as an added benefit to our membership to the Orion Grassroots Network (OGN), ( www.orionmagizine.org )a group that assists grassroots non-profit organizations by providing services that allow them to be engaged in ecological, economic, and cultural changes within their region had challenged EPCAMR to go out and get votes online for a small fundraising campaign to suit our needs. EPCAMR was asked to be a part of the OGN’s newest program, the Wish List, where $300 was going to be awarded to 1 of 5 member groups who had to go out and solicit the most on-line votes over a 30 day period for a project or program that they needed funds to support. EPCAMR had put out the call for help to its volunteer base for votes and was chosen by other OGN members as the top vote getter for our “Kids in Creeks” Campaign to get our youth into abandoned mine drainage streams and healthy streams for outdoor environmental education learning experiences and won by a landslide!

Erik Hoffner-OGN Coordinator, and Scott Walker, Orion Society-Marketing Director helped get set up an on-line funding drive at www.fundable.com , a website that allows people to pledge whatever they can towards a project they care about. These drives are wonderfully risk-free, no one pays anything if the goal isn’t reached in the given time frame of 26 days. Pledges came in over a 3 week period, and we met our goal. The OGN will have helped EPCAMR meet our goal of getting kids wet come this Fall when school starts and our outdoor environmental education programs ramp up.

EPCAMR decided to zero in on things that they needed to better allow their staff of two and occasional seasonal interns to reach more youth who don’t get the opportunities to explore the outdoor environment in formal school settings and have not learned much about local environmental issues plaguing their local watersheds, particularly with abandoned mine drainage in the Anthracite Coal Region of Northeastern PA.

EPCAMR needed waders for kids, bug viewers to look at and identify aquatic macro-invertebrate insects (bugs), triangular and vertebrate aquatic nets to catch fish, laminated 3-D bug scans to more closely identify aquatic insects, and a guidebook to the Ecology of Aquatic Insects. All of these supplies for just around $300! We focused on the waders for the most part.

Robert Hughes-Executive Director of EPCAMR, who created the campaign, emphasized, “We focused our campaign on getting waders for the kids to actually get them in the streams, regardless if they are orange-colored or not. They need to experience first hand, in the water, the impacts to the health of the stream ecosystem and the delicate balance it faces when pollution from abandoned mines is all around them. They don’t realize that it is entirely possible for them to be a part of the solution in the future to cleaning up their hometown watersheds, should they go into an environmental field of interest. We tell them that you can’t judge a stream by its color. You need to get in them to discover how to clean them up, if you want to be a part of the solution.” “We want to continue to support place-based environmentalism, related to nature and our environment, and ways in which we can engage our youth to participate actively and not turn their heads away from the past mining scars in our region, but to tackle them head on in the future as we are today!”

EPCAMR was featured in The Orion Magazine in February 2007 as a spotlight member organization.

###

 

279 HISTORIC AVONDALE MINE DISASTER, 140th ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATIONS, SEPT. 6th 2009-08-27 11:41:08

For Immediate Release:

August, 24, 2009

Contact Robert E. Hughes-570-371-3523

From the Anthracite Living History Group, Greater Plymouth Historical Society, Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR), Plymouth Township Planning Commission, the Anthracite Heritage Museum, and the Washburn-Avondale Restoration Committee.

HISTORIC AVONDALE MINE DISASTER, 140th ANNIVERSARY COMMEMORATIONS, SUNDAY, SEPT. 6th

The public is cordially invited to three free-of-charge historical preservation events in Scranton and Plymouth Township that will commemorate the 140th anniversary of the Avondale mine disaster of September 6, 1869, anthracite’s most deadly mining disaster with 110 victims.

10:30 , 11:45 a.m., September 6, 2009, Washburn Street Cemetery, Hyde Park, Scranton

Victims’ memorial program (colors, taps, memorial reflection, and speakers), plus the dedication of refurbished grave stones and the unveiling of a historical marker. 61 of the disaster’s 110 victims are buried at this cemetery, all of Welsh descent. Sponsored by the Washburn-Avondale Restoration Committee.

1:00 , 3:00 p.m., September 6, 2009, Anthracite Heritage Museum, McDade Park, Scranton

Avondale educational and cultural program with speakers, entertainment, literature display, and refreshments. Sponsored by the Anthracite Heritage Museum.

6:30 , 7:30 p.m., September 6, 2009, Avondale Disaster Site, Route 11, Plymouth Twp.

Avondale memorial program (memorial reflections, tributes, and speakers) on the site of the Avondale disaster, immediately followed by refreshments at the Plymouth Township Municipal Building. Sponsored by the Anthracite Living History Group, the Plymouth Historical Society, Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR), and the Plymouth Township Planning Commission. Visitors will be able to view and hear about the progress that has been made over the last year to construct three community gardens at the site, removal of graffiti, construction of a concrete platform for benches that will soon be secured at the site, wildlife habitat enhancements to the site with the addition of some bluebird boxes, and future plans to beautify the location. Additional local financial support and community volunteers are needed to keep the project moving along steadily.

For further information and directions please contact EPCAMR (570-371-3522) or Chester Kulesa at the Anthracite Heritage Museum (570-570-963-4804).

 

278 EPCAMR Staff Makes GIS Presentation at 19th Annual ARIPPA Technical Convention 2009-08-26 12:07:44

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact:

Robert E. Hughes, Executive Director for details-570-371-3523

EPCAMR Staff Makes GIS Presentation on Waste Coal and Anthracite Abandoned Mine Pools Study at 19th Annual ARIPPA Technical Convention in Harrisburg

(Harrisburg-PA)

The EPCAMR Staff, consisting of a two-man road show and jack of all mining trades when it comes to abandoned mine reclamation and mine drainage remediation in Eastern PA, Robert E. Hughes-Executive Director, and Michael A. Hewitt-Program Manager were invited to the ARIPPA’s 19th Annual Technical Convention, in Harrisburg on August 25th, 2009 and they made the best of their opportunity to present. They appeared before the Independent Power Producers Association Board of Directors, who are a state-wide trade association of Co-Generation Facility Operations, product companies, and service providers to that industry that are utilizing waste coal piles to generate electricity that is being sold back to the National Power Grid system, and are reclaiming abandoned mine lands, and helping to remediate future mine drainage problems at sites across the Commonwealth, where these operations are located.

EPCAMR was asked by Jeff A. McNelly, Executive Director, of ARIPPA, and board member of EPCAMR, representing the ARIPPA Co-Generation Industry, to make their highly requested Geographic Information System (GIS) Mapping Tool presentation, called RAMLIS (the Reclaimed Abandoned Mine Land Inventory System) to the Board of Directors, who largely consisted of General Managers from the Co-Generation Facilities across the State, on possible ways that EPCAMR could assist the ARIPPA Plants in the future through possible seasonal water quality monitoring associated with their circulating-fluidized bed boiler ash projects on abandoned mine sites where it is being used as a beneficial use by-product for reclamation in order to fill deep stripping pits in both the Anthracite and Bituminous Regions of PA.

EPCAMR Staff were able to make a 45 minute presentation on dozens of datasets, geographic information system (GIS) layers, which are natural resource points of interest related to abandoned mines such as boreholes, mine tunnel entrances, stripping pits, dangerous highwalls, culm banks, waste coal processing facilities, active mining sites, streams impacted by abandoned mine drainage, watershed boundaries defined by areas that are covered by a community group in a particular region of PA, and water quality data points and databases as well. Much of the presentation focused on the locations of where the Co-Generation Facilities were located in the Anthracite Region, the environmental impacts surrounding those facilities due to past mining practices, mine discharge points, culm banks, stripping pits, and a sneak peak at the underground hydrogeological connections from one mine pool system to another, particularly, in the Western Middle Anthracite Coal Fields.

EPCAMR Staff were able to show 3-D models and video animations of the structural geology of the Buck Mountain marker coal seam and areas above this particular bed in the Mt. Carmel area, that have been mined out to allow the members in attendance to see where mine pool water exists and approximate locations of the elevations of those pools, based on accurate elevations of existing borehole data for the region and the elevations at which AMD flows from abandoned mine tunnels, shafts, slopes, and other boreholes in the area.

Software used by EPCAMR to create the accurate reflection of the underground hydrogeology was able to show underground contour elevations of some of the coal reaching nearly 5000 to 7500′ deep, particularly in the areas of the Sharp Mountain range, outside of Pottsville, where dangerous cropfalls, extend deep beneath the mountain, into deep Anthracite Mines.

EPCAMR informed the ARIPPA members that what they do not have is an accurate reflection of the number of acres being reclaimed by the Co-Generation Facility industry and that is would be very useful to have to assist, not only EPCAMR, but the Commonwealth of PA in reducing the overall numbers of acres to be reclaimed of abandoned mines in PA. There has never been a comprehensive study of waste coal piles in the last decade or more to accurately reflect the amount of materials that are still out on the landscape in PA. There are still nearly 190,000 acres of abandoned mine lands left unreclaimed in PA and over 5,500 miles of streams impacted by AMD. Nearly 11 Million Tons of CFB-ash has being beneficially used at abandoned mine sites throughout PA. Over 2 Billion Tons of waste coal have been burned as an alternative energy fuel source in PA. Approximately 4500 acres of waste coal piles have been reclaimed in the last 20 years. EPCAMR would be wiling to partner with the industry to update those numbers into our GIS RAMLIS System for the cost of the time to put it together. Several industry representatives followed up with the EPCAMR Staff following the presentation and are interested in meeting with them to discuss future possibilities. Cogentrix, in Northampton County, and NEPCO, in Schuylkill County, were two industry representatives who would like to know more about our services. NEPCO is willing to provide EPCAMR with additional mine maps that we do not have at our fingertips to be able to add more accurate information to mining areas around McAdoo and the areas impacted near the Little Schuylkill River and Silver brook Creek, along State Route 309.

Harvie Beavers, Chairman, of the ARIPPA Board, commented at the end of EPCAMR’s presentation to Mr. McNelly, “It was one of the best technical presentations that our Board has seen in a long time, and it was nice to see that these two young guys have found themselves a niche in the reclamation business.”

Images: GIS Mine Pool Mapping Files for the Western Middle Anthracite Coal Field in

ArcView (right) and EarthVision (left)For other details about the presentation, contact ARIPPA directly.

Jeff A McNelly, Executive Director,

2015 Chestnut Street Camp Hill PA 17011

Phone: 717 763 7635, Fax: 717 763 7455 Cell: 717 319 1457

Email: jamcnelly1@arippa.org, Alt Email: office@arippa.org Web: www.arippa.org

 

277 LRCA seeking funds to treat acid mine drainage 2009-08-11 15:50:01

by shari sanger (staff WRITER)

Published: August 10, 2009

The Lackawanna River Corridor Association is exploring ways to remove acid mine drainage from the Lackawanna River and possibly develop private investment and related business opportunities.

“It’s been one of our long-term goals to get the acid mine drainage at the Old Forge borehole and the Duryea outfall under control, and we are developing proposals and attempting to secure funding to get a study under way,” said Bernie McGurl, executive director of the community-based, nonprofit group.

He said the study would be the first step in a complicated process to get the area placed on a list of qualified sites eligible for application of federal mine reclamation funding.

“We think the problem … should not be the responsibility of the citizens. It’s long been recognized that it’s a problem of federal importance, so it should receive federal funding to help remedy it,” Mr. McGurl said.

The borehole – which can easily be spotted because of bright orange rocks downstream – is the discharge point for a huge underground reservoir of groundwater from hundreds of abandoned coal mines that underlie much of the Lackawanna Valley.

The water becomes polluted as it picks up minerals from the coal and enters the river, he said.

A wider problem

“We believe it’s significant and in need of remediation because it flows right into the Susquehanna River and into the Chesapeake Bay,” Mr. McGurl said.

He said the lower Lackawanna River is classified as a problem because it exceeds the maximum daily load for iron by thousands of pounds.

Unlike a separate project proposed by local inventor Chris Gillis, who is looking to divert the flow of the borehole through a network of settling areas and gently agitate the iron from the water, the association is looking for a broader-based solution.

“I don’t believe there is any single solution; it’s going to take a range of solutions,” Mr. McGurl said.

Mr. Gillis has also proposed harvesting the metal removed from the water and selling it in up to 12 potential markets.

Scientific approach

The association’s focus, however, is more on developing scientific and engineering resources to study ways to treat and mitigate the pollution from the drainage points in Old Forge and Duryea, rather than selling anything.

Mr. McGurl said the association is also looking to involve a broad sector of the community in decision-making that will hopefully lead to the creation of a large master plan for the lower Lackawanna River.

The association’s initial funding applications are for about $170,000 – the estimate for preliminary engineering studies.

Mr. McGurl said it could cost another several hundred thousand dollars to create a measurement apparatus to determine how much water is flowing through the borehole system.

The association has received a $30,000 grant from the Willary Foundation in Scranton but is looking for matching funds.

Looking for help

The group recently submitted funding proposals to the state Department of Environmental Protection, Lackawanna County commissioners and Susquehanna River Basin Commission.

“If we get all the funding together, we will be making an announcement to launch a program,” Mr. McGurl said, adding it would combine both public investment of mine-reclamation funding and support from private investment in industries.

He said the association, throughout the entire process, would work closely with the two boroughs and residents, who own sizeable pieces of the 2,000 acres of abandoned mine land along the west side of the river.

“They will be major partners with us as we try to develop an understanding of all the variables that affect the borehole,” he said.

Contact the writer: ssanger@timesshamrock.com

 

276 EPCAMR Looking for Volunteers to Participate in Wyoming Valley Cleanups 2009-08-03 14:25:32

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact Robert Hughes-EPCAMR Executive Director

or Leigh Ann Kemmerer Illegal Dump Site Cleanup Specialist for details

570-371-3522 or 570-371-3523

Wyoming Valley Watershed PRIDE (People Reaching Into Dumps Everyday) Upcoming Cleanup!

Volunteers Needed!

EPCAMR would like to continue its effort in cleaning up Northeastern PA’s illegal abandoned mine land dump sites and other trash-filled locations, and is looking for your help and community-wide organizations to participate! Within the next few months we will be seeking volunteers to join us in ridding Luzerne County’s Wyoming Valley, of trash, tires, garbage, household hazardous wastes, demolition debris, and other discarded items located at several illegal dump sites throughout the Wyoming Valley. The work will range from painting over graffiti filled walls with anti-graffiti paint, building community gardens, preserving the historic Avondale Mine Disaster location, to removing thousands of tires from old coal flats near the floodplain to mountaintop stripping pits located right alongside of township roads.

EPCAMR received a $16,000 grant from the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Waste Management in April 2009 and is awaiting a fully executed contract before proceeding with work over the late Summer and into the early Fall 2009. In advance of the work beginning, EPCAMR would like to obtain volunteers (Church Groups, School Clubs, Scout Troops, Boys and Girls or any other community organization or resident that is interested in taking PRIDE in their community) to assist with cleanups. EPCAMR has partnered with dozens of local community groups to secure the funding to work on at least 5 locations throughout the Wyoming Valley.

Gloves and garbage bags are all provided by PA DOT. PA CleanWays has been a partner of EPCAMR’s over the years and has educational materials that we will be able to provide to community residents to prevent future dumping incidents from occurring. EPCAMR has a 12 year history of conducting community cleanups with volunteers throughout the Anthracite Region. EPCAMR’s relationships are strong with these community groups because the majority of the dumping that goes on in the heart of the Northern Anthracite Region is in their backyard, apathy is high, access to sites is unlimited, policing of the sites is virtually non-existent, and it is where there is a need to change the mindset of local folks that illegal dumping should not be tolerated.

Robert Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director emphatically stated, “We don’t accept the mentality that it is alright to dump household wastes wherever you desire just because the landscape has been scarred once. We’re trying to teach our children that this is an unacceptable behavior and it is a quality of life issue for our residents, their community, their health, their childrens’ future, and ultimately, the environment. EPCAMR would like to promote the PA CleanWays Adoption Program with local governments and community groups to establish additional signage to make dumpers more aware that people are going to become more vigilant and on their guard in the future.”

Come join us at a site near you! EPCAMR would really like to recruit additional volunteers for our Cleanups to increase our volunteer base within the Wyoming Valley for future restoration projects in other communities to build upon our earlier successes.

Become a volunteer with Leigh Ann Kemmerer, EPCAMR’s Illegal Dump Site Cleanup Specialist who has assisted with the organization and coordination of this season’s cleanups. It is unbelievable the amount of work that EPCAMR has been able to get done in partnership with all of the volunteers in the Anthracite Region. EPCAMR has a hands-on approach to getting the job done and they work side by side with local residents and youth to actively take part in restoring PRIDE to many communities throughout the Wyoming Valley. EPCAMR is very well-established and respected by many community leaders.

Cleanups will be taking place at the following locations:

1. Pennsylvania Avenue & Dana Street in Wilkes-Barre, along the outside bend of the train tracks

2. Hick’s Creek illegal roadside dump along EPCAMR’s natural stream channel design project along Schooley Ave, Exeter Borough

3. Canal Street Floodplain Area behind the old Apex Auto in West Nanticoke

4. Two small illegal strip mine pits dump sites on Curry Hill and Smith Row in Plymouth Township

5. Avondale Mine Memorial site located just off of Route 11 along the future Susquehanna Warrior Trail, Plymouth Township

If you would like to offer a hand, contact Leigh Ann Kemmerer or Robert Hughes at 570-371-3522 to learn how to sign up and get notified of when the cleanups will occur. Dates have not been set just yet, but volunteers can expect to work for at least a 4 hour shift to assist with any of the cleanups. See details on www.orangewaternetwork.org or EPCAMR’s Facebook page for upcoming dates. Just search for EPCAMR on Facebook and become a fan.

EPCAMR is also registered with Disney’s “Give a Day Get a Disney Day” program.

Give a Day Get a Disney Day Website

Enter our Zip Code (18706) and either Community or Animals and Environment in the Volunteer Opportunity Interest Area box to sign up for a free ticket to Disney!

 

275 Hope for Avondale Mine Disaster Site through Community Revitalization! 2009-08-03 10:04:13

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact Robert Hughes-EPCAMR Executive Director

or Kyra Norton-EPCAMR Environmental Education Intern for details

570-371-3522 or 570-371-3523

Hope for Avondale Mine Disaster Site through Community Revitalization!

The Avondale Hill community was the site of the deadliest mine disaster in Anthracite coal mining history. On September 6, 1869, 110 men and boys perished in the mine where they were trapped by a suspect fire which began in the mine shaft. After the disaster, relief funds were taken for the families of the dead miners and many laws were passed for mine safety to prevent disasters of this size from occurring again. Since then the Avondale site has become almost forgotten. All that stands there now is a small historical marker, a circular raised bed garden along State Route 11, and the colliery ruins of the old patch town buildings which have become overgrown by shrubbery, thickets, and invasive plants in the floodplain.

Today there are a few organizations that still look after the site and are trying to preserve its history. EPCAMR is one of these organizations. They are trying to complete projects at the site to revitalize it.

A few community organizations have been trying to change the image and memory of the disaster location for several years now so that its history can be told and the site can be visited. EPCAMR and the Anthracite Living History Group have coordinated dozens of volunteer efforts with community partners such as the Wilkes-Barre Area Vo-Tech Machine Shop & Horticulture Class, and several local Boy Scout troops to revitalize the site along the Susquehanna Warrior Trail, which was once the active Delaware, Lackawanna, & Western Railroad. One such project includes cleaning up the illegal dumping that is currently taking place at Avondale.

EPCAMR received a $22,000 Illegal Dump grant from the Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Waste Management to do cleanups throughout the Wyoming Valley at 5 locations over the next year, Avondale included. The work will require tire removal, dumpsters, and volunteers to pick up the trash. EPCAMR also received anti-graffiti paint and rollers donated by PA DOT thanks to Keep PA Beautiful Coordinator Dave Rinehimer. The paint will be rolled in several coats that may be necessary to remove the unsightly graffiti, possible gang-related tags, and vulgarities that are on the underpass near Avondale and also the foundation walls at the site where several raised bed gardens are under construction, the engine house that parallels State Route 11 before you enter the Avondale Hill community, and several other buildings dating back to the Avondale Colliery. The paint will also make future cleanup of any additional graffiti tags by young ignorant youth easier to remove.

Two of EPCAMR’s interns, Kyra Norton and Shawn Jones have jumped at the opportunity to assist with the project before they head back to college in mid-August to help EPCAMR finish the beautification project along the underpass and at several other locations within the next two weeks. PA DOT has provided us with 10 gallons of paint, and several rollers to start off. Once the State budget is passed, they will be able to provide us with additional anti-graffiti paint, rollers, and brushes.

Once all the cleanup work is done, EPCAMR will place gardens near the foundation wall that will be planted with native species of wildflowers and shrubs. Constructions of the raised beds are in place and some additional work and funds need to be generated to complete the work at the site. There will also be tables and benches at the site for people to use to sit and rest or have picnics. Two message-post kiosks will be placed at the site so passer-bys can pick up some educational material about the history of the site and will show various interpretations and vantage points of the old historical structures and the mine shaft. There is also hope of placing a nature trail around the wetlands near the site which will hopefully be linked to the Susquehanna Warrior Trail in the future.

EPCAMR hopes to make this project a success by having community involvement in the site preparation process and planting of the gardens. The community will also be called upon for the light maintenance and upkeep of the site after its revitalization. Robert Hughes, Executive Director for EPCAMR, and Avondale Hill resident, emphatically stated, ” For too many years now after having put in hundreds of volunteer hours alongside of Plymouth Township residents and like-minded historical preservation folks who want to see the Avondale Mine site properly remembered, it’s time to take back our community’s heritage and sense of pride. We have the location of the most significant Anthracite Mining Disaster in US History, right in our backyard, and I guarantee you that many of our children don’t know about it, many residents don’t know about it, and thousands of tourists and outdoor recreationists would love to hear about it.”

 

274 ARIPPA ALTERNATIVE ENERGY PLANTS RESTORE OVER 4500 ACRES OF AML IN 2008 2009-07-29 15:50:58

NEWS RELEASE ARIPPA

2015 Chestnut Street Camp Hill PA 17011

Fax: 717 763 7455

Email:office@arippa.org Web: www.arippa.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

Jeff A McNelly, Executive Director,

Phone: 717 763 7635

ARIPPA ALTERNATIVE ENERGY PLANTS RESTORE OVER 4500 ACRES OF ABANDONED MINE LANDS AND MILES OF DEGRADED STREAMS IN 2008

Environmentally Beneficial Electric Generating plants remove waste coal and utilize beneficial use ash to reclaim lands back to their natural beauty”¦without any expenditure of tax dollars.

CAMP HILL , In recognition of Earth Week, ARIPPA’s Executive Director Jeff A McNelly reported today that the waste-coal-to-alternative-energy industry reached a significant milestone in its ongoing efforts to reclaim damaged abandoned mine reclamation lands. The industry now totals (data recording began in1988) over 4,500 acres of reclaimed mine-scarred lands which will also restore life to hundreds of miles of formerly dead streams.

McNelly said that he is proud that the industry has reached this significant milestone and is happy to add the industry’s successful efforts (without the use of tax dollars) with those of PADEP. PADEP recently announced that they had successfully restored 960 damaged acres at an approximate tax-payer cost of 32 million dollars.

“Our industry’s successful efforts without the use of tax dollars together with the Commonwealth’s tax-payer supported efforts add up to a dedicated and concentrated effort to rid our lands of the significant environmental hazards that abandoned mine lands have created” McNelly stated. “Such hazards endanger the public and limit economic development and recreational opportunities in mining communities”, he added.

“Reclamation efforts by our industry, valued at approximately 90 million dollars has positive effects not only on the directly improved community, but also on many other affect counties nearby, and government efforts which utilize tax-payer dollars”. McNelly emphasized.

CFB (Circulating Fluidized Bed) clean-coal technology, universally utilized by the industry, annually generates approximately 10% of the total electric generation in the Commonwealth of PA”¦supplying hundreds of thousands of homes and industry with much needed alternative energy, while at the same time directly and indirectly employing approximately 2500 workers and pumping millions of dollars into the economy.

Collectively the industry has removed and converted over 145 million tons of waste coal into alternative energy. Its removal and conversion efforts added together with the highly regulated use of beneficial ash to reclaim environmentally damaged lands makes it one of the few environmentally beneficial alternative energy industries in the world.

Pennsylvania has approximately 180,000 acres of abandoned mine lands dating back to when coal mining began in the commonwealth in the 1700s. More than two billion tons of waste coal sits in piles across the state and an estimated 4,600 miles of rivers and streams are degraded by mine drainage. PADEP has determined that it would cost approximately 10 billion dollars of tax-payer funds to correct these problems

Twenty years of operational and environmental industry data indicates that the conversion of waste coal into alternative energy is generated in a safe manner at near capacity levels with a high degree of availability.

In recognition of these factors ARIPPA, the non profit trade association representing the industry, annually recognizes and awards member plants with exceptional operational industry data results. Awards being announced today include availability, capacity, environmental achievement, and safety. The awards will be distributed at the annual ARIPPA Tech-Symposium Awards Luncheon held August 26, 2009 at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey.

For more information, visit www.arippa.org

Editor’s note: The following is a list by county of the ARIPPA member plants and their correlating awards achieved in 2008. These awards will be presented at the annual ARIPPA Tech-Symposium Awards Luncheon held August 26, 2009 at the Sheraton Harrisburg-Hershey.

Capacity: Anthracite- Northampton County Northampton Generating Co (97.32%)

Bituminous- Cambria County Cambria CoGen Co (99.76%)

Availability: Anthracite- Northampton County Northampton Generating Co (97.51%) Single Boiler

Anthracite- Carbon County Panther Creek Partners (93.73%) Multiple Boilers

Bituminous-Clarion County Piney Creek, L.P. (94.82%) Single Boiler

Bituminous-Cambria County Cambria CoGen Co (99.76%) Multiple Boilers

Safety: Anthracite- Delaware County Kimberly Clark-Chester Plant

Carbon County Northeastern Power Co,

Schuylkill County WPS Westwood,

Schuylkill County Wheelabrator Frackville

Bituminous- Cambria County Cambria CoGen Co,

West Virginia American Bituminous Power,

Cambria County Inter-Power-Colver,

Clarion County Piney Creek, L.P

Environmental Achievement: Schuylkill County Schuylkill Energy Resources

 

273 Geothermal Energy Potential of Mine Pools Warm Cool Audience at PA Conference 2009-07-28 15:45:43

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact Robert Hughes-EPCAMR Executive Director

or Kyra Norton-EPCAMR Environmental Ed. Intern for details

570-371-3522 or 570-371-3523

This year’s conference was focused around the theme “Challenges and Opportunities in Interesting Times” and was held at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown’s Living and Learning Center. There was a total attendance this year of 168 people, 37 speakers, and 31 vendors over the four day Conference.

This year’s conference began with a tour of abandoned mine discharges in the Stonycreek Watershed on Monday afternoon. Sites visited on the tour ranged from recreational and economic benefits of upstream mine water treatment at Whitewater & Greenhouse Parks, windmills on reclaimed abandoned mine sites, to mine discharges and treatment systems throughout the Stonycreek Watershed. A very moving and solemn visit was also included on the tour to the Flight 93 temporary Memorial Site. The final stop on the tour was at the Windber Coal Heritage Center, where conference attendees learned about the coal mining heritage of Windber and the recent mining disaster at Quecreek.

The presentations began early Tuesday, July 14th. Bob Bastian, State Representative (retired) for Bedford and Somerset Counties, started the day off with some very good advice on how to reach your local representatives and his background growing up around AMD. The 37 speakers gave presentations based on two tracks: Abandoned Mine Reclamation or Coal Mining Heritage. The Abandoned Mine Reclamation presentations varied from topics such as Economic Impact of Abandoned Mine Drainage Cleanup, Geothermal projects, Manganese Oxide Recovery, Manure and Minelands, and panel discussions on funding, technical assistance, and grant writing assistance. The Coal Mining Heritage track had presentations that focused on the History of the Paint Creek Watershed, Taylor Colliery Historic Brownfields Redevelopment, Anthracite Coal Heritage, OSM/VISTAs in PA, and the Johnstown Area Heritage Association.

Tuesday evening was the formal dinner where the Annual Mayfly Award was presented to this year’s recipients: Bob Hedin, Hedin Environmental, and Dr. Art Rose, Emeritus Penn State professor. The Mayfly Award is presented to those who exhibit long term efforts in addressing mine drainage remediation projects in PA and has contributed greatly towards cleaning up PA’s environment from abandoned mine drainage impacts. Another announcement made at the dinner was that Joe Pizarchik from the Bureau of Mining and Reclamation will be appointed the next Director of the Office of Surface Mining by the Obama Administration. PA DEP Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation also highlighted the AMD Set Aside Program Implementation Guidelines and how watershed groups now must obtain a Hydrologic Unit Plan designation for their watersheds before becoming eligible to receive Set Aside funds. Many more topics of a wide variety were presented and the attention spent by the audience to the details of each of them was great.

Other activities that took place at the conference were Coal Mining Heritage videos after dinner on Tuesday, a Rockband2 competition led by the EPCAMR Staff, and an optional tour Thursday by PA Trout Unlimited, the Clearfield County Conservation District, the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Coalition, and Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority took attendees to AMD Remediation sites in the West Branch of the Susquehanna River (Cambria County).

This years videos were “Hard Coal: Last of the Bootleg Miners” and Centralia “The Town that Was.” The Rockband2 Competition also took place Tuesday evening after dinner where teams competed for prizes.

Robert Hughes-Conference Coordinator-EPCAMR, and Andy McAllister-WPCAMR Watershed Outreach Coordinator were able to convince one of our international attendees to speak; an impromptu international speaker, Gerard Shaw, Corporate Legacy Manager from Canada’s Cape Breton Development Corporation. Robert stated enthusiastically, “Gerard was able to fill in for our opening speaker on Wednesday and talked about Canada’s abandoned mines, submarine mining and reclamation efforts off of the coast of Nova Scotia, and Canada’s interest in geothermal energy potential from mine pools. His presentation was well received and very interesting depicting pictures of the coal mining operations that proceed under the ocean to the length of 8 miles out to sea. Andy and Robert were able to talk to him on the tour and at the Conference to see if he’d like to have an opportunity to give a Canadian perspective on the work that we are doing here in PA and what they are doing up North. It was a good catch”

On Wednesday evening, the Johnstown Area Heritage Association welcomed attendees to a Mixer at the JAHA Discovery Center. The 5 story building was well preserved and many options for the attendees to visit were available during the 3 hour event. A rooftop natural biodiversity native plants garden was exhibited. The Children’s Museum was toured and attendees even were able to go down a large slide normally left for the amusement of children. Historical and cultural displays were abound. The mixer took place on the 5th Floor’s Ethnic Club where attendees gathered and networked around a very rustic mahogany bar.

On behalf of the 2009 AMR Conference Planning Committee, EPCAMR would like to thank everyone who attended this year’s conference, all of our sponsors, particularly, PA DEP, Foundation for PA Watersheds, US Department of Interior-Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement, PA Environmental Digest, Gander Mountain-Johnstown Store for their Gander bucks, Gannett Fleming, Mackin Engineering, Trout Unlimited, and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, our exhibitors, and vendors-Land & Mapping Services and Lime Doser Consulting. Without any of these people, the conference would not have been possible.

Pictures from the AMD Tours and Conference Happenings have been posted on EPCAMR’s Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/pages/EPCAMR/95647429094) site and all conference presentations will be posted on the www.treatminewater.com website shortly. Hope to see everyone at next year’s conference, Bridging Reclamation, Science, & the Community at the Green Tree Hotel in Pittsburgh from June 5th , 11th, 2010.

The 12th Annual PA AMR Conference will be coordinated in partnership by the PA AMR Conference Planning Committee and the 27th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Mining & Reclamation, Appalachian Regional Reforestation Initiative, and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement. Check out the link www.PghMiningReclamationConf.com for further details. The “Science, Community, and Reclamation (SCR)” Session will be particularly geared towards community watershed organizations working on AMD issues.

 

272 EPCAMR Goes Green with Orange Chalk Talks 2009-07-02 13:41:00

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Contact Robert Hughes-EPCAMR Executive Director

or Kyra Norton-EPCAMR Environmental Ed. Intern for details

570-371-3522 or 570-371-3523

Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation has taken large efforts towards cleaning up local streams affected by abandoned mine drainage throughout the Anthracite Region. Staff and interns from EPCAMR have developed alternative beneficial uses of Iron Oxide that is being recycled after harvesting, extraction, and drying from the Lackawanna and Susquehanna River tributary streams. A very popular program developed by EPCAMR is making recycled Iron Oxide chalk with local elementary students from what was once a pollutant in our local streams. Recent chalk programs with local schools were sponsored in part by the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resourced and the National Park Service. Funding from this grant allowed EPCAMR to reach out to over 1,400 students in 6 months and teach them how they can help in EPCAMR’s efforts to restore streams impacted by past mining practices.

LHVA granted EPCAMR $500 which went towards chalk molds, plaster of Paris, the printing of the chalk boxes created by the EPCAMR Staff and cups. These supplies were then used at several local schools to create the Iron Oxide Chalk. Robert E. Hughes, Executive Director of EPCAMR and author of the successful grant stated enthusiastically, “The Iron Oxide Chalk making process is relatively simple. Add dried Iron Oxide powder to a Dixie cup half full of Plaster of Paris, add tap water, and mix until smooth. Kids then can choose any kind of mold to pour to create the chalk which usually takes a few hours to set up and harden. Kids chose from molds that looked like stars, fruit, sports, fossils, trees, hearts, frogs, flowers, smiley faces, lady bugs, and peace signs. The grant paid for dozens of molds which can also be used for making chocolate candy. Sometimes, the kids want to eat the chalk because they look like candy, but we strongly advise against the temptation”, he says with a laugh.

The first program sponsored by the LHVA grant was with elementary aged students from Wilkes-Barre Boulevard Townhomes at the John B. McGlynn Learning Center for Martin Luther King Jr’s Holiday where approximately 23 kids participated. During Earth Week the chalk program was also conducted with 75 college students from Luzerne County Community College. On Earth Day, EPCAMR conducted another chalk program at Wilkes-Barre Riverfront Park with nearly 1,000 students from dozens of school districts in the area. There was a chalk program conducted at Bear Creek Elementary Charter School’s After School Program, Luzerne County, with 12 students. EPCAMR also reached out to Greater Nanticoke Area Elementary School where the entire 3rd grade class consisting of 200 students participated in an Iron Oxide Chalk Talk Program. Another program conducted through the LHVA grant was with John Marshall Elementary 4th Graders in Scranton, PA where 60 students participated. EPCAMR even got 25 Wilkes University Freshmen students involved in making chalk for EPCAMR while learning about service learning and volunteer opportunities with our non-profit organization.

Some of the chalk made at these programs was then donated back to EPCAMR. Some was donated back to the students who made the chalk, while the rest was donated to Malikar High School, overseas. Malikar High School is a new school opening in Afghanistan where EPCAMR has a friend in the Army who is helping to rebuild Afghanistan schools and infrastructure. A 10 pound box of Iron Oxide chalk containing over 1000 pieces has been donated to Malikar High School as an opening gift for the school and will be presented to the students during their dedication of the school Summer 2009. Students who participated in the Chalk Programs were told about the chalk donation to Malikar High School and were glad they could help other children who had no chalk or resources to learn.

EPCAMR expresses our greatest appreciation to all those who participated in our Iron Oxide Chalk Programs and a special thank you goes to the Lackawanna Heritage Valley Authority in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the National Park Service for sponsoring these efforts to help clean up our streams by recycling the iron oxide by making chalk and conducting other children’s activities. EPCAMR plans on continuing to do the Iron Oxide Chalk Talk programs when school starts in the Fall 2009.

One 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Haarmeyer, from John Marshall Elementary, stated, “Thank you, Mr. Hughes, once again, for presenting to our 4th grade class. We welcome your return in the next school year, for the original program as well as AMD Tie Dyes. You take pollutants and transform them into an educational, artful experience for children. You were able to weave your scientific and geological knowledge of Northeastern PA into an exciting journey. Every 4th through 6TH grade student in the Lackawanna Valley should be encouraged to attend one of your AMD Iron Oxide Chalk Talks. Every business that relies on clean tap water should be encouraged to support Mr. Hughes’ Project at EPCAMR.”

 

271 Internship Program Brings Two Students on Board for the Summer 2009-06-03 18:09:32

Boost Outreach Efforts on AMD for EPCAMR

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE —May 18th, 2009

Contact: Robert E. Hughes

570-674-3411

SHAVERTOWN, PA ,

Kyra Norton, a senior at Bloomsburg University set to graduate in December 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Geography & Environmental Planning has joined the EPCAMR Summer Internship Program through a collaboration previously established with Bloomsburg University’s Career Placement Office. Kyra is from the Berwick area, is a member of the Geography Honor Society (Gamma Theta Upsilon) and the Geography & Planning Society. She has participated in previous illegal dump site cleanups, recycling efforts, and teaching students and others how they can do their part to help protect the environment. She has a background in landscape design, AUTOCAD, working with youth, and interacting with college students on a daily basis through her previous work in the Bloomsburg University’s Admissions Office.

Kyra, who started on May 11th has already assisted EPCAMR with conducting 5 Iron Oxide Chalk Talk presentations with the Greater Nanticoke Area 3rd Grade Class, where we made over 1000 pieces of recycled iron oxide chalk for sidewalk art and the classroom out of recovered mine drainage from within the GNA School District’s very own watershed, the Nanticoke Creek. So far, over 180 students have participated in the program. Several more programs area lined up before school is out in both Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties. Kyra has also learned how to process, dry, sift, and blend, our iron oxide into the fine powder form that allows us to sell it to groups who would like to conduct AMD Tie Dye T-shirt Workshops that EPCAMR has been doing for nearly 10 years. This past Sunday at the Bear Creek Festival in Schuylkill County, Summit Station, Kyra assisted EPCAMR Staff, Mahanoy Creek Watershed Association members, and Tamaqua Area High School students in our annual AMD Tie Dye T-shirt Workshop, where over 350 t-shirts, donated by ALCOA Aluminum Products Company, were hung to dry on a makeshift clothesline of twine and rope that extended twice up and down the one side of a 120′ long section of a pole building. Robert E. Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director jokingly said, “She’s only a week into the internship! There is plenty more in store for her as the summer progresses! She’s been caught red-handed in our world of AMD already and I think that she really enjoys it.”

Shawn Jones, a sophomore this year at Montana State University is studying Land Rehabilitation and specializing in soils and hydrology, which no other university in the nation offers. He is also pursuing a double minor in Soil Science & Geographic Information Systems (GIS). He has taken a few courses on hydrologic principles, plant identification and basic soil texturing. This summer, while home from the West, he hopes to get his hands out of the books and into the dirt, well, abandoned mine drainage, and culm, to apply some of his classroom learning experiences. Shawn grew up in Wilkes-Barre and graduated from G.A.R High School.

Both students seem highly self motivated and are goal oriented people, who pay great attention to detail. Their work ethic should carry over nicely for the Summer with EPCAMR. We need team players. “We count on interns who are not afraid to take and show initiative to assist our organization with building local capacity in our coalfield communities given our limited resources, staff abilities, and budget,” emphasized Robert E. Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director. “They give us a real shot in the air with some of our Summer Outreach and Education Programs,” he added.

Shawn has a passion and knowledge for digesting all kinds of information on the land and history of the Anthracite Coal Region of Northeastern PA. The coal mining heritage is something that runs deep in his family, as many of them were members involved in mining before the Knox Mine Disaster. With his major, he feels like he can continue carrying the torch, by helping reclaim the mine scarred lands damaged by his past family members without even realizing it, out of necessity. He mentions that he was inspired in his senior year at G.A.R. Memorial, through the Watershed Program coordinated by the PA DCNR Bureau of State Parks, the Luzerne & Lackawanna Intermediate Units, and EPCAMR, to go into the environmental field to seek out new ways to reclaim our environment, restore waterways impacted by mining pollution, and to clean up our coalfield communities littered with illegal dump sites. It wasn’t until he was mentored by the EPCAMR Executive Director that he really decided that EPCAMR’s line of work, our profession, project management, environmental education and outreach opportunities to teach and learn about local mining history was for him. “Most students in the Watersheds Program saw it as a ticket to get out of school for awhile, but it really made an impact in my life.” said Shawn enthusiastically.

Shawn’s first day consisted of putting together a list of 32 schools that EPCAMR has to send a box of donated iron oxide chalk to from a few weeks ago at an Earth Day Program where we promised students to deliver their teacher a surprise package. He also attended a two hour workshop on how to incorporate Social Marketing into your non-profit’s tool box and will be building a profile for EPCAMR on FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE, and Idealist.org.

270 Residents protest river cleanup 2009-06-03 17:58:03

Project will remove iron oxide from the mine water draining into the Lackawanna River.

RALPH NARDONE Times Leader Correspondent

DURYEA , Borough officials thought Friday’s meeting would involve taking a few minutes to authorize some bills.

But just before adjourning, council members were forced to respond to several protests from taxpayers who questioned council’s authority to proceed with a Lackawanna River cleanup project.

Council Chairman Alfred Akulonis fielded accusations from two former council members who claimed the borough moved ahead on a $790,000 mine water reclamation project without giving the public any say. Akulonis denied any breaches of proper procedure.

Audrey Marcinko, a former council member poised to retake a seat on council next year due to her win in the recent primary, admonished Akulonis for authorizing the project without doing the necessary research on its value to the community.

The project, funded by gambling grant money from the state Department of Community and Economic Development, will remove iron oxide from the mine water draining into the Lackawanna River from a bore hole in Old Forge, according to Akulonis.

Marcinko accused council of using grant money that could have been used for city streets and sidewalks for a project she called an “experiment.”

She said the value for the iron oxide has not been determined.

Akulonis pointed out the grant for the river project did not hinder acquiring sidewalk grants. They were two separate grant applications, he said, and the state decided “the river is more important.”

Akulonis accused Marcinko of not supporting cleaning up the river.

“You don’t want the water clean,” he said.

She fired back she has proven her support for river cleanup for years.

Akulonis said after the meeting the iron oxide taken from the river could be sold for up to $1 million annually. It is used in all types of wood-staining products, he said.

At the June 9 meeting, the borough will have a public hearing concerning the iron oxide removal.

Within six weeks, a trailer with equipment will be set up somewhere downriver from the Old Forge borehole to start testing the water to determine if it represents a good source of iron oxide. Akulonis said he is confident it is.

In other discussions, former council member Don MacRae questioned the council on the $27,000 authorized for a new park behind the borough building. Akulonis said the money was from another state grant and is not a cost to the borough.

 

268 Register for the Pennsylvania Statewide Conference on Abandoned Mine Reclamation 2009-05-22 12:09:57

Registration is now open for the Pennsylvania Statewide Conference on Abandoned Mine Reclamation and Coal Mining Heritage. Please visit www.treatminewater.com for more details.

2009 Theme: “Challenges and Opportunities in Interesting Times”

When: July 13-16, 2009

Where: The Living / Learning Center on the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown campus in Johnstown, PA.

This year’s conference will focus on the following topics:

* Renewable energy ties to abandoned mine lands and mine drainage

* Brownfields, grayfields and mine scarred lands redevelopment

* The implementation of SMCRA Title 4 and 30% Set-Aside Program

* Mine pool water reuse

* Policy dealing with abandoned mine lands and mine drainage

* How to prevent an AMD remediation project from being “railroaded” quickly

* Pennsylvania Coal Mining History

* Tour of local sites

 

267 Hard Coal Films to be Screened at the Anthracite Heritage Museum 2009-03-30 10:35:46

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Chester J. Kulesa

March 26, 2009 (570)963-4804

Calendar Notice:

When: Sunday, April 26, 2009, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

What: Anthracite Coal Films Screening

Where: Anthracite Heritage Museum, McDade Park, Scranton

On Sunday, April 26, 2009, at 1 p.m., the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum will screen two documentary films. These include Marc Brodzik’s film Hard Coal as well as Chris Perkel and Georgie Roland’s film The Town That Was. The program will be introduced by Dr. J. Philip Mosley, Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Penn State Worthington Scranton and member of the Anthracite Heritage Museum and Iron Furnaces Associates. Dr. Mosley will also lead a discussion after each film. A mid-afternoon break will offer refreshments. This film program is free and open to the public.

The film Hard Coal: Last of the Bootleg Miners has won the Best Feature Documentary Award at the 2009 DIY Film Festival in Los Angeles, and an official selection of the 2009 Carolina Film Festival and 2009 Buffalo-Niagara Film Festival. The film The Town That Was is the story of the coal seam fire under the town of Centralia, and the efforts of the youngest remaining resident, John Lokitis, to keep his hometown alive.

The Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum is located in McDade Park, off Keyser Avenue, in Scranton (Exits 182 or 191-B off I-81, and Exit 122, Keyser Avenue, from I-476). OPEN HOURS: Monday through Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday, 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m. Admission is charged for the Museum’s main exhibit, Anthracite People: Immigration & Ethnicity in Pennsylvania’s Hard Coal Region. Admission to a temporary exhibit, The Great Anthracite Coal Strike of 1902, is included. Call the Museum at 570-963-4804, or see www.anthracitemuseum.org, for more information.

This program is being held in conjunction with the 2009 theme of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) entitled Energy: Innovation and Impact. This theme focuses on energy and the effect it has had on the Commonwealth. See for yourself how energy fueled Pennsylvania and the developing nation by exploring PHMC historic sites and museums along the Energy Trail of History. For more information on stops along the Energy Trail of History, visit www.paenergytrail.com.

The Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Individuals with disabilities who need special assistance or accommodations to visit the Museum should call the Museum at 570-963-4804, in advance to discuss their needs. Pennsylvania TDD relay service is available at (800) 654-5984.

 

266 Projects vie for slice of stimulus 2009-03-30 10:32:06

March 29, 2009

By Rory Sweeney rsweeney@timesleader.com

Staff Writer

For three straight years, Dallas resident Jim Abrams has attempted to land Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority funding for his biofuel-production company, and he’s been denied each time. But with the federal stimulus package pouring millions into the program’s coffers, the 2005 Kings College grad is confident this is the year.

“Oh definitely,” said Abrams, the director and, with his father, co-founder of EthosGen. “We fully believe, based on the technological progress we’ve made, increasing our revenue, increasing our staff in the past year on our own merits, we believe that can only be positive.”

Now focused on producing the ingredients needed to make biofuels , a sugar substrate and a high-energy cellulosic material , EthosGen has already signed a contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to build one of its greenhouses. Requiring no resources from the soil, the scalable facilities are designed to grow a prolific, high-energy grass and then support the chemical reactions necessary to produce basic biofuel materials.

“We’re a little more of a hybrid farmer,” Abrams said, noting that he was able to sit down with Gov. Ed Rendell on Thursday to pitch his idea.

He said his idea fits in well with the stimulus’ goal.

“That’s one of the things about alternative fuels: You’re creating high-paying, sustainable jobs for the long term,” he said. “You can’t ship biofuels. These biomass jobs are going to be in the U.S. for the foreseeable future.”

Plus, he said, his project would make an impact immediately if it got funded. “We can use that money now. That’s one of the things we’ll use with our story to the state , we’re ready to go,” he said.

Christopher Gillis’ project isn’t as focused on energy and hasn’t progressed as far as EthosGen, but he’s still hoping to get a slice of the nearly $500 million being pumped into the state’s energy programs.

“We are anticipating that within the next year, some of that money will come through, and whether it comes through a federal agency, a state agency or a county block grant, we’re unsure,” he said.

The money is part of the $787 billion economic stimulus package passed by Congress and signed into law Feb. 17 by President Barack Obama. The program includes selected tax cuts and incentives to spur certain consumer and business spending.

Gillis has a private-equity firm monitoring the situation, and he’s staying in contact with state legislators and Lackawanna County and Luzerne County commissioners. “Just about at every level, if something comes through we’ll be alerted to it.”

Ostensibly, Gillis’ project would remove pollution from acid-mine drainage flowing into the Lackawanna River from an outfall in Old Forge, but several byproducts of the system , carbon dioxide and geothermal heat , can be exploited for energy. He hopes the process, for which he’s seeking patents, is innovative enough that he’ll get some money to start building the estimated $20 million plant.

The money isn’t just for energy startups, though.

Of the $454 million available for energy projects, $252 million is for building weatherization and $102 million is earmarked for energy-efficiency and conservation grants. Regionally, Scranton will receive $718,500 from the block grants, while Wilkes-Barre will get $192,300 and Luzerne County stands to receive $2,542,200.

265 Obama proposes mine cleanup reforms 2009-03-02 10:33:18

February 27, 2009

Legislation would stop coalfield states from diverting funding

By Ken Ward Jr.

Staff writer

Read more in the Coal Tattoo blog.

President Barack Obama wants to stop coalfield states from diverting money intended to clean up abandoned coal mines to other projects.

Obama plans to submit legislation to enact the change, and on Thursday submitted a budget proposal that includes language deleting the distribution of up to $200 million a year to states that have already reclaimed all of their abandoned coal sites.

The proposal is sure to generate controversy and receive significant opposition from states like Wyoming, which has cleaned up its abandoned coal mines, but still gets nearly $100 million a year from the federal Abandoned Mine Lands program.

“This is going to be huge,” said Greg Conrad, who follows the AML program for the Interstate Mining Compact Commission, which represents mining states on such issues.

Obama’s proposal could also affect Louisiana, Montana, Texas and three American Indian tribes. But the big loser by far would be Wyoming, the nation’s largest coal-producer, which stands to miss out on $100 million a year in AML funding.

The proposal goes against a political compromise forged in 2006. Legislation passed that year extended the coal production tax that funds AML cleanups and enacted some program reforms. But it also allowed states that have completed their coal cleanups to continue using the money for non-coal reclamation, road construction and even college campus expansions.

Under the AML program, coal operators nationwide pay a per-ton tax that funds the reclamation of mine sites that were abandoned before the federal strip mine law was passed in 1977. Also under the law, states that cleaned up all of their abandoned mines were to be “certified.” Theoretically, they would then receive less money, and be able to use that money for broader purposes. But some states that finished their cleanups were never formally certified. And others that were certified – such as Wyoming – continued to receive huge sums of AML money that they spent on projects that had nothing to do with coal.

Through the 2006 legislation, states like Wyoming lost an automatic 50 percent of future AML taxes paid by their coal industries. But, they continued to receive payments from their past AML taxes, and were given more leeway to spend the money however they wanted.

Now, Obama says he wants to eliminate all payments of AML money to certified states, according to his budget proposal documents.

“The goal is to stop payments to states where the job of reclaiming abandoned coal mines is done,” said Peter Mali, a spokesman for the U.S. Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement.

The president himself singled out the AML proposal when he announced his budget, saying that Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar “will save nearly $200 million by stopping wasteful payments to clean up abandoned coal mines that just happen to have already been cleaned up.”

Budget documents explain that the proposal “would eliminate these unrestricted payments to states that have completed cleanup, saving close to $200 million in 2014.”

Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kward@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.

 

263 11th Annual PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation & Coal History Conference set for July 2009-02-26 14:44:25 2-26-09

The Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation will be taking the lead on the coordination of the 11th Annual PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation & Coal History conference for 2009, with its western PA counterpart, WPCAMR, and other state-wide reclamation partners who make up the Conference Planning Committee. The AMR Conference is set for July 13-16th, 2009, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh, at Johnstown’s Living Learning Center at the heart of the campus. This year’s conference theme will be focused around renewing the collective energy of our state-wide patch town heritage and culture to become the new green communities of the future. Alternative renewable energy sources that can potentially be derived from abandoned mine sites and underground mine water pools are two of the focus areas that are being considered at this year’s conference. The Alternative Energy Investment Act and the Alternative Fuels Incentive Act, both signed by Governor Rendell in July 2008, will provide $665.9 million of state investment in alternative energy sources, is expected to attract up to $3.5 billion in private investment in alternative energy in Pennsylvania, and 10,000 jobs.

With the national economy falling into a recession, consumers need to begin to think about leaning towards greater fuel efficiencies and more conservative energy consumption. Corporate responsibilities lie on the ability to find alternative clean energy sources that can diversify their portfolios and the need for consumptive use of our Commonwealth’s rivers and streams for purposes in the industrial gas & oil fields development. There is a growing national support for economic redevelopment that will create green jobs related to infrastructure development. PA’s abandoned mine lands and mining impacted waterways are now poised to become some of our greatest assets in our environment.

Our community watersheds have the opportunity to partner with companies that are interested in our Commonwealth’s resources on our abandoned mine lands. These problem areas could one day create sustainable communities that could decrease our carbon footprint utilizing solar, wind, hydro-electric, geothermal, and the Marcellus Shale oil & gas energy, as opposed to increasing our overall footprint based solely on fossil fuel alone. Attendees will hopefully be able to come away from this year’s conference with information not only on alternative energy sources, but on ways in which they can begin to reduce costs to their overall operation & maintenance of AMD treatment systems, reclaim additional acres of abandoned mine lands through public-private partnerships through the various power industries that will be invited, and to establish relationships with corporations from within and outside of PA. It will be incumbent upon the watershed stewards to stress and inform these corporation of the importance of maintaining our coal heritage while still shaping our communities future in our modern day society.

We are looking for industry leaders to come and exhibit and speak to PA’s community leaders and state-wide organizations that are interested in creating a marriage between these new “green jobs” that will stimulate the local economies of these watersheds, while at the same time protecting and reclaiming the sins of past mining practices on these former industrial brownfields of the mining industry. While our community leaders are stewards of our local watersheds impacted by mining, we need to work with our economic and private sector leaders to become engaged in corporate citizenship on a local level, particularly with new industry leaders who are coming into PA. We are encouraging those industry leaders to become a vendor or a sponsor and have an opportunity to speak at the conference about your corporation interests and future innovative technologies in the field of abandoned mine reclamation.

Planning for topics is ongoing as we speak. There will be a half-day tour on the 13th in and around the Greater Johnstown Area to AMD Sites, reclamation projects, municipal wastewater treatment technologies using hydroelectric generation, and other significant places of interest to remind us of our coal heritage and culture. The Johnstown Area Heritage Association is going to play a key role in this year’s conference. There will be a day and a half of abandoned mine reclamation and AMD topics as well as a day and a half of coal heritage and history topics. We are also looking for speakers related to PA coal history to provide the historical context to base future decisions upon. The last day, on the 16th will be a half day, with an optional tour planned for the PA Coal Heritage Museum in Johnstown.

The AMR conference will also focus on receiving an update from the PA Department of Environmental Protection on the status of the Title IV Surface Mining Control & Reclamation implementation plans, Set-Aside funding for AMD remediation projects, and the AMD Treatability Criteria Selection for AMD remediation projects. Can black culm banks and orange streams in our mining impacted watersheds becoming the “new green communities” of the future? Join us and find out for yourself, if you would like to become a part of the solution to our mine water pollution. Check out the conference website at 2009.treatminewater.com

CONTACT:

Robert Hughes

EPCAMR Executive Director

570-0674-3411

rhughes@epcamr.org

 

262 Avondale Hill reclamation project nearly done 2009-02-23 15:43:30

BY ELIZABETH SKRAPITS STAFF WRITER

Published: Monday, February 16, 2009 4:06 AM EST

Although the project is running behind schedule, the formerly trash-strewn pit on Avondale Hill in Plymouth Township is almost filled in and 136 acres of mine-scarred land have been cleared in a swath visible from the South Cross Valley Expressway.

The non-profit Earth Conservancy, which owns the land, would like it to be used for housing at some point.

“We have plans that area could be used for a residential kind of development,” Earth Conservancy Executive Director Mike Dziak said. “There certainly are no immediate plans. With the market conditions and the timing, that could be years.”

The key part of the project was filling in the 200-foot deep strip-mining hole, said Mike Korb of the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation.

“The pit pretty much is not there anymore. We left a small portion of it open for drainage,” said Tony Popple, vice president of Napcon, the company contracted to do the work.

It took about 5,134,800 cubic yards of material to fill the pit; there were 112,400 cubic yards of rock to excavate, and 136 acres’ worth of trees to be removed, he said.

“To be able to do the grading on the material, you have to take the trees off,” Korb said.

After the pit is completely filled in, Napcon will put in large drainage swales to control stormwater. Seventeen thousand square yards of rock will prevent erosion as the water runs down, Popple said. Since it drains toward state Route 11, it requires installation of a concrete-lined channel that runs under the road and into the Susquehanna River, he said.

The last step of the project will be to seed the entire area with grass and trees, “put in a mix of the kinds of plants animals like to eat,” Popple said. A gravel road will be put in from one end of the project to the other, he said.

The Avondale pit was a souvenir of coal strip-mining from the 1940s. Over the years it became a notorious illegal dump site, especially for used tires and large items. A tire fire in the pit in November 2001 rekindled concern about it being a health and safety hazard.

The Earth Conservancy had been trying to do something about the pit for years. In 1995, the organization proposed filling it with tons of fly ash that would be imported from around the country. It didn’t fly.

After convincing the Department of Environmental Protection the Avondale reclamation project was worthwhile, the Earth Conservancy ended up getting a $3.9 million federal abandoned mine land grant, administered through DEP.

Groundbreaking for the project was in September 2004. Completion, originally slated for October 2007, was moved to October 2008.

The safety issues at the Avondale site are remedied, but the rest of the project has fallen behind, DEP spokesman Mark Carmon said.

“The job still has some time to go. Our estimate is that we’re about 60 percent completed. We really don’t have an idea of a completion date,” Korb said.

Popple blames the delay on fuel prices. Off-road vehicle fuel is a bit less expensive than regular diesel fuel because no road taxes are imposed on it, Popple said.

When Napcon bid for the project, off-road fuel was $1 gallon, Popple said. It shot up to almost $4 a gallon and, even though it has gone down to $2 a gallon, that’s still double what the contractor expected, he said.

Not only is Napcon paying the higher fuel prices out of pocket, but the company is being penalized $950 a day for going over the deadline, Popple said.

“They don’t have any problem with the quality of our work, but we can only afford to do what we can with the fuel, then they hinder us with the penalty,” he said.

Asked for comment from DEP, Carmon said, “We’re in litigation with this contractor, so all we can say is that he fell behind on the contract and wasn’t even considered for other projects because of his past problems.”

eskrapits@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2072

 

261 GROWING GREENER PROJECTS (2008) 2009-02-20 18:00:56

N E W S R E L E A S E COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

Dept. of Environmental Protection

Commonwealth News Bureau

Room 308, Main Capitol Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

2/20/2009

CONTACT:

Teresa Candori, DEP

Phone: (717) 787-1323

GOVERNOR RENDELL ANNOUNCES MORE THAN $21.5 MILLION INVESTMENT IN 144 GROWING GREENER PROJECTS TO IMPROVE WATER QUALITY

HARRISBURG , Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced the investment of more than $21.5 million in 144 Growing Greener projects to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff and farms, treat acid mine drainage, reduce flooding and improve water quality across the commonwealth.

The funds are being distributed to non-profit organizations, watershed groups and county and municipal governments to address local and regional water quality issues.

“The vast majority of the work to improve water quality and treat Pennsylvania’s mine drainage and pollution problems is done by community volunteers and local governments, and the role of the Growing Greener program is to provide support to these organizations so that this work can continue,” Governor Rendell said. “Many of these projects are modest in size but they make significant contributions to the health of our waterways, which improves our quality of life and creates opportunities for economic development in communities affected by historic pollution or flooding problems.”

Funded projects include educational programs, scientific studies and youth volunteer opportunities such as an ongoing program that enlists local high school students to perform riparian buffer planting on local farms and streams in Crawford County. Dam removal projects that will improve streamflow and aquatic habitat will be funded in Chester, Lycoming and Montgomery counties, and funding is provided for repairs, upgrades and improvements to urban stormwater control infrastructure.

“The Growing Greener program has been a tremendous success for Pennsylvania, investing millions of dollars to help communities and local residents fix historic problems and take on new challenges in all 67 counties,” Rendell said.

Growing Greener grants are used to create or restore wetlands, restore stream buffer zones, eliminate causes of nonpoint source pollution, plug oil and gas wells, reclaim abandoned mine lands and restore aquatic life to streams that were lifeless due to acid mine drainage.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the $625 million Growing Greener II initiative in May 2005 to clean up rivers and streams; protect natural areas, open spaces and working farms; and shore up key programs to improve quality of life and revitalize communities across the commonwealth.

A detailed list of the projects is available online at www.growinggreener2.com.

###

The Rendell administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell’s initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit www.governor.state.pa.us.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a list by county of the $3.7 million in Growing Greener Non-Point Source Pollution Control grants:

ALLEGHENY COUNTY

Pine Creek Land Conservation Trust — $46,641 for the Crouse Run stream restoration project.

BEDFORD COUNTY

Broad Top Township — $49,500 for design and construction of a passive mine drainage treatment system on Brewster Hollow Run to improve water quality in Six Mile Run.

BUTLER COUNTY

Stream Restoration Incorporated — $720,245 for design and construction of a passive mine drainage treatment system at the McIntyre discharge on the headwaters of Blacks Creek.

CLEARFIELD COUNTY

Lawrence Township — $47,465 for design and permitting of a passive mine drainage treatment system to treat three mine discharges from abandoned underground mines that pollute Montgomery Creek which supplies drinking water to the city of Clearfield.

Pike Township — $110,022 to design a mine drainage treatment system on the first and most damaging set of discharges on Little Anderson Creek. The six-phase project will take three years to complete.

DAUPHIN COUNTY

Dauphin County Conservation District — $75,000 to install a liner in the final polishing pond at the Bear Creek mine drainage system to eliminate leaks.

Dauphin County Conservation District — $52,500 to install agricultural best management practices as part of the Phase II restoration of Conewago Creek.

ERIE COUNTY

Erie County Conservation District — $150,000 to implement nutrient and sediment loading reductions to improve water quality in the Trout Run watershed.

JEFFERSON COUNTY

Jefferson County Conservation District — $30,300 to complete final design of a passive mine drainage treatment system on the headwaters of the Nye Branch, a tributary in the headwaters of Pine Run watershed.

Jefferson County Conservation District — $25,300 to re-design the mine drainage treatment system for numerous mine discharges on Caylor Run.

LANCASTER COUNTY

Lancaster County Conservation District — $101,187 to stabilize 3,200 feet of eroding streambank on Mill Creek and install cattle-exclusion fencing and riparian buffers on four farms as part of Phase 1 of the Mill Creek stream restoration project.

LUZERNE COUNTY

Harveys Lake Borough — $262,534 to reduce non-point source pollution into Pennsylvania’s largest natural lake.

MIFFLIN COUNTY

Mifflin County Conservation District — $414,229 to implement cost-effective agricultural best management practices to reduce nutrient and sediment impairment in the Upper Kishacoquillas Creek watershed.

Mifflin County Conservation District — $220,084 to implement cost-effective agricultural Best Management Practices to reduce nutrient and sediment impairment in the Hungry Run Watershed.

MULTIPLE COUNTIES

League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Education Fund — $95,000 for Water Resources Education Network Grants to fund local watershed initiatives by community-based partnerships.

Luzerne Conservation District – $123,500 to provide technical advice and services to watershed groups through the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation

Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts — $143,700 to continue support of the Pennsylvania Nonpoint Source Pollution Education Office which provides education and financial support to municipalities, watershed groups, conservation districts and the general public.

Tri-County Conewago Creek Association — $222,000 for Phase II of the Hershey Meadows Stream Restoration Project to restore 2,700 feet of the Conewago Creek and create 15 acres of wetlands.

Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation — $123,500 to provide technical advice and services to watershed groups through the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation.

WESTMORELAND COUNTY

Borough of Mount Pleasant — $475,250 to retrofit commercial and residential stormwater systems with volume control and infiltration best management practices in a priority watershed impaired by urban stormwater runoff.

Jacobs Creek Watershed Association — $167,500 to design and install bio-retention stormwater volume control on municipal and commercial parking lots as part of the Scottdale Stormwater Retrofit Project.

###

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a list by county of the $3 million in Growing Greener Abandoned Mine Drainage / Abandoned Mine Lands Reclamation grants:

ALLEGHENY COUNTY

Horticultural Society of Western Pennsylvania — $226,300 to design a network of underground drains and ponds to collect and treat mine drainage discharges for use in irrigation at the Botanic Garden of Western Pennsylvania.

BUTLER COUNTY

Bear Creek Watershed Association — $393,986 for Phase 1 and 2 restoration of the Young Mine Complex.

CLEARFIELD COUNTY

Clearfield County Conservation District — $300,699 for construction of a mine drainage treatment system on Morgan Run.

Emigh Run/Lakeside Watershed Association — $374,945 to construct a passive mine drainage treatment system to treat two mine discharges on Emigh Run.

CLINTON COUNTY

Clinton County Conservation District — $148,528 to expand and improve an existing mine drainage treatment system to improve system performance and treat additional mine discharges on the South Fork Tangascootack, a tributary of the West Branch Susquehanna.

LUZERNE COUNTY

Earth Conservancy — $400,000 to partly fund reclamation of a former strip mine to reduce acid mine drainage to the Nanticoke Creek watershed and prepare the land for residential, recreational and economic uses.

MULTIPLE COUNTIES

Altoona City Authority — $27,000 to install a spillway at the Bells Gap Run watershed improvement project that diverts a stream away from abandoned mine into the Bellwood Reservoir for use as public drinking water.

NORTHAMPTON COUNTY

Slate Belt Council of Governments — $1,000,000 to reclaim a hazardous abandoned slate quarry using 1.4 million cubic yards of on-site slate refuse, and prepare the site for commercial purposes.

WESTMORELAND COUNTY

Saint Vincent College — $128,542 to design and construct an iron sludge dewatering basin at the Monastery Run mine drainage system to improve system performance and allow for the recovery and sale of iron oxide.

###

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a list by county of the $6.8 million in Growing Greener II Watershed Protection grants:

ARMSTRONG COUNTY

Armstrong Conservation District — $479,017 to install agricultural best management practices to reduce pollution in Patterson Run.

BERKS COUNTY

Berks County Conservation District — $90,435 to install agricultural best management practices including a manure storage facility on three farms in the Maiden Creek watershed.

Borough of Kutztown — $54,932 to install agricultural best management practices to protect the borough’s drinking water wells.

BLAIR COUNTY

Logan Township — $120,000 for stream bank restoration along 4,900 feet of Mill Run.

BRADFORD COUNTY

Canton Township — $230,000 to stabilize stream banks, install agricultural best management practices and institute nutrient management plans on farms in the Towanda Creek watershed.

BUTLER COUNTY

Butler County Conservation District — $78,750 to install agricultural best management practices in the Buffalo Creek watershed.

Butler County Conservation District — $41,580 to install agricultural best management practices in the Connoquenessing Creek watershed.

CENTRE COUNTY

Centre County Conservation District — $198,884 to install sediment and nutrient reducing best management practices in the headwaters of Penns Creek.

Centre County Conservation District — $16,500 to install sediment and nutrient reducing best management practices

CHESTER COUNTY

Brandywine Conservancy — $107,228 to breach and remove Copola Mill Dam and Lewis Mill Dam across East Branch Brandywine Creek.

Chester County Conservation District — $141,720 for streambank restoration, in-stream improvements, stream corridor restoration including buffer plantings, and stormwater management projects in the Plum Run watershed.

CLEARFIELD COUNTY

Mosquito Creek Sportsmen’s Association — $70,000 to resurface roads and ditches with limestone to add alkalinity to runoff waters from roads that parallel Mosquito Creek, an acid precipitation impaired watershed.

CRAWFORD COUNTY

Allegheny College — $36,595 to create rain gardens at the new Admissions Center of Allegheny College to control stormwater run off to reduce silt and sediment entering French Creek.

DELAWARE COUNTY

Lansdowne Borough — $87,060 for construction of channel improvements, bank restoration, riparian plantings, and stormwater management improvements to Hoffman Park.

Springfield Township — $63,096 to construct stormwater management controls at the township municipal complex.

ELK COUNTY

Elk County Freshwater Association — $393,000 to design and construct two acid remediation systems to improve water quality in tributaries of Big Mill Creek.

ERIE COUNTY

Erie County Conservation District — $200,000 to restore 500 feet of streambank and institute stormwater best management practices within the Cascade Creek watershed. Stabilization will be conducted in Frontier Park which will improve water quality, reduce erosion and sedimentation, provide aesthetic improvements, and serve as an education and promotion tool for the thousands of park visitors every year.

GREENE COUNTY

Greene County Conservation District — $97,721 for stream bank stabilization and protection along Whiteley Creek.

LACKAWANNA COUNTY

Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed Management District — $40,530 to install agricultural best management practices in the Wallenpaupack Creek watershed.

LAWRENCE COUNTY

Lawrence County Conservation District — $16,950 for restoration of the nutrient-impaired Deer Creek using natural stream channel design, riparian buffer, and aquatic habitat structures.

LEHIGH COUNTY

Upper Macungie Township — $78,081 to develop and restore a riparian buffer along Schaefer Run.

LUZERNE COUNTY

West Wyoming Borough — $151,750 to provide a stable, properly sized stormwater channel and culvert system along West Wyoming/Exeter Boroughs property to convey stormwater flows from a low lying area to an existing pump station.

LYCOMING COUNTY

Black Hole Creek Watershed Association — $108,522 to breach and remove the Allenwood Federal Prison Dam and restore the stream to a free-flowing condition.

Lycoming County Commissioners — $66,000 to restore 1,300 feet of Lycoming Creek to its original location through the use of channel blocks. The original location will be enhanced through the use of habitat improvement structures, which will make the creek deeper, narrower and more shaded. The existing wide, shallow location will be developed into step pools to provide habitat and flood mitigation

MERCER COUNTY

Mercer County Conservation District — $102,622 for stabilization of severely eroded stream banks on Powdermill Run.

Shenango River Watchers — $24,634 for installation of a pervious gravel drive to reduce erosion at the Riverside Park canoe launch.

Shenango River Watchers — $18,709 for bank stabilization of former illegal dump along Shenango River and creation of riparian buffer.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Lower Providence Township — $18,935 to retro-fit and naturalize three township owned stormwater detention basins in residential areas in the Perkiomen Creek watershed in Lower Providence Township.

Montgomery County Conservation District — $69,735 to complete the retro-fit of the Plymouth Regional Stormwater Basin including design and construction of several sediment forebays and conversion of one acre of turfgrass to meadow.

Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy — $106,705 to design and construct a wetland to manage stormwater on township property in the Scioto Creek watershed in Upper Frederick Township.

Upper Merion Township — $483,402 to remove the partially breached Sumner Dam and remove impounded sediments, restoring approximately 1600 feet of stream channel and riparian habitat.

MONTOUR COUNTY

Montour County Conservation District — $61,434 to install agricultural best management practices on three farms within the Chillisquaque Creek watershed to reduce sediment and nutrient impacts.

MULTIPLE COUNTIES

Schrader Creek Watershed Association , $414,260 for construction of two mine drainage treatment systems and application of lime and limestone to restore the headwaters of Schrader Creek and its tributaries.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy — $248,654 to address agriculturally impaired watersheds through best management practices in large areas of northern Bedford and southern Blair counties.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy — $103,650 to augment other funding in order to address excessive sedimentation and nutrient loading on farms in the Little Mahoning Creek Watershed.

NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY

Northumberland County Conservation District — $36,000 to construct roofed poultry manure storage in the Chillisquaque watershed.

PHILADELPHIA COUNTY

Friends of the Wissahickon — $100,000 for forest habitat reclamation and a comprehensive renovation of the hiking and biking trail network in the Wissahickon Valley Park.

New Kensington Community Development Corporation — $112,000 to design and install in-street vegetated stormwater collectors to reduce stormwater volume entering the local combined sewer system as part of the Columbia Avenue Green Corridor project.

SOMERSET COUNTY

Somerset County Conservation District — $182,078 to install agricultural best management practices to address sediment problems in Glades Creek.

TIOGA COUNTY

Tioga County Concerned Citizens Committee — $295,000 to construct passive alkalinity generating systems to address non-mine drainage pollution caused primarily by acid rain that impacts the headwaters of the Fall Brook watershed.

Tioga County Conservation District — $227,107 to improve dirt and gravel roads within the headwaters of Wilson Creek.

Tioga County Conservation District — $175,000 to install agricultural best management practices to reduce sediment and nutrient runoff to Wilson Creek.

WARREN COUNTY

Warren County Conservation District — $175,550 to implement the Small Farm Agricultural Stewardship Program and install agricultural best management practices.

WESTMORELAND COUNTY

Pucketa & Chartiers Watershed Association — $73,975 for stream restoration on Chartiers Run in Wolfpack Park.

Westmoreland County Conservation District — $133,485 to implement agricultural best management practices in the Stony Run watershed including fencing, stream crossings, water troughs, stream stabilization, grassed waterways, and spring development.

WYOMING COUNTY

Lake Carey Welfare Association — $308,939 for installation of stormwater best management practices to reduce total phosphorus loading to Lake Carey.

YORK COUNTY

Izaak Walton League of America, Inc., York Chapter 67 — $100,000 for installation of best management practices on the Nixon Park tributary to the East Branch Codorus Creek.

Watershed Alliance of York County — $268,537 to continue stream restoration work in the Pine Run tributary to the North Branch Muddy Creek Watershed.

###

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a list by county of the $8 million in Growing Greener Watershed Protection grants:

ALLEGHENY COUNTY

Borough of Plum — $104,862 to evaluate and develop a stormwater management retrofitting program for approximately 32 stormwater basins within the borough.

South Fayette Conservation Group — $14,537 to conduct a visual assessment of the Millers Run, Robinson Run and Coal Run watersheds within South Fayette Township.

ARMSTRONG COUNTY

Armstrong Conservation District — $29,300 to stabilize an active landslide approximately 150 feet in length on Scrubgrass Creek.

BRADFORD COUNTY

Sugar Creek Watershed Association — $78,530 to construct stream stabilization structures to reduce sediment loading on Wallace Run.

BUCKS COUNTY

Bucks County Conservation District — $47,000 for an assessment of the Aquetong watershed.

BUTLER COUNTY

Butler County Conservation District — $78,750 for installation of agricultural best management practices to reduce nitrogen and phosphorus runoff in the Connoquenessing Creek.

CAMBRIA COUNTY

Cambria County Conservation District — $43,500 stabilize 2000 feet of eroded shoreline along Glendale Lake.

Clearfield Creek Watershed Association , $43,000 to design and permit a mine drainage treatment system to treat the third largest acidic discharge on the upper reaches of Clearfield Creek.

CARBON COUNTY

Jim Thorpe Borough — $263,870 for reconstruction of Slaughterhouse Creek.

CENTRE COUNTY

Beech Creek Watershed Association, Inc. — $47,028 to develop a completed design package ready for construction bidding, as well as all necessary permitting for reclamation of an abandoned mine.

Centre County Conservation District — $135,319 to install agricultural best management practices in the Little Fishing Creek watershed.

CHESTER COUNTY

Brandywine Valley Association — $95,000 for restoration of the Leadline Lane stream.

Natural Lands Trust — $185,500 to remove the Stroud Dam across a tributary to East Branch Brandywine Creek and restore approximately 1,800 feet of stream habitat.

Stroud Water Research Center — $239,179 to install stormwater best management practices, water reuse practices and on-site treatment of sewerage at the Stroud Water Research Center.

Tredyffrin Township — $210,326 to construct a green roof at the existing Hillside Elementary School.

West Chester University — $22,000 to provide data, education, and outreach about constructed ponds in the Brandywine watershed to planning organizations, students, and the public.

CLEARFIELD COUNTY

Clearfield County Conservation District — $47,465 for design, mapping and permitting for the Dimeling Discharge mine drainage treatment system.

Clearfield County Conservation District — $2,000 for sample collection and analysis, design, permitting and bid document preparation for construction of a mine drainage treatment system on Morgan Run.

CRAWFORD COUNTY

Crawford County Conservation District — $35,000 to reduce phosphorus loading and stormwater volume entering Conneaut Lake.

Crawford County Conservation District — $15,778 to continue an initiative that enlists local high school students to perform riparian buffer planting on local farms and streams.

DAUPHIN COUNTY

City of Harrisburg — $300,000 to design, permit and construct a stream corridor rehabilitation project along the lower reaches of Asylum Run, a tributary of Paxton Creek.

Dauphin County Conservation District — $105,000 to install agricultural best management practices as part of the Phase III restoration of the Little Wiconisco Creek.

Dauphin County Conservation District — $52,500 to install agricultural best management practices to reduce sediment and nutrient pollution on a tributary of Bow Creek.

DELAWARE COUNTY

Delaware County Executive Director — $167,597 to stabilize approximately 1,000 feet of streambank as part of the construction of the Chester Creek Trail.

Villanova University — $251,672 to evaluate, assess and monitor the benefits of evapotranspiration in several existing stormwater best management practices at Villanova University.

ELK COUNTY

Toby Creek Watershed Association — $40,000 to retrofit the Blue Valley facility to treat water with Activated Iron Solids instead of the high cost chemical oxidant potassium permanganate.

ERIE COUNTY

Erie County Conservation District — $65,000 to conduct on-lot septic system education and outreach in the Walnut Creek watershed.

Penn State University — $91,900 to restore or protect over 40 acres of riparian buffer in the Bear Run watershed.

Redevelopment Authority of the City of Erie — $64,846 to incorporate innovative stormwater best management practices into a redevelopment project in the City of Erie.

HUNTINGDON COUNTY

Huntingdon County Conservation District — $54,671 to install agricultural best management practices.

INDIANA COUNTY

Blackleggs Watershed Association, Inc. — $225,000 to permit and construct a mine drainage treatment system on Whisky Run within the Blackleggs Creek watershed.

LEBANON COUNTY

Lebanon Valley Conservancy — $90,000 for the Quittie Creek Nature Park stream restoration project.

LUZERNE COUNTY

West Wyoming Borough — $80,005 to create a watershed management plan for Abrahams Creek focused on reducing future flood risk, stream erosion and standing water problems.

Exeter Borough — $120,750 for Slocum Basin bank stabilization to minimize streambank erosion and its impact on water quality.

Wyoming Borough — $177,135 for restoration and stream bank stabilization of Abrahams Creek.

MIFFLIN COUNTY

Mifflin County Conservation District — $226,763 to implement grazing best management practices for five farms.

Mifflin County Conservation District — $79,177 to address non-point source pollution on Tea Creek.

MONROE COUNTY

Brodhead Watershed Association — $116,008 to design and permit natural stream channel restoration on Paradise Creek near Red Rock Road.

MULTIPLE COUNTIES Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay — $106,500 to partner with DEP and DCNR to establish or improve Forest Riparian Buffers, encourage permanent protection of buffers and plant 225 large urban trees in DEP priority watersheds within metropolitan areas.

American Farmland Trust — $300,000 to expand on a pilot project that demonstrated reductions in nitrogen applications to farmlands via an incentive program.

Appalachian Mountain Club — $37,500 to promote the water model, develop a clearinghouse for watershed planning, map lands in need of protection, and identify indicators of watershed health in the federally designated Appalachian Highlands.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation — $246,600 for demonstration projects to address livestock nutrient best management practices and techniques for improved survival of tree seedlings.

Clarion County Commissioners — $100,000 to help fund water quality improvement activities in priority watersheds throughout the eight county Northwest Commission territory.

Columbia County Conservation District — $10,437 for creation and support of the Briar Creek Association for Watershed Solutions.

EMARR Inc. — $235,000 to design a system to treat mine water from the Green Mountain and Audenried discharges to create a potable water supply for the Humboldt Industrial Park and power a hydroelectric plant to operate the treatment system.

Endless Mountains Resource Conservation and Development Council, Inc. — $74,550 to host nine stormwater and floodplain related workshops, produce at least two informal publications and implement one demonstration project in each county to educate the public and municipalities about proactive approaches to flooding.

Foundation for PA Watersheds — $100,000 to create a Watershed Advocacy Center to help watershed associations address organizational development and capacity building issues.

Moshannon Creek Watershed Coalition — $39,190 to design, permit, and engineer a mine drainage treatment system to treat a mine discharge at the headwaters of Moshannon Creek, a major tributary to the West Branch Susquehanna.

Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. — $443,750 to provide engineering assistance to entities developing or implementing watershed protection or restoration plans.

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society — $250,000 to continue support for TreeVitalize, a public/private partnership that is restoring tree cover in the 5-county area of southeastern PA.

Pennsylvania State University — $61,869 to replace Unpaved Road Assessment software that is no longer supported.

Pocono Northeast Resource Conservation & Development Council — $350,000 to fund the Consortium for Scientific Assistance to Watersheds, a collaboration of service providers who provide services to watershed organizations and municipalities to assist groups in building sustainability.

Schrader Creek Watershed Association — $31,000 to investigate the effects of landscape liming on acid rain impacts in Schrader Creek.

The Nature Conservancy — $236,903 to develop a GIS based tool to simulate baseline streamflow conditions to compare with current and future conditions and to assess the impacts of human activities on streamflow.

Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation — $130,000 to provide funding for emergency repairs of eligible best management practices.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy — $125,000 to continue their technical assistance program to watershed groups, conservation districts, schools and other organizations.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy — $47,087 to develop a guide for Wetland Community identification.

POTTER COUNTY

Potter County Conservation District — $10,860 to fund startup of the First Fork Sinnemahoning Watershed Association.

SOMERSET COUNTY

Somerset County Conservation District — $240,240 to collect and analyze data to determine where sediment pollution in the Laurel Hill Creek is originating, in what amounts and its relationship to high stream flow levels.

Somerset County Conservation District — $30,900 to fund Phase II of the Laurel Hill Creek Water Resource Management Plan.

Somerset County Conservation District — $25,935 to limestone sand-dose two acidic tributaries to Elklick Creek in order to counteract natural and mine drainage acidity within the stream system. This added alkalinity will boost productivity within the trout fishery on Elklick Creek.

SUSQUEHANNA COUNTY

Susquehanna County Conservation District — $74,278 to conduct a biological and physical assessment of the Dubois Creek and develop a restoration plan to address flood damages from the June 2006 flood.

TIOGA COUNTY

Tioga County Conservation District — $102,297 to create a stable channel on Roaring Branch that will transport sediment under the Route 4 bridge and prevent scour of the bridge abutments and footings.

WESTMORELAND COUNTY

Turtle Creek Watershed Association — $370,446 for the design and permitting of a passive mine drainage treatment system to treat the Irwin discharge, the largest acid mine discharge in Westmoreland County.

YORK COUNTY

Watershed Alliance of York County — $57,138 to reduce the volume of stormwater entering Tyler Run as well as increase water quality through the stabilization of stream banks in the Tyler Run Greenway.

York Township — $200,000 to reduce sediment erosion, and reduce sediment and nutrients from Mill Creek entering the Chesapeake Bay, reduce land loss, install riparian buffers, reconnect the stream to a functioning flood plain and educate municipalities on the importance of collaborative environmental preservation and restoration at the municipal level.

# # #

260 Wonders of Our Watershed Forum 2009-02-11 10:18:59

The Jeddo/Nescopeck Partnership will be hosting a “Wonders of Our Watershed” Forum

Saturday May 9th 2009

10AM to 5PM

Penn State Hazleton

Activities include:

Rain Garden / Compost Workshops

Local History / Heritage Displays

Children’s Activities

Artisans and Crafters

Rain Barrel / Compost Bin Giveaways

Environmental Displays

Public Opinion / Question Section

Entertainment

Please see the flier for more information.

 

259 Application Announced for the 2009 NCAC Community Awards 2009-02-02 08:47:48

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 20, 2009

Contact Information:

      Kurt Bauman, (570) 655-5581, ext. 237

 

    Kate Feissner, (570) 655-5581, ext. 264

Pittston, PA – January 20, 2009 – The Northeastern Pennsylvania Nonprofit & Community Assistance Center (NCAC) has announced an application round for the 2009 NCAC Community Awards.

This awards event was established to highlight those nonprofit organizations that make an extraordinary impact on the quality of life within our seven county region, which includes Carbon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Monroe, Pike, Schuylkill and Wayne. A first and second place award will be presented for each of the six categories including: Arts & Culture, Children & Youth, Community Development, Education, Environmental Action/Animal Welfare and Health & Human Services.

The 2009 NCAC Community Awards mark the third year for the Ted Daniels Community Development Award. This award category is memorialized in honor of Ted Daniels, former President of the NCAC Board of Directors and V.P. of Business Development for Pennstar Bank, who passed away on November 7, 2006.

According to Charles Barber, NCAC Board Chairman, “The foundation of any community is built upon the many nonprofit and community groups who continually offer new and innovative services that meet the ever changing needs of society. The Community Awards event enables us to recognize the accomplishments of many nonprofit and community minded groups that are all working together toward a common goal. They strive to improve the day-to-day life of all citizens in the region.”

Entries may be submitted by nonprofit organizations, political subdivisions, chambers of commerce, industrial development groups, school districts, colleges or universities, social clubs, business or industry, media organizations and other organizations involved in community improvement.

Award recipients do not need to be a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. First place award winners will receive a donation of $250 to $500 for their organization and second place award winners will receive a free NCAC membership. All entrants must submit a completed application form, which can be found at www.nepa-alliance.org/ncac.htm, to NCAC, 1151 Oak Street, Pittston by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, February 20, 2009.

For more information about the 2009 NCAC Community Awards, please contact Kurt Bauman or Kate Feissner at 570-655-5581, by email at ncac@nepa-alliance.org or visit the NCAC website at www.nepa-alliance.org/ncac.htm.

 

258 BAMR Featured in WNEP Power to Save (12/08) 2008-12-19 12:57:17

Power to Save Special December 2008

WNEP’s Don Jacobs, Tom Clark, Jackie Lewandoski and Kelly McCool take a cool look at how people are using their power to save energy, the environment and money.

The latest WNEP Power to Save Special welcomes PPL Electric Utilities as a major program sponsor.

Energy Audit

People all over our area are thinking about the cold winter months ahead, and ways to make that dollar stretch as far as it can go. And, in our hi-tech world, people want clear information they can use to make smart energy decisions. Homeowners can have their own hi-tech study done to find out just how energy efficient their home is with a PPL Energy Audit. Jackie went to Carbon County and gave one homeowner the Power To Save. PPL Electric Utilities Specialist Frank Mikus tells viewers about the program. Les Kalimootoo conducted the audit and gave some helful advice. A printed report goes to the homeowner, recommending improvements that will give you the most future energy savings. You can get more information on by clicking on the PPL Electric Utilities logo or calling 1-866-941-7313

Landfill Trees

Long ago we learned the importance of how plants and trees give us the oxygen the Earth needs to live. Today, one unlikely place working, as an experiment, to increase its tree and shrub population is right here in northeastern Pennsylvania. Under a special State Exemption, the folks at the Alliance Landfill in Lackawanna County are studying the viability of planting something other than grass on the cap of a landfill. The goals: enhance aesthetics and provide for woodland habitats. John Hambrose of Alliance Landfill gave WNEP’s Tom Clark a tour of the 3 test plots and shared their results so far.

Once again, northeastern and central Pennsylvania is on the forefront of innovation to save money and time. After the State reviews the results in the different test areas, Alliance, as well as other landfills, may be able to look at a better way of topping our mounds of garbage. You can see more pictures of the project and get more details by clicking Alliance’s website here. ,a href=http://www.wm.com/alliance>www.wm.com/alliance

Strip Mine Reclamation

Coal is used in so many ways: from heating homes to generating power. And, in some parts of our area, the land scarred from surface mining is hard to miss. While in others, the reclamation is quite impressive. Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Resources came out in force to show WNEP’s Don Jacobs how they are erasing the scars of our “˜yesteryear’ today in Luzerne and Schuylkill Counties. Repairing the landscape to make it useful again makes for a better world all around. Imagine the plants, wildlife or development that could once again flourish in our beautiful mountains and valleys. Visit DEP’s website for more news. www.depweb.state.pa.us

Energy Tips

WNEP’s Kelly McCool spent some time with Frank Mikus, of PPL Electric Utilities, for some great tips to save energy. Some options can cost you very little, or nothing at all. Click on the PPL Electric Utilities logo for more information.

Click here to see the video footage

 

257 DEP Announces New Program to Combat Illegal Dumping 2008-11-12 15:23:24

November 11th, 2008

PITTSBURGH , The Department of Environmental Protection announced a new grant program to provide communities with the tools and resources they need to restore illegal dump sites and it awarded $1 million to PA CleanWays to continue its important mission to cleanup and remediate illegal dump sites in communities throughout the commonwealth.

“Illegal dumping is not just an environmental crime, it is a health and safety issue that plagues our neighborhoods and affects the quality of life of our residents,” said DEP Deputy Secretary Thomas Fidler while standing at the site of an illegal dump in the Hazelwood neighborhood of Pittsburgh. “The new Illegal Dump Cleanup Grant program will help remove the blight of illegal dumps and prevent future dumping. Working together with partners in our communities, we can break the cycle of dumping and raise civic pride.”

Pennsylvania will invest $500,000 in the Illegal Dump Cleanup Grant program for communities and nonprofit groups. The program will focus on the cleanup of illegal dumps; site restoration and beautification; surveillance of existing dump sites and remediated sites; enforcement of littering and illegal dumping ordinances; and public awareness and education to inform local citizens about illegal dumping, littering and clean-up activities.

Grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded with a match of at least 50 percent of the grant amount by the grantee.

The grants are available on a competitive basis to any existing local government or incorporated nonprofit organization currently located in Pennsylvania. An applicant cannot, in any way, be responsible for any illegal dump located in Pennsylvania.

Fidler also announced the $1 million grant to PA Cleanways to continue its programs to identify and eliminate illegal dumps in the state, prevent litter and support community-based efforts to restore and preserve the scenic beauty of the commonwealth.

“PA CleanWays has shown a strong commitment to the elimination of illegal dumps and littering in Pennsylvania,” Fidler said. “In the past three years alone, PA CleanWays’ volunteers have cleaned up 268 sites, hauling out 2,244 tons of trash, 288 tons of scrap and thousands of tires. PA CleanWays also provides important educational resources to help communities raise awareness on the hazards of illegal dumping and on affordable disposal and recycling alternatives.”

With DEP financial support, PA Clean Ways initiated an effort in 2005 to identify illegal dumps within each county across the commonwealth. The Illegal Dump Survey Program serves to educate state, county and local officials about the problem of illegal dumping so constituents at all levels can begin to address the problem through cleanups, municipal waste collections, and recycling programs. To date, these surveys have identified 2,600 dump sites with approximately 11,000 tons of illegally disposed trash on the 24 counties that have completed surveys. The grant award announced today will provide funding for 16 more counties to be completed by 2010, with an overall goal to have the entire commonwealth surveyed by 2012.

Grant applications are available online at www.dep.state.pa.us keyword: Illegal dumping, or by calling DEP’s Bureau of Waste Management at 717-787-7381.

For more information about PA CleanWays, visit its Web site: www.pacleanways.org.

 

256 New acid-mine water treatment project shows promise at local site 2008-11-03 12:20:58

PHOTO Engineers Tim Gourley and Andy Lawrence, of Iron Oxide Technologies LLC, recently dismantled their machine along Route 61 near Kulpmont.

BY RACHEL CARTA

STAFF WRITER

rachel_c@newsitem.com

Published: Sunday, November 2, 2008 5:24 AM EST

COAL TOWNSHIP , A pilot program deemed a success at treating acid-mine drainage may lead to construction of a low-cost water treatment plant in the township, and that could help attract industry.

Jon Dietz, who holds a doctorate in environmental engineering and science from Penn State University, worked with the Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance (SCRA) to set up a pilot project along Route 61 between Shamokin and Kulpmont in mid-July.

The large blue water-treatment machinery temporarily constructed along the highway and now being dismantled removed iron from the water through an activated iron solids (AIS) process developed by Dietz, who owns Iron Oxide Technologies LLC, State College.

Cleansing this natural, abundant water source could attract industry because it would be less expensive, Dietz said.

The site is near the Coal Township-SEEDCO Industrial Park, a fact not lost on those involved.

“Treatment of the sites in and around the SEEDCO/Industrial Park has the potential for eliminating 40 to 45 percent of pollution to the Shamokin Creek,” said Leanne Bjorklund, vice president of SCRA.

The possibilities are certainly attractive to industry, said Steve Bartos, director of the Northumberland County planning commission, who led the recent unveiling of the county’s FUTURES program, which aims to increase economic development through the promotion of fossil fuels and alternative energy.

“The potential for the use of that technology to clean up that AMD (acid-mine discharge) is very great,” he said. “Any industry that is a heavy water user would look at it very positively because it is a source of plentiful cheap water, while at the same time cleaning up the environment.”

Good location

A typical cost to industry for water is $1.40 per thousand gallons. The AIS treated water could be made available for 15 to 20 cents per thousand gallons, Dietz said.

A high volume of treated water might be used by a cogeneration plant or other industry for cooling or heating.

Dietz said such a treatment plant would be beneficial in that area because the industrial park is on land that has three of the most mine-polluted discharges in the area.

In fact, the “SEEDCO” acronym stands for Social, Economic, Environmental, Development Corp., and the notion of treating the discharges was discussed since the industrial park’s beginning stages earlier this decade.

Bjorklund said members of the alliance began testing and compiling data from the discharges located on park land as soon as the land was prepared for development.

Dietz’s project could treat Scotts Tunnel, Excelsior Strip Pit and the Coalbert discharge. All are within the industrial park and all contribute a large volume of mine-impacted water to Shamokin Creek.

In fact, Dietz said those three discharges make up 90 to 95 percent of the pollutant load in the Quaker Run sub-watershed, which is part of Shamokin Creek, and have a total flow of 20 millions gallons per day.

Each of the discharges exhibits a similar chemistry, with little to no aluminum or manganese levels, that works well with the new treatment system, Dietz said.

Also nearby is the Corbin Mine Drift discharge, which is the sixth highest iron producer in the watershed, said Bjorklund.

Dietz’s developed the AIS process, and he founded Iron Oxide Technologies in 2002 for the purpose of using AIS to provide a treatment system that is effective with low maintenance and low cost.

Coal Township was chosen as a site for the pilot program because the chemistry of the discharges works well with the treatment process, Dietz said.

Potential “˜great’

Jim Koharski, president of SCRA, said there are those in state, county and local governments who are interested in starting a project using the AIS process to treat acid-mine water immediately.

He said a few local industries have shown interest, too, in the possible use of this treated water.

“We are very excited to have a top environmental engineer, Dr. Dietz, interested in helping SCRA and local communities and businesses develop technology that treat large discharges in a way that uses far less land than originally thought needed just five years ago,” Bjorklund said. “The AIS technology that Dr. Dietz developed makes iron react very rapidly in the treatment process, and can potentially allow for recovery of both iron oxide solids and water as resources.”

Dietz said he will be contacting the county planning commission to spread the work to businesses investigating possible development in the area.

His project was funded by the state Department of Environmental Protection through its Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation (BAMR). The pilot program was the sixth and last pilot study that was funded through a grant received in 2004, said Rich Beam, geologist with the DEP BAMR office in Ebensburg, Cambria County.

The other five pilots were located in the bituminous coal region, Beam said.

Beam said the technology, while still in development, “looks promising.” He said the DEP is awaiting a final report before the next step can begin, but that the commonwealth is “very interested.”

Innovative technology

By using aeration tanks with high concentrations of iron, AIS removes iron at a much faster rate than occurs naturally in a stream. During the clarification process, solids settle rapidly and are pumped from the bottom of the clarifier. The iron that is in the water is in a dissolved form, and the process converts it to an insoluble form. This form is what catalyzes the iron removal, Dietz said.

The process is basically self perpetuating, and there are no chemicals used in the treatment process, he said.

The plant would look similar to a wastewater treatment plant and would require less than one acre of land. Other passive water treatments can require 100 acres, and much more time elapses before the water is actually treated, Dietz said.

The iron that is removed has potential for reuse, too, not only in the process itself but for industries that use pigment for ceramic materials as well as a number of environmental uses.

Due to chemical difference in the discharges, this treatment process is unlike the ponds which are working to treat the Excelsior discharge, Dietz said.

Next steps

For his next step, Dietz will be putting together a presentation for SCRA as well as any other interested parties and conducting a feasibility study to determine an optimal location for a treatment plant. Dietz said a plausible place could be either within the industrial park or adjacent to it.

According to Koharski, the initial cost is about $2 million. He said the operational costs could be approximately $250,000 annually; however, this cost could be supplemented by the industries that are using the treated water.

The possibility of a full-scale operation would depend on funding, Dietz said. He said there may be monies available through the state abandoned mine program.

 

255 New VISTA in Shamokin 2008-10-17 12:33:10

Environmentally friendly

BY RACHEL CARTA, STAFF WRITER, rachel_c@newsitem.com

Published: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 5:36 AM EDT

SHAMOKIN , As the newest volunteer hosted by the Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance (SCRA), Katie Coulter will take on illegal dumping as her first order of business.

Coulter, of Homer Glen, Ill., a suburb of Chicago, will organize a group of volunteers, including a Boy Scout troop and cadets from Northwestern Academy, to clean up a dump site in Mount Carmel Township at the end of the month. The site is across the street from Commissioners Lake, between Mount Carmel and Conyngham townships.

The dump site is filled with household garbage, leaves and appliances which are suffocating the environment, Coulter said. The illegal dumping may cause chemicals to seep into the ground and pollute area water sources.

The 23 year-old first arrived in the coal region at the end of August to begin her year as the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) Watershed coordinator for SCRA.

OSM/VISTA volunteers are assist in the fight against water pollution and help improve the living conditions of low-income communities in Appalachia.

“I am excited about the potential I see,” she said last week.

It is a sign of the times that people are beginning to pay more attention to stresses on the environment, Coulter said.

Coulter left her Chicago suburb with a mind to affect change and improve environmental issues.

She attended college in Michigan and graduated with a double major in international studies and French.

Noting the vast difference between the mountainous mining region and the flat land of Illinois, Coulter talked about her travels to France, Mali, West Africa and Brussels, Belgium. Her latest stop is the Shamokin area, of which she is eager to learn about its anthracite heritage.

“There are so many opportunities to learn,” she said.

Coulter’s interest in the relationship between people and their environment led her to apply to be a volunteer for the Corporation for National Community Service, through AmeriCorps.

One of her main responsibilities will be to reach out to the public regarding the benefits of treating abandoned mine drainage, which is the result of the exposure of pyrite to water and oxygen, and other environmental issues.

She will work to get community members involved, inspire others to volunteer with SCRA and cultivate collaborations among various other environmental groups.

“The public needs to be more aware of what we do,” Coulter said. “To help improve the knowledge and opinions of people in the community.”

Coulter will be reaching out to the children of the community by giving presentations at area schools. “I won’t under estimate the capacity kids can affect change,” she said. “They are the next generation.”

Coulter will also be writing grants and examining the needs of SCRA.

She said she would like to obtain educational signs for the passive treatment ponds along Route 901, near Ranshaw, in order to describe to the public the function of the ponds. SCRA has said the ponds have significantly reduced pollutants from the waters of the Corbin Drift Mine discharge that flows into the main stem of the Shamokin Creek.

Coulter will be supervised by Jaci Harner, watershed specialist for the Northumberland County Conservation District, and Leanne Bjorklund, vice president of SCRA.

“Katie has taken on the challenge and made a lot of good contacts,” Harner said.

She will work to “create a sense of pride for the area and with an appreciation of the past,” Harner added.

In the future, Coulter said she hopes to attend graduate school and study geography.

Coulter’s ultimate goal is to make a difference that will sustain itself long after she has left the community.

How to help

The clean up of a dump site in Mount Carmel Township will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25. To volunteer, call Coulter at 644-6570, extension 142. In addition, Coulter can be contacted for school and other environmental presentations.

Coulter’s office is located in the Shamokin CareerLink, first floor, Bucknell Small Business Development Center, Northumberland County Career and Arts Center, Eighth and Arts streets.

On the “˜Net: www.shamokincreek.org

 

254 County would have to dig up funds to convert Huber 2008-10-03 11:31:37

October 1, 2008

Officials not certain if there’s money to transform Huber Breaker into mining museum.

By Jennifer Learn-Andes jandes@timesleader.com

Luzerne County Reporter

Will Luzerne County Commissioners save the landmark Huber Breaker in Ashley from the wrecking ball?

The Luzerne County Commissioners want to turn the Huber Breaker in Ashley into a coal mining museum.

PETE G. WILCOX/the times leader

County officials say it will boil down to money.

Almost two years have passed since commissioners voted to take the property through eminent domain, with the goal of turning it into a coal mining museum down the road.

The move halted the owner , No. 1 Contracting , from dismantling the hulking structure for scrap value.

But commissioners legally have two years from their January 2007 filing of the eminent domain paperwork to decide if they want to take the property, said attorney John Aciukewicz, who represents the county.

“A decision will have to be made before January 2009,” he said.

Aciukewicz and commissioners plan to meet Thursday in executive session to discuss legal issues involving the eminent domain. A vote on how to proceed is expected at the Oct. 15 commissioners meeting.

Aciukewicz said court proceedings to date have focused on how much land may be taken for the project.

The county originally sought 26 acres but later reduced the request to 8.25 acres. Al Roman, the owner of No. 1 Contracting, said the county’s request was excessive and offered to sell the county almost 6 acres. Aciukewicz said a compromise was made to buy a little over 7 acres.

If commissioners express interest in proceeding, Aciukewicz said he will start negotiating a price and obtaining an appraisal. The state County Code mandates that the county pay fair market value as determined by an appraisal.

The county had been arguing that the breaker and surrounding land were worth a total of $280,000.

Roman had argued a year ago in court papers that he should receive $20 per ton for “mineable coal” on the land, at least $400,000 for the scrap value of the breaker itself and $95,000 per acre.

Commissioner Greg Skrepenak said he heard the proposed purchase price was ringing in at a little over $1 million, while Republican minority Commissioner Stephen A. Urban said he heard a figure significantly higher.

A board would be set up to determine the price if the two parties don’t agree.

Commissioner Chairwoman Maryanne Petrilla said she’d like to preserve the breaker but won’t vote to proceed until she determines all costs and realistic funding sources.

That includes how much the county would have to spend to “make the area safe” until the site is restored, she said. At minimum, fencing would be necessary, she said.

“My biggest concern is that kids would get hurt playing there until we get the millions of dollars we need to make it into a museum,” she said.

Skrepenak and Urban wholeheartedly support purchasing the breaker, saying it is a rare opportunity to teach history and promote tourism.

“I think it would be a real travesty to let that go,” Skrepenak said.

Funding is a concern, Skrepenak said. He wants to see if the county could “switch some bonding money around” to fund the purchase and secure the site. However, the county’s remaining bond money has been earmarked for other timely projects, and the county is broke and looking to borrow up to $16 million to cover the 2008 deficit.

“I’d be very disappointed if we didn’t get the money, but these are tough times,” he said.

State Sen. Raphael Musto, D-Pittston Township, has been pushing for state funding to pay for the restoration of the breaker if the county acquires it.

Musto got millions for the project listed in state capital budget bills in 2002 and 2006, though his requests compete against billions of dollars in other project submissions. Most capital funding requests are never funded, but they must be listed in bills to have a chance.

Musto’s office says county ownership of the breaker is a key to unlocking state funding.

Roman could not be reached for comment Tuesday. No. 1 Contracting acquired the breaker and 26 surrounding acres in 1997 for $25,000, according to county records.

The 134-foot-tall Huber Breaker, built by the Glen Alden Coal Co., closed for good in 1976.

Project supporters say the breaker is a treasure that must be preserved, but opponents have said the county doesn’t have the resources to fund and maintain another operation. A museum has been estimated to cost $9 million.

Jennifer Learn-Andes, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 831-7333.

Link to the Original Article

 

253 PA considering a bill that encourages biofuels feedstock to reclaim mine land 2008-09-29 12:10:31

Pennsylvania is considering a bill that would encourage using switchgrass and other biofuels feedstock to reclaim abandoned mine lands. The abstract reads: “An Act amending the act of May 31, 1945 (P.L.1198, No.418), known as the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act, further providing for mining permit; providing for bioenergy crop bonding; and making editorial changes.” It sounds like an interesting proposal to enhance PA’s mine land reclamation program to aide in our current energy crisis. Here’s the link to the bill in the Pa General Assembly Website

The original law required mining companies to establish and maintain a permanent cover after reclamation of a mining site to satisfy a their permit requirements and to release the bond placed on the land. This proposed amendment seems to add the flexibility in the type of cover crop and harvesting.

It was up for a Environmental Resource and Energy Committee vote on September 23, 2008 and passed pretty much unanimously. I have attached a poll to this article to get your response. Please also feel free to comment on this article. 0 687 23 admin 1 1 1 26 0 0 25-26-38-33-23- 0

Edit Edit Edit Inline Edit Copy Copy Delete Delete 252 Eastern Coalfield Watershed Training Available 2008-09-29 10:51:46 The Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team (ACCWT) and the Eastern Coal Region Roundtable (ECRR) will be having its next semi-annual training October 27th through the 29th, at Canaan Valley Resort in West Virginia.

Issues covered will include fundraising, water monitoring, grant-writing, and organizational structuring, and each day is packed with information. The resort is a beautiful place situated in a state park, with many amenities. Transportation costs will be covered by the organization. Please see the brochure for more details

Robert Hughes, EPCAMR Executive Director, and Carly Trumann, EPCAMR AmeriCorps VISTA, are already planning on attending. That leaves us with one spot available where the ACCWT will cover travel and lodging costs. This is why we are opening this invitation up to watershed groups in Eastern PA.

Please contact Carly Trumann at ctrumann@epcamr.org or phone (570) 674-3409 as soon as possible if you have any interest in attending the training. I need to let the ACCWT know by ASAP (definitely before Columbus Day).

 

251 Coalition Designs GIS Application to Target Abandoned Coal Mine Hazards 2008-08-22 13:33:06

Abandoned Coal Mine Reclamation Group Promotes GIS in Pennsylvania

Abandoned coal mines cover hundreds of thousands of acres throughout eastern United States. As such, having accurate maps of them is important to keep those involved in their clean-up spatially informed. In Pennsylvania, a regional non-profit abandoned mine reclamation group is promoting a state-of-the-art GIS mapping tool to assist in the reclamation of mined-out land. The tool has proven successful in maximizing the limited funds available for restoring this blighted land to its approximate pre-mined state.

As late as thirty years ago, coal mine companies weren’t required to restore the land they excavated. However, as the impact of surface mining became evident in the mid 1970s, Congress passed the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). SMCRA attached a per-ton fee to all extracted coal to create an interest-accruing federal reclamation fund. The fund is maintained by the United States Office of Surface Mining (OSM) and is dispersed to states and tribes who still have problems caused by coal mines abandoned before 1977.

With newly enacted legislation which extended the SMCRA program at the federal level, Pennsylvania will be ramping up their reclamation program to spend $1.4 billion of reclamation funds over the next 15 years. Since restoring mined-out land is a complicated, expensive process,and thousands of abandoned mines still await reclamation,$1.4 billion dollars needs to go a long way.

Knowing that reclamation funds need to be stretched, the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR) sought funding from multiple sources. With a grant from the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, PA Department of Environmental Protection’s 319 Non-Point Source Pollution Program and a Memorandum of Understanding from OSM’s Technical Innovation and Professional Services Program, EPCAMR used ArcGIS to create a tool to keep track of abandoned mines called the Reclaimed Abandoned Mine Land Information System (RAMLIS). RAMLIS creates highly detailed maps at different scales with layers of information that help identify the areas most in need of remediation. RAMLIS also combines state, federal and local data in maps that reveal all the components of the mine such as mine discharge points, backfilled stripping pits, and reclaimed mine shafts. To work safely and effectively, reclamation crews must know the location of these features. Knowing the location of flooded voids, for example, can potentially save enormous expense,and even lives.

RAMLIS is contained on one CD-ROM. The CD includes shapefiles, layers, map documents which can be opened in ArcMap, and published map files that can be opened in ArcReader. Using both of these ESRI Programs, allows EPCAMR to maximize the distribution of the tool since ArcReader is available as a free download from the ESRI website. Any discrepancies or updates by to EPCAMR’s current version of RAMLIS can be submitted to EPCAMR for inclusion on future versions. The ability to allow an individual to zoom in and look directly into his/her backyard, local watershed, or municipal boundary without being a GIS analyst in ArcReader and not be worried about making edits or changes to the EPCAMR RAMLIS CD was an important selling point in using the program.

The dynamic, interactive maps assist reclamation efforts because they allow the public and local municipality to understand what features are contained within a mine site and which features can be fixed using SMCRA funding. Map layers show a multitude of problems caused by leaving mines unattended. For example, water quality running off these sites is identified in a layer from the PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) called the Integrated List of Waters. This layer shows streams that meet (or do not meet) their intended use because pollution from the seepage of mining byproducts into the stream. By turning on this layer, users can see certain sections of stream that are impacted by mine drainage of heavy metals such as iron or aluminum into the stream. This toxic discharge from this runoff decreases the pH to uninhabitable levels for aquatic organisms.

RAMLIS is also useful for civic management/land development. Elected officials can add their layers to this system for further analysis of the problem (e.g.,. input a tax parcel layer to examine neighborhoods for economic impacts because of local mine hazards). Local and county planning commissions use the program as a tool for land-use planning, storm-water, floodplain management, and a host of other development-related issues. The tool contains road centerlines, municipal and county boundaries, watershed boundaries, full-color aerial photos, and land-use datasets as background data.

GIS helps municipalities, as well as state and federal officials, by providing concrete evidence of potential health and safety hazards such as subsidence-prone areas. “Pollution from residual coal mine chemicals, illegal dumping, and land cave-ins are a real concern to some of these communities,” said Hughes. “GIS gives us the best solution to identify and respond to these problems on a local level.”

In August, EPCAMR staff showcased the RAMLIS Tool at the ESRI International User Conference in San Diego, CA in front of an audience of about 50, including the Assistant Director for the U. S. Department of the Interior and several Office of Surface Mining Officials. The OSM offered to provide EPCAMR with ArcServer, through their current MOA, to publish the tool online.

“Finally, I don’t have to make so many CDs and mail them to partners.” said Michael Hewitt, EPCAMR Outreach Coordinator. “The ability to place the tool up on the web will allow us to reach a much larger audience and streamline the distribution process.”

To date, approximately 22,500 acres of mine lands in Pennsylvania have been cleaned up and more than 280 mine drainage treatment systems are in place to treat polluted water. EPCAMR hopes their tool continues to spread the GIS message to other organizations. Check out the important work of EPCAMR on their website at www.orangewaternetwork.org.

250 Draft AMD Set-aside Program Position Paper Available 2008-07-23 11:20:13

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Office of Mineral Resources Management Draft Position Paper now Available for the AMD Set-aside Program

Summary: It is the intention of the Commonwealth to utilize the federal Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act Title IV Abandoned Mine Reclamation Grant Set-Aside to fund the development, design, construction, operation, maintenance and replacement of abandoned mine drainage treatment systems. Accordingly, the Commonwealth shall take the maximum 30% abandoned mine drainage set-aside at the earliest possible time that provides a balance with the state’s land reclamation responsibilities. The process of making the decision regarding the set-aside from any individual years’ grant shall be defined, transparent, and open for public comment. Read More…

 

249 Fields replace one lost to mine drainage cleanup project. 2008-07-15 11:13:29

Sports complex a grand slam for village of Mary D

By Lisa Price | Special to The Morning Call

June 24, 2008

All that was missing was Kevin Costner and some tall corn.

The new sports complex in the tiny Schuylkill County village of Mary D is, in its way, a Field of Dreams — testimony to what can be accomplished when one team member after another steps up to the plate.

Officials dedicated the Mary D Fire Company Sports Complex, which includes a baseball field, soccer field, bleachers, ice skating rink, walking path, paved parking area and fencing, at a ceremony Friday.

Bill Reichert of Schuylkill Haven, president of Schuylkill Headwaters Association, detailed the chain of events that united 19 community groups, businesses and organizations on the project.

Reichert has been the utility player who has spearheaded several water-quality improvement projects along the river, and it was one of those — the Mary D ”Bore Hole,” a project to stop acid mine water drainage — that took him to the village five years ago.

To access and rectify that acid mine drainage meant destroying the town’s previous baseball field, owned by the Mary D Fire Company. To make matters worse, Eastern Schuylkill Recreation Commission had just gotten a $25,000 state Department of Natural Resources grant for Schuylkill Township to rehabilitate the field.

Enter pinch hitter Dan Blaschak of Blaschak Coal Company in Mahanoy City. He donated 10 acres of an abandoned mine site to the fire company for a new field.

With the project completed, the former baseball field will be turned into a passive mine drainage treatment system that will treat up to 1,000 gallons per minute of acid mine discharges.

”To go from a $25,000 rehab project in 2004 to 2008 and a $400,000 project that wasn’t even on the radar — well, this project is on the top of my list,” Reichert said. ”It shows what can happen after getting the right people working for the common good.”

State Sen. James R. Rhoades, R-29th District, and state Rep. Dave Argall, R-124th District, who threw the field’s first pitch at the ceremony, touted the project as an example of teamwork and a big step toward revitalizing communities.

The complex will be used and maintained by Tamaqua Area Baseball and Youth Soccer associations, and the township will lease the facility from the Mary D Fire Company.

Rhoades said he’d like to bring people from out of the area to see the complex, and said youths who use it may be inspired to develop similar projects as adults.

”Look at the beautiful facility you have,” Rhoades said. ”This is how the coal crackers do it. Little boys and girls will get to use it, and they may someday become the leaders you are.”

Lisa Price is a freelance writer.

 

248  Click a Mouse, Plant 5 Trees in a PA State Park for Free! 2008-07-07 12:59:47

With just a click of your mouse, you can help to plant trees in Pennsylvania’ State Parks, courtesy of the Odwalla juice company of Dinuba, California.

Odwalla, working with the Pennsylvania Parks and Forests Foundation, will donate up to five trees per person who visit the special Odwalla plant a tree website.

It’s simple. Choose Pennsylvania as the state in which you want to plant trees and choose the number of trees you want to have planted (up to five)! For every tree selected, PPFF will get a portion of the $50,000 that Odwalla has committed for tree plantings.

Right now, Colorado is leading in the number of visits to the website. Let’s try to be the state with the most visits. More trees mean nicer parks, cleaner air, and better habitat! Share this email with your email list, family, friends, coworkers, and colleagues, and ask them to share with others.

Thank you for helping to be a steward of our state parks and forests! 😀

Source: 7/4/2008 PA Environmental Digest

Rules from the website:

The Odwalla Plant a Tree Program is available May 15, 2008 through December 31, 2008. Choose which participating state park system (CA, NY, FL, CO, UT, OH, PA or TX) will receive a tree each time you click. Each family can donate up to five trees under this Program. Participants pay no money under this program. The donated trees will be paid for by Odwalla, Inc. up to $50,000 worth of trees. 0 857 32 hardcoal 1 0 0 0 0 0 0

Edit Edit Edit Inline Edit Copy Copy Delete Delete 247 EPCAMR Tours Top 2 AMD Sites with PFBC 2008-06-06 16:14:21 See the PDF Article with Photos, Click Here

 

246 River basin group wants public input on updating plan 2008-06-05 11:05:21

By ERIC LONG – elong@sungazette.com

POSTED: June 4, 2008

It’s time to update the plan for water.

After more than 20 years, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission released a draft of its “Comprehensive Plan for the Water Resources of the Susquehanna River Basin.” The 2008 plan is called a “substantial revision” of the previous guidelines, which were crafted in 1987, according to commission officials.

The commission is seeking input from the public about the draft of the new plan, which won’t be finalized until late this year, officials said. Public comment meetings will be held at three sites in the state, including one at 2 p.m. July 9 at the Days Inn and Conference Center in Danville. Other meetings will be held at 2 p.m. July 8 at the Owego Treadway Inn and Suites in Owego, N.Y.; and at 10 a.m. July 10 at the Best Western Eden Resort in Lancaster

According to Susan Obleski, director of communications for the commission, it took about a year just to create the draft for the updated plan.

“We knew it would take a lot of staff time to do and we wanted to do it justice, to update it,” she said. “Last year, the commissioners and staff made a commitment that we would get it done. It is an impressive document and it is supposed to be a guiding framework for all the work we do.”

But the commission isn’t the only group affected by the plan, according to Paul Swartz, executive director for the commission.

“This planning project is an extremely important undertaking not only for the commission, but also for its member jurisdictions, water resource manager and other governmental and nongovernmental interests that will benefit from this resource,” he said. “In addition to addressing the more traditional priority water management issues, the draft plan also features numerous current and emerging special-interest topics such as climate change, energy production and emerging contaminants.”

Obleski said the commission is involved in water resource issues from flood mitigation, drought management, regulation water use and withdrawals and monitoring water quality in the watershed of the Susquehanna River, which includes the river and its entire drainage basin, from Cooperstown, N.Y., to the Chesapeake Bay and all the land areas to drain into it.

“We have a watershed that is 27,510 square miles in size and that is bigger than Vermont, Massachusetts, Delaware and New Jersey put together,” she said.

“A lot of it (the plan) is related to water quality and how we regulate water usage and withdrawals. Much of it is a complete overhaul (of the previous plan).”

According to commission officials, the plan will include an assessment of water resource needs in the basin, principles, guidance and standards for use of the resource. Six priority management areas that include goals and actions needed for water supply, quality, flooding, ecosystems and even public information are also included.

In the draft plan also identifies 12 areas of special interest, including issues that impact the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, such as abandoned mine drainage, consumptive use mitigation, drought coordination, invasive species and migratory fish restoration.

“In your area, we looked specifically at abandoned mine drainage and we will look at the gas drilling and the effect that has,” Obleski said

At the public comment sessions the commission will give an overview of the draft of the new plan, then accept formal public testimony, followed by an informal question and answer session.

The draft plan can be viewed online at www.srbc.net/planning/compplanfiles.asp.

Written public comment about the plan will be accepted by the commission until Aug. 18 and may be submitted by mail by writing to: Ava Stoops, administrative specialist, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, 1721 N. Front St., Harrisburg, PA 17102.

Written comment may also be submitted via email at astoops@srbc.net.

 

245 Middle school students study watersheds 2008-06-02 10:51:14

By DAVID KAGAN dbkagan@comcast.net

POSTED: May 25, 2008

RAUCHTOWN , What do the seventh graders at Jersey Shore Area Middle School know about streams, watersheds, freshwater aquatic life and fly-fishing? Quite a bit, after studying the environment in class for a month and then recently spending a day at Ravensburg State Park.

Science teachers William Ferguson and Tracy Silvis established the school’s watershed education unit four years ago. It was the result of a revamping of the science curriculum to become more aligned with the then newly adopted Pennsylvania State standards in science/technology and environment-ecology.

The Ravensburg State Park trip has been the culminating activity the past two years. Outside environmental experts assisted Ferguson and Silvis in leading the students in interesting experiments along Rauchtown Creek at the park.

John Kaercher, the Environmental Education Specialist at Little Pine State Park, led the students in doing physical testing along and in the creek. They calculated the volume flow of the stream from measurements of depth, width and velocity.

They also checked the slope and the temperature of the creek. Student Nick Caputo, after dipping a thermometer into the waters, reported it as “nine degrees Celsius.”

Kaercher, who has conducted numerous programs for northcentral Pennsylvania area students through the years, didn’t seem to be bothered by the fairly steady, rather cold rain that fell during the day May 9.”I’ve been out giving demonstrations when it’s been sleeting,” he said.

Half the Jersey Shore Area seventh-grade students came the day before for the all-day program , when it didn’t rain.

Three of the lucky May 9 “ducks” were friends Nicole Murray, Libby Hill and Kayla Allen.

“It was fun but it was really cold. I got to wear hip boots, which I had never done before, but I fell in anyway because the current was strong,” Murray said.

“It was sort of miserable, but it was a great learning experience. We’re learning how to stop pollution,” Hill said.

“We learned a lot of stuff. My favorite was macro-invertebrates,” Allen said.

Watershed Specialists Carey Entz (Lycoming County) and Erin Dunleavy (Clinton County) led the study of macro-invertebrates (“bugs”). Students actually collected insects from the cold waters of Rauchtown Creek and brought them to a nearby pavilion table to be identified.

Among the large diversity of creatures found were stone, caddis, may and black flies, crayfish, an aquatic worm and a tiny salamander. The students clearly very much enjoyed gathering and identifying the stream wildlife, and looking at them under magnifying glasses , with some even letting them crawl around in their hands.

Water Specialists Entz and Dunleavy helped lead the students to the happy conclusion that Rauchtown Creek has very little pollution. “We got excellent bugs!” all shouted together.

At a third station, students did chemical testing of the waters under the direction of Maryann Haladay-Bierly, the environmental education specialist for Raymond B. Winter and Ravensburg State parks. They determined the hardness of the water, its dissolved oxygen, Ph and the level of nitrates.

A fourth activity involved the tie-dying of T-shirts using iron oxide obtained from abandoned mine drainage recovered near Shamokin, Pennsylvania. Silvis pointed out an interesting side-point to the students that watershed restoration people have been raising money to clean up more streams by selling the iron oxide to paint companies to use for their pigments.

Finally, students got to learn about and to try their hands at fly-tying and fly-casting. Volunteer members of the Lloyd Wilson Chapter of Trout Unlimited (Ray Rathmell, Richard Rogers, Bill Bailey and Skip Frye) assisted Jersey Shore High School teachers James Smith and Jeffrey Miller instructing and demonstrating. Students enjoyed practicing “over your head and back down” fly-casting into Rauchtown Creek just above the dam.

Other adults helping out at the two daylong sessions included student teachers Mark Niedermeyer and Kelly Bradley, from Lock Haven University, and a number of parents of the seventh-graders. Mark Leitch, Jacob Leitch’s father, said that he appreciated the “chance to hang out with” his son.

As a result of the educational outing and preparatory, month-long, in-class science program, Jersey Shore Area Middle School’s seventh-graders certainly are more aware of their local Susquehanna Basin Watershed , its valuable features and the dangers that imperil it and the larger natural world. Perhaps some of these students will be inspired by this experience early in their lives to eventually become environmentalists, ecologists or other types of nature scientists.

 

244 River commission: Mine drainage needs to be fixed 2008-06-02 10:34:03

BY HEIDI RUCKNO

STAFF WRITER

05/26/2008

The Susquehanna River Basin Commission thinks it is time to address abandoned mine drainage in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

In a recently released draft of its 2008 comprehensive plan, the basin commission called for more active involvement in reclaiming old mine lands that discharge contaminated water into the river.

Water quality has long been an issue in the anthracite region, due in large part to the fact that deep mining went largely unregulated until the 1940s, the commission said.

Water filled with contaminants, such as coal dust and iron, frequently flowed into the river untreated. When all the coal was excavated, mine operators moved on to the next seam without restoring the earth.

As a result, massive amounts of pollutants still flow into the river, said Bob Hughes of the Luzerne Conservation District.

Newport and Solomon creeks on the East Side carry much of that contaminated water, said Hughes. Another source of the pollution is the Lackawanna River, near Old Forge and Duryea.

The basin commission wants local watershed groups to initiate projects to treat the mine water before it flows into the river, a move Hughes supports. He said that water could be a viable resource for power or wastewater treatment.

“It doesn’t even have to meet drinking water standards,” said Hughes.

While there are no major projects proposed in the anthracite region, the basin commission has been involved with reclamation projects on the West Branch of the Susquehanna, in the bituminous coal fields. They partnered with Trout Unlimited to secure the funding, said Susan Obleski, a spokeswoman for the basin commission.

Money for reclamation, however, is always an issue. Hughes supports a proposal that would raise the fees for consumptive use in the basin.

“Maybe as an offset to that fee being increased for consumptive use or water storage, more money could be put into investments for capital improvement projects or maintenance,” Hughes said.

Water from the Susquehanna River basin is a source for drinking water for millions of people, inside and out of the basin. Hydroelectric power from the river is also a valuable source of energy.

In the Wilkes-Barre area and on the West Side, the majority of public drinking water comes from Huntsville Dam in the Back Mountain, said Susan Turcmanovich, a spokeswoman for Pennsylvania American Water. The reservoir is constructed along Toby Creek, which flows directly into the Susquehanna River.

Most of Luzerne and Lackawanna counties lie within the Susquehanna River basin, except for a small portion of eastern municipalities, Turcmanovich said.

hruckno@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2109 0 943 25 admin 1 1 0 0 0 0 25-26- 0

Edit Edit Edit Inline Edit Copy Copy Delete Delete 243 6 admin West Branch of the Susquehanna Restoration Symposium IV 2008-05-22 10:33:06 Date: Jul 18th & 19th, 2008 (Fri & Sat)

Location: Nittany Lion Inn, State College, PA

This event serves as a forum for the exchange of ideas regarding AMD abatement in the region and provides an excellent opportunity for networking among volunteers, policy-makers, technical experts, students, and others interested in restoring land and water impacted by AMD – the largest source of pollution to the Commonwealth’s waterways.

View the Registration Brochure.

Contact Amy Wolfe at Trout Unlimited with any questions you may have regarding the Symposium or the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Initiative. Amy can be reached at (570)726-3118 or awolfe@tu.org.

 

242 PA man survives 500-foot fall into strip mine 2008-04-28 10:44:38

Apr 25, 09:10 PM EDT

By MICHAEL RUBINKAM – Associated Press Writer

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A man survived a 500-foot fall into a strip mine Friday, astounding rescuers who spent hours on a risky descent into the abyss to bring him back out.

Police said Nathan Bowman was trespassing on coal company property around 1 a.m. Friday when he slipped and fell into the Springdale Pit, an inactive mine about 700 feet deep, 3,000 feet long and 1,500 feet wide.

Bowman tumbled down a jagged slope and then free-fell several hundred feet, his descent broken by a rock ledge not far from the bottom of the pit, said Coaldale Police Chief Timothy Delaney, who helped direct the rescue effort.

“If you look at that drop, there was no way somebody could survive that,” Delaney said.

Bowman, 23, of Tamaqua, was in serious condition Friday night at St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem. The extent and nature of his injuries was not clear, although rescuer John Fowler said it appeared he suffered a number of fractures.

Bowman and a friend were walking around the pit when he went over the side. The friend called 911, and Coaldale police and firefighters began a frantic search, according to Delaney.

State police got into the act several hours later, using a helicopter, floodlights and thermal imaging to try to pinpoint Bowman’s location in the pit, about 90 miles northwest of Philadelphia.

“It got really, really dangerous,” Delaney said. “My guys were fantastic; they were heroes, risking their lives in total darkness.”

The search was called off at daybreak. Shortly thereafter, Delaney went to the offices of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Co., which owns the Springdale Pit, to notify officials of the situation.

“I said, ‘Let’s take a ride over there and show me where it occurred,'” said Fowler, 40, a project manager at the company.

Their luck was better this time.

“Within about three minutes, we found him,” Fowler said. “I thought I could hear a muffled call for help. We yelled to him and asked him where he was, and he said he thought he was on a ledge.”

Fowler, who moonlights as a state firefighter instructor, and a Coaldale police sergeant scouted a relatively safe route to Bowman and stayed with him until more help arrived.

Two firefighters rappelled down to the ledge, loaded Bowman onto a basket and tied themselves to it. Then all three were painstakingly hoisted up.

Bowman was lucid when he arrived at the top of the pit late Friday morning, wanting his harness loosened, asking that someone call his brother and expressing fear about riding in a medical helicopter, said Sarah Curran Smith, a vice president at Lehigh Coal.

Bowman’s survival is “pretty unbelievable,” she said. “I think the universe has bigger plans for Nathan. I hope he realizes that.”

Bowman faces charges including defiant trespass, according to Delaney.

 

241 Stream Improvement Information Sought 2008-04-15 17:30:10

by Andy McAllister, Watershed Coordinator

updated by Michael Hewitt, Outreach Coordinator

Do you have a stream that you think has improved due to a pollution abatement project ? If you do, we need your help. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Non-point Source Program has enlisted the aid of EPCAMR and WPCAMR to help find those improved streams across Pennsylvania.

The information you provide will assist PA DEP biologists in their efforts to target specific streams for a biological reassessment. If the stream or a segment of the stream has indeed improved, PA DEP could consider it for removal from the list of impaired waterways in the Commonwealth.

The list of impaired waters (formerly known as the 303(d) list) is now part of what is called the “Integrated List”. Impaired waters are those waterways that are not meeting their “designated use”, in other words, the biological community in those streams is adversely affected by AMD, sediment, or any number of other pollutants.

Designated uses are those uses specified in the state’s water quality standards for each water body or segment whether or not they are being attained. An example of a designated use in Pennsylvania is “CWF”, meaning a Cold Water Fishery, capable of sustaining a healthy cold water biological community (eg. a stream where trout live and reproduce). Removal of a stream or stream segment from the impaired waters list is a concrete way of showing that pollution reduction projects are having a positive impact on our streams.

If you are in the EPCAMR Region and think you have a stream or a segment of a stream that was impaired and is now not, we invite you to share what you know by filing out the information form at the “Cantidate Stream for Reassessment” page. Water quality information showing the improvement is a plus, please forward this to Michael Hewitt, hardcoal@epcamr.org. By sharing your information, you can help direct state efforts to locate recovered streams and remove them from the list.

240 2007 Growing Greener Grant Announcement 2008-03-07 15:17:42

Governor Rendell Says Pennsylvania Building on its Environmental Commitment through Latest Growing Greener Grants

HARRISBURG (March 7) — Governor Edward G. Rendell today continued Pennsylvania’s commitment to the environment by announcing a $22 million investment in more than 120 projects that will help restore the state’s polluted streams, provide clean water, and help prevent devastating floods in communities across the commonwealth

The Governor said Pennsylvania’s long mining history and extensive farm industry have created challenges that affect the state’s natural water resources. Additionally, regular floods throughout the state have diminished the effectiveness of natural and man-made measures designed to protect people, businesses and communities.

With the $22.3 million in grants announced today, however, Pennsylvania will expand its efforts to address these challenges.

“Pennsylvania has been blessed with incredible natural resources,” said Governor Rendell. “Unfortunately our streams have been tainted by agricultural run-off and acid mine drainage from the unregulated activity of the past. Furthermore, recurring floods in many places have eroded stream banks and rendered many flood measures ineffective, which can exacerbate the damage caused to our communities.

“The $22.3 million in grants we’re announcing today will help undo this damage with effective treatment systems, agricultural best management practices, stabilization work, stormwater management strategies, and flood protection projects. Together, these measures will help restore the health and natural functions of our streams.”

Of the $22.3 million awarded today by the Department of Environmental Protection, $9 million comes from the Growing Greener program in the form of watershed grants and $10.1 million comes from the Growing Greener II initiative. The remaining $3.2 million was awarded by DEP in nonpoint source implementation program grants, which are funded by the federal government through Section 319(h) of the Clean Water Act.

The grants support acid mine drainage treatment facilities, stream bank stabilization efforts to reduce erosion and protect against flooding, added riparian buffers to filter pollutants before reaching streams, aquatic habitat improvements, and comprehensive watershed protection planning. The grants will also be used to implement innovative agricultural and stormwater management techniques that reduce nonpoint source pollution in streams.

This year, DEP is allocating up to $2 million to begin addressing the unmet operation and maintenance costs of acid mine drainage remediation projects.

The grant funds also will support the first Watershed Renaissance Initiative, awarding $381,000 to treat acid mind discharges in Indiana County’s Bear Run watershed. The new initiative is intended to fund the complete or substantial implementation of an existing watershed restoration plan by encouraging public-private partnerships, long-term coordinated stewardship of the water resources, and educational outreach to promote environmental protection.

Smaller, impaired watersheds that have existing comprehensive plans to restore water quality are targeted through the Watershed Renaissance Initiative, which will again be available in next year’s grant round.

Since 1999, DEP has invested more than $190 million in watershed grants for 1,657 projects in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania through the traditional Growing Greener program. The grants are used to create or restore wetlands, restore stream buffer zones, eliminate causes of nonpoint source pollution, plug oil and gas wells, reclaim abandoned mine lands and restore aquatic life to streams that were lifeless due to acid mine drainage.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the $625 million Growing Greener II initiative in May 2005 to clean up rivers and streams; protect natural areas, open spaces and working farms; and shore up key programs to improve quality of life and revitalize communities across the commonwealth. Since then, DEP has awarded $38.5 million for watershed projects to make Pennsylvania healthier, a better place to live, and more competitive in attracting and supporting business investment.

DEP is now accepting grant applications for the next Growing Greener grant round. Applications will be accepted until May 16.

For more information or to download a grant application form, visit www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Growing Greener.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a list by county of the 124 watershed restoration and protection grants:

ADAMS COUNTY

Watershed Alliance of Adams County – $15,300 for operation and maintenance of the East Berlin Stream Gauge on the Conewago Creek.

ALLEGHENY COUNTY

Bridgeville – $50,000 for streambank stabilization on McLaughlin Run.

Township of Upper St. Clair – $140,000 for water quality and habitat improvement on Chartiers Creek.

Trout Unlimited, Penn’s Woods West Chapter – $133,055 for stream restoration on Little Pine Creek.

Jefferson Hills – $60,000 to stabilize a portion of Peters Creek that experiences severe erosion.

ARMSTRONG COUNTY

Parks Township – $24,950 for streambank stabilization and erosion control on Carnahan Run.

Armstrong Conservation District – $78,375 to remediate erosion issues along a 5.5 mile length of Plum Creek through utilization of natural stream design techniques and restoration of riparian buffers.

Armstrong Conservation District – $8,229 to restore and protect a portion of Buffalo Creek.

Armstrong Conservation District – $24,850 to assess 46 square miles of watersheds in Armstrong County that flow directly into the Allegheny River. The assessment would identify and prioritize problems including acid mine discharge, flooding, combined sewer overflows, sedimentation/erosion, and agricultural problems.

Armstrong Conservation District – $35,000 to reclaim five acres of abandoned mine land and convert the land into productive pastureland utilizing an intensive rotational grazing system.

BEAVER COUNTY

Independence Conservancy – $330,000 to continue stream restoration/stabilization at four sites on Raredon Run.

BEDFORD COUNTY

Broad Top Township – $375,000 for the design and construction of a passive treatment system in the headwaters of Sandy Run.

Broad Top Township – $15,600 for the design and construction of a passive treatment system in the headwaters of Sandy Run.

Juniata Clean Water Partnership – $100,000 for retrofitting the Tussey Mountain High School parking lot with a porous surface, leading to an interceptor water garden to protect an impaired stream.

BERKS COUNTY

Berks County Conservation Association – $171,660 to install innovative stormwater management techniques on the county agricultural campus to improve water quality and for educational purposes.

BLAIR COUNTY

City of Altoona – $100,000 for the final phase of stream improvements on Mill Run.

BRADFORD COUNTY

Schrader Creek Watershed Association – $129,985 to build a passive acid mine discharge treatment system on Coal Run, a tributary to Schrader Creek.

Canton Township – $135,000 for streambank stabilization, dirt and gravel road improvement and agricultural best management practices on eight farms in the North Branch Towanda Creek watershed.

Sylvania – $7,500 for a natural stream channel design for Wallace Run, a tributary to Sugar Creek.

BUCKS COUNTY

American Littoral Society – $145,000 for stream stabilization and restoration for a portion of Swamp Creek.

Warrington Township – $100,000 to install stormwater best management practices, including rain gardens, rain barrels, retrofitting basins, and to provide public education and outreach in the Little Neshaminy Creek watershed.

Bucks County Conservation District – $6,408 for organizing a new watershed advocacy organization, the Aquetong Watershed Association, in Solebury Township and New Hope.

Heritage Conservancy – $52,170 for education, outreach and streambank stabilization along an unnamed tributary to the Little Neshaminy Creek on the Lindsay Farm Preserve.

BUTLER COUNTY

Wild Waterways Conservancy – $42,800 for removal of concrete dam and submerged wooden dam at Harmony Junction in Jackson Township.

CAMBRIA COUNTY

Clearfield Creek Watershed Association – $40,828 for design of a passive treatment system to treat 3 acid mine drainage discharges in the headwaters of Little Laurel Run.

Cambria County Conservation District , $172,180 for acid mine discharge treatment on Trout Run, including an innovative limestone bed treatment system.

Cambria County Conservation District , $105,000 for four limestone bed treatment systems to treat abandoned mine discharge flowing to an active brook trout fishery on the South Fork Little Conemaugh River.

Dunlo Rod and Gun Club – $27,678 to raise alkalinity in the main stem of the South Fork Little Conemaugh River to restore brook trout to lower stream reaches.

CENTRE COUNTY

ClearWater Conservancy of Central Pennsylvania – $34,150 to remove the remains of Dayton Dam, restore stream channel and install fish habitat structures to enhance the existing wild trout fishery.

Milesburg – $5,000 to establish the Bald Eagle Watershed Association.

Centre Region Council of Governments – $10,000 for education and outreach on stream buffer protection.

CHESTER COUNTY

Tredyffrin Township – $64,415 for the construction of rock infiltration trenches at two storm sewer outfalls.

Brandywine Valley Association – $54,500 for stream and floodplain restoration on an unnamed tributary to Doe Run.

CLEARFIELD COUNTY

Emigh Run/Lakeside Watershed Association Inc. – $170,646 for acid mine drainage treatment on Emigh Run.

Pike Township – $400,082 for design and reclamation of acid mine discharges on Anderson Creek.

Lawrence Township Supervisors – $47,063 for the design, permitting and engineering design costs of a passive treatment system for unnamed tributary of Montgomery Creek.

Emigh Run/Lakeside Watershed Association – $17,292 for an acid mine treatment system study for the upper most reaches of Hubler Run.

Clearfield Creek Watershed Association – $49,000 to assess acid mine drainage to Muddy Run and its tributaries and develop a restoration and sampling plan.

CLINTON COUNTY

Trout Unlimited – $595,000 for a passive treatment system for discharges to Two Mile Run, a tributary to lower Kettle Creek.

Trout Unlimited – $99,363 for mine pool stabilization at the Kettle Creek Coal Co. mine No. 1.

Keystone Central School District – $40,000 to convert a former agricultural field adjacent to the school into a wetland and convert five acres of adjoining upland native grasses for use as a wetlands educational tool.

CRAWFORD COUNTY

Crawford County Conservation District – $210,000 for installation of agricultural best management practices on eight farms.

Allegheny College – $25,000 for an environmental assessment of the Mill Run watershed.

CUMBERLAND COUNTY

Trout Unlimited, Cumberland County Chapter – $6,863 to remove floodplain and channel obstructions associated with the Piper Mill and Thomas Hatchery operations on Big Spring Creek.

DAUPHIN COUNTY

Dauphin County Conservation District – $256,790 for construction of a passive treatment system for discharges polluting Bear Creek and Wiconisco Creek.

DELAWARE COUNTY

Villanova University – $185,000 for stormwater wetland best management practice reconfiguration.

Swarthmore – $21,759 to address stormwater management at a playground and pocket park in an urban area.

ELK COUNTY

Elk County Freshwater Association – $250,000 for two treatment systems on Big Mill Creek to abate the persistent acidic conditions.

ERIE COUNTY

Mercyhurst College – $106,500 for a two-year E. coli bacteria monitoring study of the Walnut Creek and Elk Creek watersheds that will identify sources of the bacteria and lead to an action plan that will assist in resolving the bacteria pollution issues in the Lake Erie tributaries.

Erie County Conservation District – $300,000 for 40 agricultural best management practices projects to reduce nonpoint source pollution from farms.

City of Erie – $65,180 for installation of a litter/debris trap on the lower Mill Creek channel at the city’s wastewater treatment facility.

FAYETTE COUNTY

Jacob’s Creek Watershed – $54,195 to apply best management practices to eliminate shore erosion, and improve water quality and fish habitat in Greenlick Lake.

Fayette County Conservation District , $131,828 to design and implement agricultural nutrient and sediment reduction best management practices in headwater streams.

FRANKLIN COUNTY

Falling Spring Greenway – $200,000 to restore degraded reaches of the Falling Spring Branch for the benefit of aquatic species and upland wildlife.

FULTON COUNTY

Fulton County Conservation District – $283,750 for restoration of Spring Run.

Fulton County Conservation District – $160,500 for a publicly accessible greenway with a stable stream channel and a walking trail along Big Cove Creek.

Fulton County Conservation District – $113,770 for providing incentives for 2,000 acres of cover crops on corn silage fields, a no-till farming strategy.

INDIANA COUNTY

Indiana County Conservation District – $160,000 for agricultural best management practices on 10 farms in various watersheds throughout Indiana County.

Indiana County Conservation District – $380,709 for a Watershed Renaissance Initiative to abate acid mine discharges to Bear Run, a tributary of the West Branch Susquehanna.

Stream Restoration Inc. – $14,000 to develop a conceptual plan to treat acid mine discharges at the McIntyre refuse pile, including use of an innovative pre-treatment technology.

LACKAWANNA COUNTY

Taylor – $704,127 for channel restoration and culvert construction on the Colliery Property.

LANCASTER COUNTY

Trout Unlimited, Donegal Chapter – $129,487 for streambank stabilization, fencing and riparian buffer planting along Conowingo Creek.

Columbia – $325,000 to implement a variety of stormwater best management practices, including porous asphalt and concrete surfaces, vegetated swales, and rain gardens, at the new Riverfront Park.

Franklin & Marshall College – $516,650 for sediment and nutrient monitoring relating to legacy sediments.

Enterprising Environmental Solutions – $387,500 to restore a portion of Big Stream Run and remove legacy sediments, reconnect stream to floodplain, restore and create wetlands and riparian buffer. The project will also generate nutrient trading credits and develop some economic value projections for legacy sediments mixed with manure compost.

LEBANON COUNTY

Lebanon Valley Conservancy – $250,000 to implement best management practices on the Quittapahilla Creek.

LUZERNE COUNTY

Luzerne County Conservation District – $102,362 to repair damage to Toby Creek caused by flooding.

Luzerne County Conservation District – $86,689 for a watershed assessment for use in flood-mitigation planning.

LYCOMING COUNTY

Rose Valley/Mill Creek Watershed Association – $3,030 for steambank stabilization on Mill Creek.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY

Whitpain Township – $60,000 to convert two stormwater detention basins to naturalized basins and to increase infiltration and reduce nonpoint source pollution.

Upper Dublin Township – $42,283 to restore a portion of Little Pine Run and to

restore 25,000 square feet of riparian buffer area.

Wissahickon Valley Watershed Association – $40,611 to expand a created wetland area along Bethlehem Pike in Fort Washington to mitigate flood waters, reduce nonpoint source pollution, and provide additional habitat for birds and wildlife.

Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust – $50,085 for a large infiltration trench to capture and infiltrate stormwater runoff from approximately 18 acres of suburban residential area and roadway.

MONTOUR COUNTY

Montour County Conservation District – $63,354 for installation of manure storage on the Seven Springs Farm.

NORTHAMPTON COUNTY

Northampton County Conservation District – $115,261 to install agriculture best management practices at four agricultural sites determined to be nonpoint sources of nutrients and sediment pollution to the Bushkill-Jacoby watersheds.

Wildlands Conservancy – $325,670 to complete the construction of a natural stream channel, floodplain and bank restoration design for more than 1,000 feet of Saucon Creek and an unnamed tributary.

Bushkill Stream Conservancy – $107,000 for a constructed wetland within the Bushkill Creek Watershed to ease flooding issues in the College Hill section of Easton and improve water quality.

City of Bethlehem – $64,071 to remove the Saucon Creek dam and enhance/stabilize approximately 2,100 feet of stream channel.

NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY

Northumberland County Conservation District – $79,000 to conduct a feasibility study to treat Quaker Run which is heavily impacted by acid mine discharge from three sources.

SCHUYLKILL COUNTY

Schuylkill Conservation District – $433,189 to evaluate surface and ground water interactions and possible consequences of acid mine discharge remediation, stream restoration and mine pool utilization.

SOMERSET COUNTY

Somerset County Conservation District – $86,000 for repairs to two acid mine treatment facilities on Stonycreek River.

Shade Creek Watershed Association – $20,000 to raise the alkalinity of various tributaries of Shade Creek to improve water quality.

SULLIVAN COUNTY

Columbia County Conservation District – $40,000 for acid mine discharge treatment on Heberly Run, a tributary of Fishing Creek.

TIOGA COUNTY

Babb Creek Watershed Association – $290,000 for two limestone bed passive treatment systems for acid mine discharge on Rock Run, a tributary of Babb Creek.

Babb Creek Watershed Association – $21,835 to rehabilitate an acid mine discharge treatment system and convert it to a settling pond and an open limestone ramp.

County of Tioga – $30,000 to assess and design streambank stabilization/relocation needs of two miles of Marsh Creek. Benefits include mitigation of flood flows to the Village of Stokesdale, stabilization of an eroding railroad grade, stabilization of specific project sites for a “Rails to Trails” corridor extension and reduction of sediment loading.

UNION COUNTY

Union County Conservation District – $235,528 for agricultural restoration on impaired subwatersheds.

WARREN COUNTY

Warren County Conservation District – $25,000 to stabilize streambanks and riparian areas.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Washington County Conservation District – $100,000 to convert a vertical flow pond acid mine discharge treatment system into a limestone bed treatment system.

WAYNE COUNTY

Lake Wallenpaupack Watershed Management District – $7,300 to stabilize the shoreline along Lake Wallenpaupack adjacent to the boating access at Mangan Cove to reduce soil erosion and provide riparian plantings.

Wayne Conservation District – $4,614 to start the Equinunk Watershed Alliance to protect and preserve the Equinunk watershed.

WESTMORELAND COUNTY

Mt. Pleasant Borough Municipal Building – $72,327 to retrofit a stormwater system.

Loyalhanna Watershed Association – $500,000 to construct a passive acid mine discharge treatment system to improve the water quality in the Loyalhanna Creek.

Turtle Creek Watershed Association – $142,338 for stream restoration and riparian buffering in the Haymaker Run tributary of Turtle Creek.

Sewickley Creek Watershed Association – $95,000 to assess degradation from nonpoint sources in the watershed and develop a restoration plan.

WYOMING COUNTY

Mehoopany Creek Watershed Association – $550,000 to restore the historical stream channel and provide additional natural stream channel stabilization.

YORK COUNTY

Izaak Walton League of America Inc., York Chapter 67 – $30,000 for stream restoration on Pierceville Run , Mitchell Pasture subwatershed of the South Branch Codorus Creek.

Izaak Walton League of America Inc., York Chapter 67 – $100,000 for stream restoration on Pierceville Run , Rockville Road subwatershed of the South Branch Codorus Creek.

MULTIPLE COUNTIES

Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts – $143,700 to administer the Non-Point Source Educational Mini Grant program, provide workshops and training including the annual Watershed Specialists meeting.

Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts – $5,693,740 for the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, supporting farm-based conservation practices such as forest riparian buffers, wetlands, and grass swales in 59 counties.

Luzerne County Conservation District – $123,500 for abandoned mine reclamation

program coordination through the Eastern Pa. Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation.

Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation – $121,500 for conservation district demonstration projects remediating acid mine discharges.

Wyoming County Conservation District – $131,680 for streambank stabilization demonstration project along the South Branch of Tunkhannock Creek.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy – $111,566 for agricultural best management practices in the impaired Yellow Creek watershed.

Somerset County Conservation District – $150,000 to install stream bank fencing, livestock watering systems, access lanes, and other pasture improvement

management practices on 20 farms in a 14-county area.

American Rivers Inc. – $500,000 for dam removal and river restoration projects statewide.

Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy – $250,000 for approximately 80 stream restoration projects in 14 counties, comprising 20 stream miles.

Headwaters Chartable Trust – $40,000 for rotational grazing systems to reduce sediment and nutrient loading to surface and groundwaters.

Natural Lands Trust – $51,000 for a land conservation planning tool to prioritize sites in northeastern Pennsylvania communities.

Penn Soil Resource Conservation & Development Council – $51,000 to promote use of rotational grazing systems that reduce sediment and nutrient loading to groundwater and surface water.

Capital Resource Conservation & Development Area Council – $140,000 for technical assistance relating to no-till farm management systems.

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society – $250,000 to continue the TreeVitalize Watersheds program that restores tree cover in Southeastern Pennsylvania, including riparian buffers and plantings in stormwater detention basins.

Friends Central School – $50,000 to restore riparian areas in urban parkland along Indian Creek.

Peters Creek Watershed Association – $59,055 to assess and develop a watershed plan for Peters Creek in Allegheny and Washington counties.

Penn State University – $7,344 to develop database software to extract best management practices data.

Trout Unlimited – $120,500 to provide rapid-response and prioritized technical assistance to applicants in several areas of mine reclamation activities.

Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation – $100,000 to recover, process, and sell iron oxide from the treatment of mine drainage pollution.

Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation – $100,000 for quick-response repairs on water quality projects that provide critical protections.

Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts – $300,000 for engineering technical assistance for projects that treat acid mine drainage, restore streams and implement agricultural best management practices.

Pennsylvania Envirothon – $70,000 to support the efforts of the Pennsylvania Envirothon program.

Stroud Water Research Center – $214,725 to expand an on-going study of three streams to demonstrate the impact acid mine discharge has on ecosystem function, particularly nutrient processing.

Trout Unlimited, Doc Fritchey Chapter – $25,000 for an acid mine discharge treatment project on mine discharges that flow to Rausch Creek and Stoney Creek. The treatment systems would replace the diversion wells that have been maintained on Stoney Creek since 1986.

Trout Unlimited – $81,000 to provide updated water quality and benthic data for the entire West Branch Susquehanna River to document the existing condition of the river and its tributaries, and to quantify water quality improvements and establish a benchmark to measure future improvements.

Moshannon Creek Watershed Coalition – $62,000 to assess acid mine drainage impacting a section of Moshannon Creek from Bear Run to Trout Run and to complete a restoration plan.

 

239 DEP: Mine drainage treatment news reports inaccurate, says DEP secretary 2008-02-12 12:34:42

Funding Will Be Provided This Year and Beyond

HARRISBURG — Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty today refuted recent media reports stating that the commonwealth has decided not to fund abandoned mine drainage projects. The secretary said these projects will continue to be funded through the department’s abandoned mine reclamation program this year and beyond.

McGinty said that since 2003, Pennsylvania has invested $17.5 million in abandoned mine lands funding on acid mine drainage treatment for streams. The commonwealth has also targeted more than $62 million from the Growing Greener II program for abandoned mine reclamation projects.

This state and federal money has supported 46 acid mine drainage treatment projects.

“Reports that the department will not provide funding for acid mine drainage treatment projects are false,” said McGinty. “The Governor remains firmly committed to using all available resources to restore our land and water that was damaged by mining before environmental laws were put in place to prevent this kind pollution,”

Governor Edward G. Rendell was instrumental in lobbying for the reauthorization of the federal Abandoned Mine Lands Fund in Congress, which will provide increased funding for this important environmental initiative over the next 15 years.

Pennsylvania will receive $27.6 million from the federal Abandoned Mine Lands Fund for 2008, which will be used to reclaim abandoned mine lands by: eliminating dangerous highwalls where young people often are injured and even killed while riding motorcycles and all terrain vehicles; closing open mine shafts; and planting grass and trees on land left barren by surface mining.

Under the new law, up to 30 percent of this money can be used for treating abandoned mine drainage that makes streams uninhabitable for fish and other aquatic life.

“What we are doing now, and have been doing for the past several months, is engaging the public to help us determine how we can best use our available resources and, in the years ahead, to reclaim abandoned mine lands and clean up acid mine tainted streams.

“We have held public hearings around the state and are continuing to meet with focus groups to help us make the best decisions on how to carry out this important environmental protection program in the long term,” said McGinty. “All Pennsylvanians should be assured we will fund abandoned mine reclamation and stream restoration projects as part of this effort.”

Contact: Neil Weaver, (717) 787-1323

 

238 Health risk from fly ash dumping debated 2008-02-12 12:14:33

Environmentalist: Stricter rules, fed oversight needed. Utility spokesman disagrees.

By Steve Mocarsky smocarsky@timesleader.com

Staff Writer

Given the prevalence of fly ash dumping locally, an environmentalist says the public should write to federal regulators and lawmakers to support federal oversight and more rigorous regulations for dumping that could contaminate water sources.

But a utility association spokesman says state agency oversight of fly ash disposal is adequate, and that recommendations for a voluntary program of compliance would be much more quickly implemented.

And today is the final day that members of the public can formally voice their own opinion on the topic to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Fly ash is a byproduct of coal-fired electric generation plants and contains trace concentrations of many heavy metals that are known to be detrimental to health in sufficient quantities.

Local municipalities in which companies have permits for dumping fly ash for mineland reclamation include Hanover, Hazle, Newport and Plains townships in Luzerne County, Banks Township in Carbon County and Kline Township in Schuylkill County, according to the state Department of Environmental protection.

DEP spokesman Ron Ruman said fly ash is also stored in impoundment sites that are typically located on the properties of the plants that produce it.

Ruman said he feels “pretty confident” that state regulations for fly ash disposal “are environmentally very sound.”

Ruman said a report by Penn State University concluded that using fly ash for mineland reclamation is “proper for the environment” and “we really haven’t found any problems with it.” He said the state is working with groups that “did a study last year and raised some issues on whether there’s a better way to monitor if there’s any leaching (of heavy metals) going on.”

Jeff Stant, of the Clean Air Task Force, said Congress in 1980 ordered the EPA to come up with regulations for fly ash and other coal combustion waste, commonly called CCW.

Finally, in March 2000, the EPA determined CCW would be regulated as a contingent hazardous waste. But after “a storm of protest from electric utilities,” the EPA in May 2000 reclassified it as solid waste and promised to develop regulations for disposal and monitoring, Stant said.

“Eight years have passed and the best they could do is release the Notice of Data Availability in August 2007,” Stant said.

The notice includes a risk assessment analysis that shows there is a “very high risk of cancer to people who live around these unlined impoundment sites,” Stant said.

Stant said there are no requirements for groundwater monitoring at most impoundment sites, permits don’t set limits for many of the metals contained in coal ash, and the “vast majority” of the sites are not lined.

Stant said a National Academy of Sciences report shows that states are not adequately beefing up regulation of fly ash disposal. He said more stringent regulations with federal oversight are necessary because many state lawmakers are influenced by utility company lobbyists, resulting in weak regulations.

Jim Roewer, executive director of the Utility Solid Waste Activities Group, commonly called USWAG, said the group developed an action plan of its own for the EPA to consider in response to concerns about a need for additional groundwater monitoring.

The plan, in which utility company participation would be voluntary, would entail the drilling of monitoring wells within three years on sites where fly ash could pose a threat to groundwater.

Roewer said it would take five years for the implementation of groundwater monitoring if the EPA had to develop and implement its own mandatory regulations.

He also said the Pennsylvania DEP has “one of the foremost regulatory approaches,” and that Stant’s assessment that DEP regulations are lax “isn’t founded.”

Roewer said USWAG’s plan doesn’t need to be mandatory because “the utility companies want to do the right thing. They want to manage their ash so it won’t have an adverse affect on human health and the environment.”

VOICE YOUR OPINION ON THE WEB

Send a letter with your opinion on regulations for fly ash to the U.S. Department of Environmental Protection by e-mail to rcra-docket@epa.gov; fax to (202) 566-0272; or mail to: Notice of Data Availability on the Disposal of Coal Combustion Wastes in Landfills and Surface Impoundments, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 5305T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, D.C. 20460. Direct attention to Docket No. EPA-HQ-RCRA-2006-0796 in the subject line of the e-mail, in the body of the fax or on the envelope of a mailed letter.

Visit www.timesleader.com for links to the Utility Solid Waste Activities Group plan and to a sample letter to the EPA supplied by Jeff Stant.

 

237 Groups push for funding to revive polluted waterways 2008-02-12 12:08:53

Federal money to fix most dangerous mine lands instead

Sunday, February 10, 2008

By Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Watershed organizations aren’t getting any of the $28 million allocated to Pennsylvania from the federal Abandoned Mine Lands Fund this year and they’re not happy about it.

R. John Dawes, executive director of the Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds, said progress toward resurrecting 4,600 miles of biologically dead, mine-polluted streams will slow to a trickle if the state Department of Environmental Protection sticks to its decision to spend all of that federal money to fix the most dangerous abandoned mine lands instead.

Dozens of popular, cost-effective, stream restoration projects across the commonwealth will go begging, Mr. Dawes said, even though up to 30 percent of the federal allocation — about $8.4 million this year and much more in succeeding years — could be allocated by the DEP for the watershed work.

“It’s ridiculous and it’s fiscally irresponsible,” said Beverly Braverman, executive director of the Mountain Watershed Association, which has built treatment projects on the Indian Creek watershed in Somerset County and has two more awaiting state funding decisions. “It’s created a sense of uncertainty in our ability to move ahead on those projects.”

At a meeting scheduled for Wednesday in Harrisburg, Mr. Dawes, Ms. Braverman and watershed group leaders from across Pennsylvania will press state DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty to reverse course and free up the federal funding.

Future concerns

While that discussion will focus on how the DEP will spend this year’s federal allocation, watershed groups are at least as concerned about how the much bigger future allocations from the fund will be divvied up and whether they’ll be cut out.

They are worried that the DEP will use the federal money to paper over state shortfalls in its mine reclamation bureau and expand its own watershed reclamation program, which has designed and built about 40 projects statewide.

At stake is up to 30 percent or $408 million, of $1.36 billion the state is guaranteed to get in the next 15 years from the Abandoned Mine Lands Fund, which was established in 1977 to fix the scars left by previously unregulated mining.

This year’s $28 million allocation is the first to reflect the increased funding mandated by the reauthorization. The annual allocations, funded by a royalty payment by mining companies on every ton of mined coal, will bump up to around $35 million in 2009, $60 million in 2010 and $90 million by 2018.

When the fund was reauthorized in December 2006, after hard lobbying in Washington by Pennsylvania’s watershed groups, the amount allowed for remediation of mine water discharges was increased from 10 percent to 30 percent.

“We worked hard to get that 30 percent set-aside for watershed projects, and it’s important to distribute that full amount to watershed groups rather than run the whole program out of state mining offices,” said Mr. Dawes, who also chairs the Pennsylvania Abandoned Mine Land Coalition.

“We understand there’s a backlog of dangerous mine sites in need of funding. But in many cases, water improvements are just as much a priority as a dangerous abandoned mine site and can have just as devastating an effect on a community.”

Grass-roots efforts

Pennsylvania’s long mining history has left deep scars on 184,000 acres of abandoned mine land — more than in any other state. And the thousands of miles of drainage-impaired streams flowing off that acreage are its biggest water quality problem. Together the wasted land and dead water affect 44 of the state’s 67 counties.

Across the state, more than 200 community-based watershed groups, run by volunteers and funded with a mix of federal, state and private grant money, have formed over the last decade to work on the problems. They’ve built approximately 200 mine drainage treatment projects around the state.

Ms. Braverman said watershed groups are better able to maximize the impact of the Abandoned Mine Lands Fund money by leveraging matching money from private sources and other government funding that the state can’t tap. She said the groups also receive in-kind donations and use armies of volunteers to control project costs and provide quality control.

“We make $1 million work like $3 million,” Ms. Braverman said. “We can get projects done quicker, better and cheaper than the state can.”

Still, mine drainage treatment projects, almost all using a “passive” technology that channels mine drainage through a series of settling and aeration ponds where iron, aluminum and other metals drop out, are expensive to build and operate. The Mountain Watershed Association’s planned Mellcroft project will cost more than $1 million, and its Marcellino project plan is priced at $900,000.

Scott Roberts, DEP’s deputy secretary for mineral resources management, said the DEP is not trying to cut watershed groups out of stream reclamation, but is reassessing how the grant program will work.

“We’re in a ramp-up period for the federal funding and this is the time for us to figure out how we want the program to look when we do get larger sums,” Mr. Roberts said. “We recognize the value and benefit of the watershed groups and we’re not trying to freeze them out.”

Setting priorities

But Mr. Roberts also said it’s important to fix quickly the kind of dangerous abandoned mine land problems that cause the deaths of 25 to 35 people a year nationwide. That’s more than usually die at active surface and underground mines.

The state is targeting 5,100 of the most dangerous abandoned mine sites to reclaim cliff-like “highwalls” at old strip mines, douse underground mine fires and fill in open mine shafts and mine entrances.

“These are dangerous areas. If we can take care of them we should do it,” he said. “In the east, where there are more of those types of sites, they’re asking if we should spend any money on mine drainage until we get rid of the places where kids are getting killed.”

Mr. Roberts said the DEP is rewriting the state’s Comprehensive Mine Reclamation Program, which will guide planning on mining and watershed projects, including how much of the federal set-aside for watershed projects should be spent on new construction, and maintenance and rehabilitation of existing projects. One possibility under consideration is to create an interest-bearing fund for the maintenance and rehabilitation of existing projects.

The DEP has been funding some of the projects proposed by watershed groups with the state’s Growing Greener I and II bond money. But the Growing Greener II funding stream will likely end after this year, several watershed group leaders said, leaving them scrambling for project financing and, possibly, survival.

“This decision by the DEP definitely puts us on the back burner,” said Robert Hughes, executive director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, which has more than 70 member organizations working on stream restoration projects in the state’s anthracite region. “The state’s working on its backlog, but without this additional funding I’m not sure what our community members who want to participate in improving their watersheds will do.”

Mr. Hughes said the AML Fund allocations would be “a huge shot in the arm” for the more than 200 community groups working on watershed projects in the state.

“We’re missing a big window of opportunity to leverage the federal money with other federal and state programs and foundation grants to make it go even farther,” Mr. Hughes said. “If DEP wants to create a maintenance trust fund they ought to do it and let these community groups get back to doing what they do best, taking care of the streams.”

Amy Wolf, director of abandoned mine programs for Trout Unlimited, works mostly in the Susquehanna River watershed in central Pennsylvania and said many watershed groups are now facing project delays.

“We know Growing Greener money is dwindling for abandoned mine drainage projects, and we want to know where else we can go to get money for these projects,” Ms. Wolf said. “A lot of them are ready to go.”

Don Hopey can be reached at dhopey@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1983.

First published on February 10, 2008 at 12:00 am

 

236 2008 Woodland Resource Adventure Camp 2008-01-11 11:27:17

Campers and Sponsors Needed

Endless Mountains Resource Conservation and Development Council and its partners are once again holding the Woodland Resource Adventure (WRA) Camp for 2008. This twenty-one year old program (previously named Youth Forestry Camp) will be held on the campus of Camp Lackawanna, Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania. The Woodland Resources Adventure Camp begins on Sunday, July 13 at 12:00 am and runs through Thursday, July 17 at 3:30 pm. WRA is an overnight camp and is open for students ages 12-16. This year’s theme is “Forestry”. Lodging and two days of sessions will be held at Camp Lackawanna while two days will consist of field trips to sites in the local area. We will travel to various locations such as a baseball bat factory, tree nursery, Christmas tree farm, and maple syrup operation. Participants will learn about the following topics: tree identification and measurement, Forest Stewardship planning, wildlife impacts to forests, invasive pests, and tree climbing.

The student is responsible to pay $175. The remaining $100 is provided in the form of a sponsorship. We encourage students to make every effort, on their own, to obtain local sponsorship from an organization or business. The Woodland Resource Adventure Camp committee has a limited number of sponsorships available, if you cannot find one on your own. The total fee covers the cost of meals, lodging, insurance, tour transportation, and program materials.

WRA Camp is recommended for young people who want to learn about the outdoors and the environment through an excellent hands-on experience. The Camp provides an opportunity to prepare for the Envirothon competitions, 4H Events and can be used as credit toward Scout Merit Badges.

For any student interesting in attending the camp, please contact Endless Mountains RC&D Council to obtain a brochure.

Any individual, group or business interested in becoming a sponsor of a student or the camp in general, please contact Endless Mountains RC&D office by phone 570-265-3409 ext. 5. Donations of any denomination will be accepted. Endless Mountains RC&D Council is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so any donation/sponsorship for the camp or a student is tax deductible.

For more information on the Woodland Resources Adventure Camp, contact Endless Mountains RC&D Council office by phone 570-265-3409 ext. 5 or www.endlessmountainsrcd.org.

WRA Tentative Agenda: Not all speakers or locations have been confirmed

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Tree Identification-Terminology and Using a Key

Plants Other Than Trees

Wood Mobile/Forest Products

Orienteering/Compass/GPS

Wildlife Rehabilitators and Taxidermist

Monday, July 14, 2008

Benny’s Nurseries-Tour of nursery and Christmas Tree Farm and discussion of invasive pests

Tour of Loch’s Maple Syrup operation

Community Forestry Session-each presentation is 45 minutes

 Structured Soil

 Urban Tree Commission

 Urban Tree Pruning

 Tree Climbing

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Watersheds and the Forest Connection

Basic Tree Measurements

What’s Your Tree Worth

Silviculture

Forest Succession

Woodland Inventory and Forest Stewardship Plans

Forest Scavenger Hunt

Tree Felling and Chain Saw Safety

PA Fuels for Schools and Beyond Program

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tours of Oak Hill Veneer

Troy Ag Museum

Cummings Lumber

Larimer & Norton

Hike/Geocashing

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Owl Habitat

Deer Impacts and Quality Deer Management

Invasive Plants and Mis-management of Forests

Land Conservation Easements/Stewardship Plan

Careers and Natural Resource Opportunities in the Area

 

235 Comprehensive Update of Mine Safety Laws Goes Before Senate Committee 2008-01-08 15:03:47

First major rewrite of mine safety laws in more than 45 years.

Harrisburg , The Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee, chaired by Sen. Mary Jo White (R-21), will meet next week to consider the first comprehensive rewrite of Pennsylvania’s mine safety laws in more than 45 years.

The meeting will be held Tuesday, January 15 at 9:30 a.m. in Room 8 E-B of the Capitol’s East Wing.

Among its provisions, Senate Bill 949 would create a new Board of Coal Mine Safety to keep Pennsylvania’s mine safety standards regularly updated, provide for greater responsibility for operators to ensure the safety, and enable the state to establish a central database of maps of mines throughout the Commonwealth.

Senator White, Democratic Committee Chairman Raphael Musto and the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Richard Kasunic, worked closely with Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen McGinty, DEP officials, coal mine operators and mine union officials in preparing the legislation.

###

CONTACT:

Patrick Henderson , Sen. White (717) 787-9684

Richard Fox , Sen. Musto (717) 787-7105

Will Dando , Sen. Kasunic (717) 787-7175

 

234 Borehole collapse may be cause of Hanover Twp. flooding, officials say 2008-01-08 15:01:24

BY MICHAEL R. SISAK

STAFF WRITER

01/08/2008

HANOVER TWP. , U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski got a firsthand look Monday at the rust-colored pond that has been forming from a 20-foot rise in underground mine water over the last two weeks in the township.

Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, walked along the banks of the pond, in a tranquil woods behind Dundee Apartments, and heard the details of an ongoing investigation and a possible solution from officials with the U.S. Office of Surface Mining.

“What we’re all disturbed about is that when the mine pool rises as fast as it did, to the height that it did, (we want to make sure) it’s not something really substantial that has changed, that we’re not aware of,” said Kanjorski.

Mick Kuhns, chief of the Office of Surface Mining in Wilkes-Barre, and Mike Dziak, executive director of Earth Conservancy, the nonprofit organization that owns the flooded land, told Kanjorski the rise in mine water appears to be have been caused by the collapse in mid-December of a drainage borehole in nearby Askam.

“Normally, the water would drain itself out through the Askam borehole,” said Kuhns. “It is not doing that like it should.”

Edie Zabroski, the Office of Surface Mining project manager, said her office would work first to reduce the level of the pond by doubling the width of a 3-foot channel that, with the aid of a motorized pump, has been directing flood water into the nearby Nanticoke Creek.

“This is treating a symptom here,” said Kuhns. “It’s not solving the problem.”

Zabroski said the focus of the Office of Surface Mining would shift Thursday to the collapsed borehole. A crane is being brought in from Pittsburgh and a camera will be lowered into the shaft to help investigators determine if the collapse is causing the rise in mine water. If it is, Zabroski said, a new borehole would be drilled.

“If the camera confirms that it is the Askam borehole, then putting in a new borehole should take care of the problem,” Zabroski told Kanjorski.

The pond, which measured larger than a football field as it moved perilously close to Building K in the Dundee complex, has receded about 8 feet, moving away from the backyard patio that resident William Zupancic, 87, considered his sanctuary.

The rising mine water has also affected residents near the intersection of Dundee and South Main roads , more than 1,000 feet from the pond. Dominic Lombardi, who lives in a home adjacent to the Dundee Apartments on South Main Road, said orange-colored water that has flowed steadily in his backyard, seeping into his basement since last Saturday.

“I have water shooting up,” said Lombardi. “Whatever underneath is coming up.”

Kanjorski, who remembers the Knox Mine Disaster in 1959, when water from the Susquehanna River infiltrated a mine near Pittston, said the rising mine water is part of a problem that has affected communities throughout the Wyoming Valley for decades.

“What you have to do is be conscious of the fact that when there is a significant change in water location that is unexplained, you get the people that understand it so it doesn’t get ahead of you,” said Kanjorski.

msisak@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2061

©The Citizens Voice 2008

 

233 Collapse of borehole dug after Knox Disaster causing basement flooding 2008-01-08 14:56:25

Feds to view flooding linked to mine tragedy

By Steve Mocarsky smocarsky@timesleader.com

Staff Writer

HANOVER TWP. , Federal officials today will see for themselves a flooding problem that is related to the deadly Knox Mine Disaster in 1959 that has troubled residents of a Lower Askam neighborhood.

Carl Olshefski, of Clarks Crossing Road, off Main Street and near Dundee Road, said he and others noticed flooding in basements about a week ago.

Basement flooding is nothing new to many areas in Luzerne County. But the apparent cause of flooding in the Dundee Road/Clarks Crossing area is the collapse of a borehole, which Olshefski said was dug after the mine disaster to alleviate flooding problems.

Township Manager John J. Sipper said a resident informed the township of the flooding, and officials found the source was water on land owned by Earth Conservancy and making its way to neighborhood basements.

Sipper said Earth Conservancy President and CEO Mike Dziak “acted quickly and took over the lead” on the problem.

Dziak said the collapse of the Askam Borehole on Dundee Road caused the normal flow of underground mine water to be restricted and contributed to a backflow of water that eventually seeped up through the ground onto Earth Conservancy property.

Although the problem is really the responsibility of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement, Dziak said Earth Conservancy dug a channel and has been using a pump to divert the water into nearby Nanticoke Creek.

“Our concern is that none of the neighbors would be impacted,” Dziak said.

Dziak said that while the diversion has been successful for the past one and a half to two weeks, he’s been “waiting for the OSM to take action.”

Dziak will join U.S. Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, representatives from Sens. Bob Casey’s and Arlen Specter’s offices and a representative from the OSM on a tour of the site this afternoon.

Olshefski likened Dziak and Earth Conservancy to “the little Dutch boy who put his finger in the dike” to save his town from being flooded.

“I’m afraid it’s an impending disaster. “¦ Hopefully, there won’t be a really big weather event” before federal officials can permanently fix the problem, Olshefski said.

Boreholes initially were drilled by mining companies to determine the location and thickness of coal seams. In the 1970s, they were drilled as a way to relieve water pressure on home foundations and basements in the South Wilkes-Barre area.

The boreholes were considered necessary after Tropical Storm Agnes in 1972 and the Knox Mine disaster, in which water built up in the mines.

In 1977, such boreholes were stopped by an act of Congress, according to Robert Hughes, regional coordinator with the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation.

Steve Mocarsky, a Times Leader staff writer, may be reached at 459-2005.

 

232 State to get almost $28 million for mine reclamation in 2008 2007-12-20 17:11:25

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

By Don Hopey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania will get almost $28 million in 2008 — $6.5 million more than this year — to reclaim dangerous abandoned mine sites and put out mine fires, from an amended federal abandoned mine reclamation funding program.

The payout announced by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining yesterday is the first installment of money guaranteed the state to reclaim the historic mining scars left on 184,000 acres of abandoned mine lands — more than in any other state.

The amendments to the abandoned minelands funding program will bring Pennsylvania approximately $1.36 billion guaranteed over the next 15 to 18 years from the OSM, which collects a royalty on each ton of mined coal to fund reclamation efforts. The federal fund contains about $2.3 billion.

Abandoned mine land problems or polluted mine water runoffs affect 44 of the state’s 67 counties. The bulk of the funding will be used at 5,100 of the state’s most dangerous abandoned mine sites to reclaim cliff-like highwalls at old strip mines, douse the worst of the 30 underground mine fires burning across the state, plug deep mine entrances and remove coal waste piles that pollute streams with their runoff.

In Allegheny County, there are 263 identified abandoned mine sites affecting 4,514 acres.

First published on December 18, 2007 at 1:47 pm

 

231 Reclaiming a Toxic Legacy Through Art and Science 2007-11-28 13:31:12

by Erik Reece

Published in the November/December 2007 issue of Orion magazine

THROUGHOUT PENNSYLVANIA, THE VFW HALLS look much the same,a bar stretches across the front and a bingo parlor sits behind it. In 1995, T. Allan Comp, a historic preservationist who specializes in industrial sites, walked into the VFW bar in the small borough of Vintondale. Comp was looking for some local people who had agreed to talk with him about a reclamation project that he called Acid Mine Drainage and Art (AMD&ART). Comp’s idea was to reclaim toxic former coal mines using not only science but elements of design, sculpture, and history, which he hoped would spur community involvement and create vital public spaces. And although a small group had gathered in the bingo hall to meet with Comp, the men sitting at the bar had their doubts.

“One of the guys said, “˜Are you here for that art thing?'” Comp told me when I met him in 2005. He explained to the men that what he really wanted to do was transform the wasted area that ran alongside the community into a new kind of park. A ripple of laughter ran down the bar. “They were like, “˜Har, har, har. That’s got to be the dumbest idea in the world,'” said Comp.

Five years later, after a lot of public meetings and public planning, Comp took a picture of a group of men building benches in front of the firehouse, benches that would eventually sit in the park. “What’s great about that photo is that three of the men in it had been at the bar that first night,” Comp told me on the day that the AMD&ART Vintondale Park was officially dedicated.

Read more of this article and add comments on the Orion Website. The article is titled Putting art to work

230 Creativity flows through the use of iron oxide found in local riverbeds 2007-11-28 13:16:36

A River Runs Through It

Gallery showing will be on display at the AFA gallery on December 7th at 6 p.m.

Artists for Art Gallery in partnership with the Eastern Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation have made creative use of the iron oxide pigment collected from local riverbeds. Supported by a grant through the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts-Scranton Area Foundation, seven area high school students worked with book artist Ivana Pavelka for five sessions at Keystone College and AFA Gallery and created accordion books using the pigment in their artwork. Robert Hughes AML Program Manager of EPCAMR introduced the students to the reclamation and transformation process of the abandoned mine drainage and showed them how it becomes a pigment that is environmentally friendly and useful to artists. For the following art-making sessions, Ivana and the students explored the artistic uses of the pigment as well as the cultural and historical implications of the material itself. Mixed media artist Elizabeth Parry-Faist worked with the students on including photographic images in their books, and poet Jennifer Hill-Kaucher helped them add meaningful text. The finished accordion books show the use of the pigment in mixed media, paint and ink and will be on display at the AFA gallery on December 7th at 6 p.m. as part of Scranton’s First Friday Art Walk.

This project was generously supported by the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Scranton Area Foundation.

 

229 Man has a plan that would use underground water to heat and cool structures 2007-11-28 13:08:47

Mine tunnels seen as assets

By RORY SWEENEY

rsweeny@timesleader.com

SCRANTON – For years, it seemed that the underground mining industry that forged this region had also given it its biggest black eye. Due to the efforts of a few amateur explorers, it’s possible that black eye also created the region’s golden egg. Down in the mine tunnels that scarred the land and spoiled the water, the explorers hatched an idea unique to this region that could supply cheap, renewable heating and cooling for consumers from Forest City to Shickshinny.

Jim Sovaiko, a Lackawanna County antique electric-meter restorer with an insatiable interest in mines, has long believed the acidic water that infiltrated the tunnels held untapped energy potential. The idea has politicians and professionals from various fields buzzing about the prospects. A banner made for Tuesday’s demonstration said Northeastern Pennsylvania has reemerged as “The Clean Energy Capital of the World.”

Lackawanna County Commissioner Robert Cordaro discussed the implications of the idea and invited people to tour a small shed heated and cooled exclusively using the earth’s own heat. Two holes, spaced about 70 feet apart, are bored about 150 feet down to the water-filled mineshafts. A pump in one hole pulls water from the shaft, and the water is filtered before it enters a heat exchanger.

Depending on the season, the exchanger unit removes or adds heat to the water to regulate the building’s temperature. The water is then pumped back into the mineshaft, along with the filtered-out materials, through the second bore hole.

Cordaro said he had “asked all the bad questions” to ensure it wouldn’t “replace one environmental problem with another.” The announcement created “happy timing” coming just a week before the election but wasn’t politically motivated, he said. He intends for private industry to undertake process, and said the county’s recently created Authority for Innovative Renewable Energy “as a conduit for funds, for research” and for collection of certain fees. Those fees would reduce property taxes, he said.

Deep Interest

For years, Sovaiko held onto his idea but couldn’t be sure the mine water would be useful unless he actually saw it. In 2004, he met Chris Murley, an amateur mine explorer who got him access to the source. “From there, it’s just connecting dots” between those with the idea and those who can make it happen, Sovaiko said. The idea is relatively simple, but it’s unique and wouldn’t exist without the mining operations. Because the ground is so undermined, the water creates “an enormous storehouse of heat and cool,” said J.B. Singh the president of J and P Engineers. The ground insulates the water, keeping it a consistent 55 degrees, and there is “vastly too much water all surrounded by highly heat conductive rock” to affect the temperature; no matter how many people draw on the resource, he said. In fact, the high concentration of people in the valley creates a “fortuitous juxtaposition” because they can all tap in with little impact, making the idea more effective.

Costs can be recouped

The engineers have outlined an area in which the holes wouldn’t go below 150 feet, making construction of a system cost effective. Singh said customers could recoup their costs within about four years. The only electricity being used is to run several pumps. Residential system design could run between $3,000 and $15,000, said Arthur Hunt, of J and P Engineers. Construction was estimated at about $2,500 to $3,000 per 12,000 BTUs.

That compares favorably to construction costs for a gas heat and electric air-conditioning system, he said.

The general idea isn’t novel, but its application in this area is. Geothermal heating and cooling systems have been installed for years, but the difference is that water is pumped up and down many bore holes, potentially hundreds, rather than circulated through a vast water body via two holes. To combat potential deterioration from the water’s pollutants, the pipes in the holes are plastic and the heat exchanger is stainless steel. The contaminants would be filtered out by then, so the rest of the system need not be so resistant. The filter would need cleaning about twice a year, Singh said. Because there is more undermined land in the Wilkes-Barre area, Sovaiko said, it would work even better there. The idea even poses advantages for property values, he said, because the worth of the energy underneath it will now be included.

For Sovaiko, the work has been fun, but not profitable. In fact, he said he has no financial interest in the process. “It’s been like a public service,” he said. He has a different process in mind for exploiting the underground heat without moving the acidic water, but that will wait until the idea evolves, gains acceptance and is used. “It’s like the Wild West. I don’t know where it’s going to go,” he said. “The higher the price of energy goes, the better we look.” But no matter where conversation with Sovaiko goes, it always returns to miners. “They were down there carving out the coal, and they had no idea they were carving out an energy resource for their children,” he said.

 

228 Reclaiming a Toxic Legacy Through Art and Science 2007-10-30 17:31:47

Putting art to work

by Erik Reece

Published in the November/December 2007 issue of Orion magazine

THROUGHOUT PENNSYLVANIA, THE VFW HALLS look much the same,a bar stretches across the front and a bingo parlor sits behind it. In 1995, T. Allan Comp, a historic preservationist who specializes in industrial sites, walked into the VFW bar in the small borough of Vintondale. Comp was looking for some local people who had agreed to talk with him about a reclamation project that he called Acid Mine Drainage and Art (AMD&ART). Comp’s idea was to reclaim toxic former coal mines using not only science but elements of design, sculpture, and history, which he hoped would spur community involvement and create vital public spaces. And although a small group had gathered in the bingo hall to meet with Comp, the men sitting at the bar had their doubts.

“One of the guys said, “˜Are you here for that art thing?'” Comp told me when I met him in 2005. He explained to the men that what he really wanted to do was transform the wasted area that ran alongside the community into a new kind of park. A ripple of laughter ran down the bar. “They were like, “˜Har, har, har. That’s got to be the dumbest idea in the world,'” said Comp.

Five years later, after a lot of public meetings and public planning, Comp took a picture of a group of men building benches in front of the firehouse, benches that would eventually sit in the park. “What’s great about that photo is that three of the men in it had been at the bar that first night,” Comp told me on the day that the AMD&ART Vintondale Park was officially dedicated.

We were actually sitting at one of those benches inside a large pavilion. It was a beautiful summer day. Speeches had been made and supporters had been thanked. To our right, a series of passive treatment ponds was transforming an orange, acidic syrup into clear, clean water that flowed into a seven-acre wetland before emptying into Blacklick Creek. To our left, children were playing on the new soccer field while their mothers watched and talked in the pavilion’s shade. Visitors took guided tours of the ponds, gardens, and sculptural installations dedicated to the memory of the men who dug coal in this small community until the 1950s.

When the underground mines shut down and the coal companies skipped town, they left behind a poisonous discharge of sulfuric acid and iron known as acid mine drainage. So many Pennsylvania streams run orange with acid that, according to Comp, “People from the region don’t even see it. They grew up with it.” Comp himself grew up in Southern California and came to Pennsylvania in 1993 to work for the National Park Service’s National Heritage Areas Program, where he oversaw economic development, education, and historical preservation in a ten-county region. He had earned his PhD in the history of technology and American economic history from the University of Delaware. But two years of teaching at Boston University convinced Comp that his future lay beyond the ivory tower. “I wanted to be out in the field, working with all of this history,” he said. So he moved to the National Park Service to become senior historian of the Historic American Engineering Record, documenting historical industrial sites for the Library of Congress.

Comp’s work with the National Park Service did indeed allow him to experience firsthand the region’s built industrial landscape, or what he calls “the vernacular of technology.” “That is the American character as far as I’m concerned,” Comp explained. “All of the amazing things we’ve built give you a window into us as a culture.” But it also gives you a lot of toxic waste, and that waste has destroyed rivers throughout Appalachia, a region Comp calls the country’s “largest forgotten ecosystem.”

In the late 1990s, the Environmental Protection Agency designated acid mine drainage as the biggest environmental problem in the eastern mountains. But well before then, Comp had been kicking around the idea of a reclamation project that would actually call attention to the problem and its solution. “If we’re going to get our act together enough to address a big environmental problem,” Comp said, “we ought to celebrate the fact that we’ve gotten our act together enough to address a big environmental problem.” Ten years after that first meeting in the bingo hall, Comp and Vintondale had indeed brought off something remarkable: together, and assisted by a dedicated crew of AmeriCorps and VISTA volunteers, they transformed the town dump into what the AMD&ART mission statement calls “a public place in which to explore, learn, reflect, and recreate.” And they have learned a lot about themselves and each other.

THE AIM OF AMD&ART, “to re-create a sense of place by honoring the past and instilling hope in the future,” is certainly laudable. But Comp’s first encounter at the VFW hall is suggestive of the forces that work against such initiatives in the coal fields of Appalachia. In the 1910s, the railroad found its way into the remote hollows of these mountains. Company towns, or coal camps, were thrown up quickly, and all manner of men,immigrants and mountaineers,went to work underground. Families from twenty-two countries came to Vintondale, looking to earn a living. The work was brutal and the pay poor. A man might spend all day loosening coal in a twenty-inch-high mine shaft and earn one dollar. A miner’s wife-turned-songwriter, Sarah Ogan Gunning, remembered, “It literally happened,people starved to death. Not only my baby, but the neighbors’ babies. You see them starve to death too. And all you could do was go over and help wash and dress ’em and lay ’em out and sit with the mothers until they could put ’em away.” Eventually, the miners tried to organize. Throughout Appalachia, the bloody union wars of the 1930s dramatized exactly what kind of civic engagement the coal companies would not tolerate.

“If you were civically engaged in a coal camp, ” noted Comp, “you were likely to get fired, blacklisted, and be homeless.” So the tendency to keep one’s mouth shut, to grudgingly accept terms set by others, became part of the Appalachian character. According to Comp, it has led to the “nothing good happens in Vintondale” attitude that he met up with that first night at the VFW hall.

Looking at old photos of the AMD&ART site, one can understand why. When the coal operators pulled out of Vintondale, they left behind thousands of tons of “bony,” coal waste that has very little energy value. Mounds of this black rubble were strewn around crumbling coke ovens and rusting coal tipples. The coal operators also left behind a dwindling community where the per capita income was half of the state average. As Comp writes in his AMD&ART founder’s statement, “These are citizens who rarely, if ever, have the opportunity to participate and learn from any kind of cultural or arts-related activities within their own town. There is little sense of being special in Vintondale, no particular distinction to boast of, only constant decline for half a century,typical for much of Coal Country, too typical.” In 1998, as a survey of townspeople showed, the idea that this thirty-five-acre blight could be a place that attracted tourists and brought pride to the town sounded, if not like “the dumbest idea in the world,” certainly like a remote possibility.

Undeterred, Comp put together a core team of designers that included hydrologist Bob Deason, sculptor Stacy Levy, and landscape designer Julie Bargmann. And crucial members of his elaborate cast were the townspeople themselves. “If I have an art form, it’s probably choreography,” Comp explained, “and I don’t even get to pick the dancers. I’ve got elephants and gazelles and they all have to work together.” At one of the first town meetings, Comp handed out topographical maps of the site, along with markers, and he asked the people of Vintondale, including some high school kids he had rounded up on a street corner, to draw in what they wanted. As it turned out, what the community wanted and what the AMD&ART team envisioned were not exactly the same thing. The design team talked about a water-treatment system, wetlands, and public art; the community talked about picnic tables and a baseball field to replace the one lost in a 1977 flood. Comp takes obvious pride in the fact that everyone,designers and townspeople,got most of what they wanted. “No one is allowed to compromise, but all have to accommodate” is a kind of mantra for Comp when it comes to designing with and for communities. He is emphatic in his belief that good design must include public engagement. “Designers who work in the isolation of their offices when doing community projects are designing in a vacuum,” he maintains.

Sue Thering, from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, has spent a great deal of time studying the Vintondale project. Thering is an extension agent in the Department of Landscape Architecture, and her work focuses on encouraging citizen participation in public works. She believes that the design team’s receptiveness was the key to earning the community’s trust and changing much of its defeatist attitude. The same survey that was conducted in 1998 was replicated in 2001. In those three years, the number of residents who thought positive change,attracting tourists or bringing fish back to the creek, for example,was possible jumped from 20 percent to 70 percent. Thering attributes the shift to what adult education theorists call transformative learning. “The people in Vintondale were being listened to and they were learning to bump up against their own preconceptions about themselves and about the community,” she told me at the park’s dedication, over a couple of kielbasa. “Something changed that made them think it was possible to build a park that people would visit.” That something was a dialogue between what Thering terms “outside experts” from the design team and “inside experts,” the people in Vintondale who knew their town’s history best.

Something else that might not be as easily measured statistically is Comp’s charisma. Many who eventually donated money or resources to AMD&ART describe their first meeting with him as something akin to watching a fast-talking dervish armed with maps and pamphlets. Comp, who is sixty-four and has been married to Selma Thomas for thirty-five years, has unruly white hair and an easy manner. He takes as a given that his ideas seem unorthodox and untried, and he starts from there. Consequently, he seems to inspire a lot of frontier thinking in people: let’s do something no one else has done before. Liz Elliott, one of AMD&ART’s many volunteers, said, “I think Allan knows before the people themselves know that they will become committed.”

BACK IN THE 1990’S, WHEN COMP WAS STILL trying to sell the Vintondale community on his idea for the AMD&ART Park, the state of Pennsylvania started building power plants that were intended to burn coal waste exclusively. It was an effort to get rid of all the bony piles that littered the state, but what it meant for Comp was, “We got seventy thousand tons of material removed from the Vintondale site for nothing. That at least got us down to more or less bare ground.”

And in 1995, the EPA’s Sustainable Development Program awarded AMD&ART a $250,000 grant. That was enough to begin work on a passive treatment system that would naturally convert acid mine drainage back to swimmable water. Though Deason engineered this system, Comp emphasizes that all four members of the design team collaborated on every component of the park. They designed six keystone-shaped ponds at the eastern edge of the property. A half mile away, acid mine drainage was pouring out of a mine portal into Blacklick Creek at a rate of two hundred gallons per minute. Today, that drainage is pumped into the first treatment pond where, instead of taking the typical approach of using sodium hydroxide to neutralize the acid, Deason lined the pond bottom with limestone that naturally draws iron out of the water. The discharge then flows downhill into the other ponds, growing cleaner with each filter process, until it is ready to return to the creek.

On one weekend in 2001, AMD&ART organized the planting of a thousand trees beside the ponds. The idea was to create a “litmus garden” where the fall color of the trees would reflect the color of the acidic water as it turned from a reddish-orange, to yellow, to silver green. One hundred and fifty people showed up that day to help, including many Vintondale natives who had moved away. Alongside the first pond, they planted six-foot-tall black cherry and sweetgum trees whose leaves would turn red in the fall. Downstream they planted orange-leafed sugar maple, yellow-leafed poplar and hackberry, and finally the light-green black willow to indicate clear, uncontaminated water.

AmeriCorps and VISTA volunteers were interspersed among the planting team. By that time, AMD&ART had raised enough money to provide room and board for a few volunteer workers each year. They had set up their headquarters in the basement of the Hungarian Reformed Church, whose members agreed to lease the space to AMD&ART for one dollar a year. The volunteers ran their operation from the basement,writing grants, coordinating field projects, and hectoring the state to build an access road for the park. Comp credits them more than anyone, himself included, for finally winning the town over. “You have to earn credibility and trust,” he said. “The way I do it is with AmeriCorps and VISTA. These volunteers give you the face time with the community that is absolutely critical if you’re really going to do community-based design. Coal country is nothing if not tight. You get inside that culture a little and you get lots of support and lots of interest.”

ONE OF THE STRANGER THINGS ABOUT ALLAN COMP is whom he works for now: the U.S. Department of the Interior,in particular, the Office of Surface Mining (OSM). Within the environmental and conservation community, OSM is usually not considered a forward-thinking regulatory agency, particularly under the current administration. When George W. Bush first took office in 2001, he loaded most federal natural resources agencies with undersecretaries who had previously worked as lobbyists for the very industries they were being entrusted to regulate.

None of this is news to Comp. He knows he’s the odd man out at OSM. But in 1999, when Gene Kruger, OSM’s division chief for reclamation assistance, saw what was happening at Vintondale, he asked Comp to organize something similar for OSM. “OSM wanted me to come in and do this in a lot of other places,” Comp said. He now oversees the Watershed Assistance Team, which places VISTA workers in communities across Appalachia. In 2004, Comp won the Department of Interior’s Environmental Achievement Award for creating innovative partnerships between OSM and various organizations working to protect watersheds. In the current political climate, one learns to savor small victories. In reality, Comp works “so far down inside the belly of the beast” that he poses little threat to industry,at least that’s what he said as he and I sat in his favorite diner in Cambria City. About fifteen miles from Vintondale and right across from the steel mills, this was the community where immigrants had settled in the 1930s. Reasoning that he was also an immigrant to Pennsylvania, Comp bought a small house here back in the 1990s so he could be close to Vintondale. The diner is a neighborhood fixture where the waitresses are extremely nice and breakfast is ridiculously cheap.

After we ate, Comp took me for a tour of the newly completed AMD&ART Park. We walked along the Ghost Town Rail Trail, which today attracts seventy-five thousand bicyclists a year, and was one of the main things that attracted Comp to the abandoned mine site. A few cyclists had stopped at a low concrete platform to watch artist Jessica Liddell add the last porcelain tiles to a mosaic that illustrates what these thirty-five acres looked like at the height of the coal boom. The nine-by-fifteen-foot mosaic is modeled on a 1928 Sanborn Insurance map. It depicts with a line of brown and black tiles the coke ovens whose foundations are still visible in the wetland area beyond the mosaic.

Liddell had recently completed a mosaic for the cafe in New York’s famous Random House Building. “To a lot of people, that may just be wall decor,” she told us, “but here in Vintondale, I’ve spent time with the very people who this mosaic is for. It became very real when folks that lived in the town and worked in the mine walked up and pointed out the homes that their families had lived in for generations.”

Across the Ghost Town trail from Liddell’s piece stands Mine Portal No. 6, where in the 1930s and 1940s most of the men of Vintondale disappeared underground each morning. From the trail, you can see that a large slab of polished black granite now blocks the portal, framed with heavy timbers. Much like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington DC, it does not look that impressive from a distance. Only when stepping closer do you realize that an image of nine miners leaving the portal has been diamond-etched into the granite. The miners all carry lunch pails and wear head lanterns and heavy work coats. The artist, Anita Lucero, etched them life-sized and in exquisite detail. But unlike the Vietnam Memorial, where only the names of the soldiers appear, the Miner’s Memorial depicts images that were taken from the quarter-inch, 8-millimeter film of a 1938 home movie. Comp enlarged the image to eight-by-ten inches and chose Lucero to re-create this tableau. Over a hundred people attended the dedication of the Miner’s Memorial in 2005. Comp recalled, “We had guys showing this to their grandkids, saying, “˜That’s the kind of lunch bucket I had. My lunch was in the top, my water was in the bottom.’ As a historian, that’s important to me.” And unlike the Vietnam Memorial, where the names are cut deep into the granite to accentuate that they will not be forgotten, the image of these miners appears gauzy and almost ghostlike. That was Comp’s intention, and Lucero’s rendering is as evocative as it is accurate.

And yet, through the ritual of art, these ghost miners have made the history of Vintondale real again. The social theorist Michael Mayerfeld Bell has written thoughtfully about what he calls “the ghosts of place,” defining ghosts as “felt presences” or “the sense of the presence of those who are not physically there.” In Vintondale, that dormant sense of being of a place,so characteristic of Appalachia,has been revived through a work of public art that retrieved the past in order to celebrate it. And by laying claim to the past, a community has laid claim to a revived sense of place. Perhaps the clearest example of this in Vintondale is that its residents have recently decided to restart, after thirty years of inactivity, the Town Planning Commission.

Comp and I circled the treatment ponds and the Litmus Garden until we came to one of my favorite aspects of the AMD&ART Park design. It is a slate installation, set on the bank of Blacklick Creek, directly across the park from the Miner’s Memorial. Called Clean Slate, it was designed by University of Pennsylvania landscape architecture students Claire Fullman and Emily Nye. It is a minimalist work made up of two long pieces of rough black slate, placed in the form of a stair step. The lower slab is set right beneath the mouth of a culvert where water from the treatment ponds, having passed through a wetland area, finally empties into the creek. Visitors are encouraged to stand on that platform and let the purified water wash over their bare feet. Anyone who is inspired to do so can leave chalk messages on the higher, dry piece of slate. There are plans to plant ferns and other plants around this stark work, vegetation that dates back to the Carboniferous Age,the age of coal.

STILL, FOR ALL OF THE PARK’S OBVIOUS VIRTUES, the cynic’s question hangs in the air: Is it art? Not in any traditional representational sense. Rather, the origins of a landscape such as the AMD&ART Park are in the conceptual art movement of the 1960s and 1970s,a movement that took art off the canvas, and often out of the museum, so that it became an experience in place and time, rather than simply a painting on a wall. Whatever conceptual art was, it wasn’t decor. Its practitioners believed that such projects could, as Rose Lee Goldberg writes, “effectively transform people’s everyday lives.” Joseph Beuys, one of the conceptual movement’s luminaries, submitted 7000 Oaks to the Documenta 7 exhibit of 1982. It was a plan to reforest Kassel, Germany, symbolized by one spade that leaned against a white wall. Each patron paid to sponsor a tree, and in return received from the artist a signed certificate proclaiming, “Small oak trees grow and life continues.” To understand the world as a canvas is to think very differently about its composition and one’s place within that composition. And to think “of the entire world as art,” as greenmuseum.org director Sam Bower suggests, means to begin thinking seriously about ecological problems and their solutions.

Sam Bower’s online environmental showcase has featured AMD&ART prominently, and he gave a short talk at the park’s dedication ceremony. “As the twenty-first century unfolds,” he said, “we urgently need a more constructive relationship between our species and the natural world. We can no longer afford the vacationer’s emphasis on art for art’s sake. The new catchphrase may actually be, Art has a job to do.” To that end, Bower describes tractors and backhoes as the sculptural tools that brought this thirty-five-acre canvas into being.

For years, Allan Comp has been describing the Vintondale project as “art that works.” The AMD&ART Park “works” in the sense that it filters acid mine drainage from millions of gallons of water. But it works in a much more subtle way as well,in the way the people of Vintondale experience and respond to it as art. Sue Thering describes Vintondale as a blue-collar town where “people work hard to put food on the table for their families and they don’t have time for art, thank you very much.” However, she believes it was the artistic components of the park that brought locals,especially the men,around. As she sees it, most people don’t get too excited about the science of water purification. But the older men of Vintondale were inspired to show their grandchildren what they looked like, back in the 1940s, walking out of Mine Portal No. 6.

“Art isn’t just about someone with too much time on their hands trying to draw a picture,” Thering said, paraphrasing the classic workingman’s distrust of the artist. But for the local people, “realizing that art would be meaningful to them was an important part of AMD&ART’s success.”

ALLAN COMP HAS DESCRIBED the term “AMD&ART” as a shorthand for “science and the arts.” Following the ecological principle of interdependence, he possesses an almost mystical belief that disciplinary boundaries need to be broken down and worked across. Turf wars, especially at universities where budgets are strained, have too often kept the sciences and the humanities on opposite sides of campus, increasingly specialized, and so estranged that they, quite literally, cannot understand the language the other is speaking. Early in the twentieth century, the philosopher Alfred North Whitehead stressed that while different disciplines obviously represent different values, those values, in the end, remain complementary. “When you understand all about the sun and all about the atmosphere and all about the rotation of the earth,” wrote Whitehead in Science and the Modern World, “you may still miss the radiance of the sunset.”

Soon after my visit, the AMD&ART Park won the prestigious Phoenix Award. Touted as the “brownfields equivalent of Hollywood’s Oscars,” the Phoenix is given annually to recognize exceptional reclamation projects on toxic industrial sites across the country. Comp feels vindicated by the award. “It affirms that the arts and sciences belong together in reclamation, ” he said as a red-backed salamander crawled through the leaf litter at our feet. “That’s why they gave us the award. It wasn’t for the best science project.”

Moreover, one of the most important elements of Vintondale may not be its water-treatment system or its sculptural installations, but rather its function as a potential model for many other such projects across the country. “AMD&ART is now both the name of a park in Vintondale and the name of an idea, a commitment to interdisciplinary work in the service of community aspirations to fix the environment,” Comp said. Since the completion of the park, Comp has established the Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team, a group of fifty-five OSM and VISTA volunteers who are working with the AMD&ART model to engage coal field communities in projects that will remediate damaged waterways and rekindle the power of place.

Twelve years after he hatched the idea to resurrect the town dump of Vintondale, Comp feels more certain than ever that the “arts and the humanities are absolutely necessary to environmental recovery.” Science can change the water chemistry, but for Comp, it is art and history, combined with the science, that will ultimately change people’s minds,will change the way we think about an industrial economy that is destroying the very ecosystems that sustain us, and all life. “It’s not the water that’s the problem, it’s us,” Comp said. “And if we fix us, we’ll start fixing the water.”

 

227 PEC recognizes area residents’ efforts to improve environment 2007-10-24 10:12:10

By Ron Bartizek rbartizek@timesleader.com

Business & Consumer Editor

Robert Hughes receives an award Thursday night from the Northeastern Pennsylvania Environmental Partnership for his commitment and advocacy. Marleen Troy of Wilkes University presented the award.

Aimee Dilger/The Times Leader

PLAINS TWP. , On a balmy mid-October night when global warming was on the agenda, the Woodlands Inn & Resort parking lot likely held the highest concentration of hybrid cars in Wyoming Valley Thursday.

That may have been because inside, the Northeast Pennsylvania Environmental Partnership was handing out its 17th annual awards.

Robert Hughes, Plymouth Township, was honored for his tireless efforts to improve the environment of his hometown through environmental education, community projects and grant seeking. That was on his own time; Hughes also cares for the environment as an employee of the Luzerne Conservation District and the Eastern Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation.

“When I come home I have to practice what I preach,” Hughes said in his acceptance remarks.

He described coming full circle with the event that he first attended in its inaugural year as a high school student looking for an opportunity to get involved in the organization that brings together environmentally minded individuals, government agencies, educational institutions and private industry.

“That became my passion,” he said about his environmental advocacy, and he worked for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council for two years after college. He ended his speech with a promise: “I’m going to continue to do it for years to come.”

The top honor, the Thomas P. Shelburne Environmental Leadership Award, went to Keystone College professor Howard Jennings for his 37-year commitment to environmental education, research and outreach.

Other awards went to the Earth Conservancy, for its leaf and yard waste composting program; Alan Gregory, an avid birder and conservationist from Conyngham; the Bradford Sullivan Forest Landowners Association, the oldest group of its kind in Pennsylvania; Dan Kunkle and the Lehigh Gap Nature Center; and Gordon Whitworth and Tom Zeterberg, Pike County, for their involvement in smart growth planning.

Earlier, keynote speaker Nancy S. Cole, Director of Climate Outreach for the Union of Concerned Scientists, outlined changes global warming will bring to Pennsylvania. She explained that warming trends now under way cannot be changed because carbon dioxide emissions last in the atmosphere for decades.

“So our emissions are setting our children’s climate future,” she said, and if they are lowered, the effects could be cut in half.

Ron Bartizek, Times Leader business editor, may be reached at 970-7157.

 

226 Coal shaped much of Schuylkill Countys history and continues to shape its future 2007-10-11 11:43:03

However, it might be shaping the present in one undesirable way.

Two environmental advocacy groups released a study last week alleging that 10 sites of unlined pits in Pennsylvania, including three in Schuylkill County, show groundwater contamination.

They allege that such contamination is linked to the dumping of coal combustion ash from coal-fired power plants in unlined pits.

Mahanoy Creek Watershed Association members want the federal Environmental Protection Association to investigate two such sites beneath the Ellengowan and BD Mines in Mahanoy Township for possible cleanups under the Superfund law.

Such an investigation would be a good idea, regardless of whether the problem actually exists. As long as such a probe is conducted in an unbiased manner, it should either relieve fears of such contamination or spur action to clean it up – each of which is better than living in doubt.

Certainly, Schuylkill County’s coal mines have left an environmental legacy that has not always helped the region.

Acid mine drainage has tainted many waterways in the area. Stripping pits and culm banks have scarred the landscape, rendering some areas barren.

However, steps are being taken to rectify those ills, and there has been some success in each area.

Groundwater contamination is potentially more serious than either of those, since everyone would be affected if the county’s drinking water were tainted. No one can avoid drinking water, so no one could escape the potential effects on its contamination.

While the two sites in Mahanoy Township, plus the third at the Silverbrook Mine in Kline Township and Packer Township, Carbon County, would not pollute this county’s entire water supply, even some contamination is bad from any standpoint.

No one wants to drink contaminated water, and no one should have to do so.

Of course, such contamination cannot be assumed. Advocacy groups tend to exaggerate the evidence favorable to their viewpoints, and minimize or ignore contrary evidence, so last week’s study cannot, and should not, be taken as gospel.

A study by EPA, however, would not assume the truth of any such proposition, or the truth of the contrary position – that there is no evidence of any harm. EPA is as unbiased a source of such an investigation as it is possible to have, so it should move forward as soon as possible with the study.

It should examine last week’s study as evidence, not as the conclusive truth. It should do precisely the same with evidence offered by the industry, which maintains there is no evidence of contamination and that it complies with the law in dumping coal ash into the pits.

It is worth noting that the state Department of Environmental Protection agrees with the industry, saying that coal ash has been dumped for many years in Pennsylvania without demonstrable ill effects.

In other words, EPA should start with questions rather than answers, as any good investigator does. EPA must work forward to find what the evidence means instead of working backward from a predetermined answer, which would lead to changing facts to suit theories instead of changing theories to conform with the facts.

The investigation should be thorough enough to explore all possibilities, and allow everyone interested to present and comment upon the evidence.

When it is completed, it should be evaluated carefully and its conclusions implemented.

The people of the county deserve nothing less.

©The REPUBLICAN & Herald 2007

 

225 White tries to unearth ideas for mine cleanup 2007-10-11 11:36:03

By Patrick Shuster

LEADER TIMES

Friday, September 14, 2007

SOUTH BUFFALO — The question seemed easy enough – how do you spend about $1.5 billion over 15 years to clean up problems that occurred from past coal-mining operations and practices?

The answer, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, is anything but easy, which is why they held a series of meetings across the state to help look for answers.

The final meeting, held Thursday night at the Northpointe campus of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, brought only a handful of people from the region to offer suggestions.

State Sen. Don White, R-Indiana, who hosted the meeting, said that he will do whatever he can to make sure a portion of that money will be used for projects in his 41st District, including Armstrong County, and was disappointed that more people didn’t come out to talk about the problems and offer solutions.

“Everyone here and everyone in my district has been impacted in some way from the problems left by the coal mining of the past,” he said. “This is going to take a lot of teamwork and effort to come up with solutions to deal with all the problems we’ve been left with.”

The concern of White, along with other attendees, was not so much how the money would be spent, but who makes the determination as to what projects get funded and when.

“I’m afraid that it’s going to become political and that funding will be divided unequally to areas that have more priority sites than those with less,” White said. “I want to know so that I can be prepared to fight for equal consideration for my district.”

Armstrong County has about 40 projects that are considered a priority 2 and only a few priority 1, with the biggest concern being a 50-foot high by 1,000-foot long high wall in Boggs Township in the area of Mountain Trails Road and Ridge Road, according to DEP. The total estimate for all the projects to be reclaimed is $2.6 million.

The priority 1 and 2 projects are ones that have health and safety issues, such as open mine shafts or portals, or other concerns in which a person on the property could be injured, according to DEP officials.

Officials discussed how much funding should be spent to handle acid mine drainage problems. The state can allocate as much as 30 percent of its annual funding for such projects.

Many attendees agreed that the full percentage should be used because that portion of the money could be placed into interest-bearing accounts and allowed to accrue interest.

“Our waterways are so precious to us. We deserve to have clean water,” White said. “It seems as though clean water is being made out to be less important that other problems, but having clean water is a major health and safety issue.”

Armstrong County Commissioner Rich Fink suggested projects that could tie into other economic development projects should be a higher concern and should be considered for completion.

“There are areas that could be used for a variety of development, including parks, business development, and other recreational uses, such as ATV trails,” he said. “By combining the projects with the reclamation projects, it allows for other sources of funding and gives us more leverage to better the communities they affect.”

DEP should be receiving its first installment of the money in October and plans to form committees to further discuss issues from the public meetings.

For more information on abandoned mine reclamation, visit the DEP Web site at www.depweb.state.pa.us/abandonedminerec.

Patrick Shuster can be reached at pshuster@tribweb.com or 724-543-1303, ext. 237.

 

224 WVIA presents: Hope for Polluted Waters 10/18/07 2007-10-10 21:39:05

Broadcast premiers Thursday October 18th @ 8PM

A one-hour documentary about mining and abandoned mine drainage in Pennsylvania

Hope for Polluted Waters tells the personal stories of the individuals and groups working throughout the coal-mining regions of Pennsylvania to clean up the abandoned mine drainage (AMD) that pollutes over 4,000 miles of waterways in the state.

The focus of the story is the people themselves; their passions, frustrations, challenges and ultimately their triumphs over pollution. Dedication drives these individuals, whose goal is a better future. These emotions are evident in every one of the volunteers who is trying to correct the wrongs of the past. . (more)

 

223 Area acres await reclamation: Schuylkill County 2007-08-01 16:55:43

BY SHAWN A. HESSINGER

TAMAQUA BUREAU CHIEF

shessinger@republicanherald.com

05/25/2007

MARYD , Reclamation of more than 1,000 acres of mine land is planned in Schuylkill County with more than 300 acres already funded and actively being reclaimed.

But the maintenance of more than 25 passive treatment systems in the county addressing acid mine drainage is also eligible for at least part of a new federal funding package to be available beginning in October.

“This is what the conservation groups are keying on,” said Daniel J. Koury, watershed manager for the Pottsville District Office of the state Department of Environmental Protection.

On a walking tour Thursday morning of the Bell Colliery Project in Schuylkill Township, near the headwaters of the Schuylkill River, Koury pointed to orange-tinged water running from an abandoned mine entrance.

Beneath the ground in deep mine workings, oxygen and water react with pyrite or iron sulfide creating the rust that gives the mine discharge its characteristic orange tint and sulfuric acid polluting the water and destroying aquatic life.

The Bell Colliery discharge is special, said Koury.

“This is the headwaters of the Schuylkill River. This is the first major source of pollution to hit the Schuylkill River,” he said.

But thanks to a two-phase project costing a combined $312,000, the water is being treated with limestone, lowering its acidity and allowing harmful metals to settle out into two large ponds before it ever reaches the important waterway.

A pipe running beneath the river is used to periodically force contaminants that have collected in the system into a third pond, cleaning the system.

“The problem we have in the anthracite region is we have too much discharge,” said Rick Walck, inspector/forester for the Pottsville DEP office.

Officials and conservation groups say the treatment systems are only a “Band-Aid” on the problem.

But keeping the current systems maintained will be costly and to date no grant funding has been available to do so.

An estimated $1.4 billion from a reauthorized federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act may be part of the solution to the problem.

To date funding has been used on high-priority sites defined as important because of the health and safety risks they pose.

For example, nearly 100 acres of abandoned mine land was reclaimed behind the Tamaqua Area High School in a two-phase project eventually costing a combined $4,155,598 transforming scarred mine land into sculpted, revegetated hillside.

The Tamaqua project was seen as a high priority because of the mine land’s proximity to the school and the potential for danger to students, said DEP Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation civil engineer manager Ron Ryczak at a meeting in Pottsville on Wednesday.

But the new funding from the reauthorized federal act could also allow the state to set aside up to 30 percent of that money for water treatment, said Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation director Roderick A. Fletcher at the meeting Wednesday set to gain public input about uses of the funding.

Money from the act is not tax dollars, but is derived from a fee collected from active mining operations. The federal Office of Surface Mining must create a system by which the funds will be dispersed, a process expected to begin in October and continue over the next 14 years.

©The REPUBLICAN & Herald 2007

 

222 Water quality questions plague airport project 2007-07-24 12:15:11

Monday, 23 July 2007

By L.A. TARONE Staff writer

The Hazleton City Authority considered using Green Mountain as a water source several times, most seriously in the late 1980s and early ’90s, and again in the mid to late ’90s. Both times, the authority decided using that water was not cost effective.

But now, state Rep. Todd Eachus, D-116, says the proposed cargo airport can use that source for both drinking and utility water. Authority officials still have issues with the water.

HCA had two quality reports done on Green Mountain’s watershed. Both showed water in the mountain’s watershed is too acidic and contains too many contaminants to use without significant filtration. “We looked at the feasibility of using Green Mountain water,” HCA Manager Randy Cahalan said. “Yes, it’s feasible to a degree, but there is a huge cost and a huge question mark associated with it. “We looked at blending (Green Mountain) water with our other sources, like Humboldt or Mount Pleasant (reservoirs),” Cahalan explained. “When you do that, you can dilute its impact and not harm the existing sources because you don’t know what you’re getting with tunnel water.”

Eachus agreed the water in the watershed is very polluted. But he said he thinks it is feasible to clean it up so it’s useable. “I hear what they’re saying, but I’m not buying it completely,” Eachus said. The main report, a 160-page, eight-chapter preparation, was compiled in July 1998 by Schumacher Engineering, the authority’s contracted engineering firm. It is largely a summary of a collection of other water analyses done over a number of years , all of which are included in the report. The second is a 70-page addendum prepared in October 1999, again by Schumacher. Both show results from a variety of tests, done as recently as 1999 and as far back as 1978. They include several done by or for the state Department of Environmental Protection; its predecessor, the Department of Environmental Resources; an earlier Schumacher analysis; one done by Hawk Mountain Labs, West Hazleton, in 1995; another done by EcoScience Labs in 1992; and one done by BCM Engineers and Planners.

“The study concludes that use of Green Mountain tunnel water as a source to the (HCA) may be feasible, primarily if blended with other HCA,” states a two-page summary of the reports prepared by Cahalan. “The water is low pH, highly acidity (sic) and highly corrosive. The water contains high levels of iron, manganese, aluminum, zinc and sulfate. Also, analyses have indicated trace amounts of arsenic and mercury and, at times, very high levels of coliform bacteria.

“Pretreatment of the Green Mountain tunnel water would be necessary to improve the water quality to allow its use as a source to the HCA filtration plant,” the summary adds. It estimated the cost of operating a treatment plant capable of handling 2.5 million gallons per day of Green Mountain water at $139,677 annually, on top of an initial $1,650,489 construction cost. Those estimates were made in 1998. The same summary adds the cost of building a plant to treat water from Catawissa Creek, which is formed from Green Mountain flow, was estimated at $6.3 million in 1982. The annual operational costs of that plant were pegged at $534,000. The summary also notes flow of Green Mountain water is “very inconsistent and varies with seasonal rainfall conditions.” Elsewhere, the report stated using Green Mountain water is feasible, but adds treatment makes it expensive. Based on fiscal year 1997, it pegged the cost of using Green Mountain water at $1.50 per 1,000 gallons versus the 85 cents per 1,000 gallons systemwide.

“It’s not a problem that can’t be overcome,” Eachus said. “It is what it is. But when you’re talking about a project this large in scope, large problems become small problems.” Eachus said the funding stream he’s trying to put together , both private and public , will cover all aspects of airport operation, including both industrial and potable water. Water treatment is among the aspects accounted for in proposed funding streams. “There are a whole set of other issues we have to deal with , there are wetlands permits, drinking water, industrial water, highway interchanges,” Eachus said. “But once you get the authorization of being on a state projects list, you can start dealing with them.

“Now, you might have to tap other funding resources for different aspects of the project,” Eachus said. “You might have to request funding for a highway interchange from the Federal Highway Administration; or funding for water clean-up from (the Environmental Protection Agency). You’ll have to leverage what you have. But once you have everything in place, it all gets easy.”

Mercury, arsenic, cyanide

“Previous (DEP) documentation indicated that approximately 16.7 (million gallons per day) is available from streams and mine drainage tunnels tributary to the Green Mountain area,” Cahalan’s summary states, noting DEP “historically has taken a stern view of the use of mine water for consumption”¦” and indicates several other agencies may also wish to review any use of the water.

It adds, “Obtaining a Public Water Supply permit from DEP and Source Water Allocation Permit from (the Susquehanna River Basin Commission) may be very difficult in light of the inconsistency in flow and water quality”¦” It notes that what’s collectively referred to as “Green Mountain water” actually includes three mine tunnels: the Audenreid Tunnel, the Green Mountain Tunnel and one referred to as “WLT#3.” It details the construction and history of the three tunnels and “three small unnamed streams (that) form the headquarters of the Catawissa Creek which empties into the Susquehanna.”

The first water quality table lists DEP “safe levels” for a list of minerals, metals and contaminants, along with sample findings from all six separate Green Mountain sources taken in 1995 and 1996. All pH samples, tested both in the field and in a lab, were well below the 6.5-8.5 “safe range,” meaning they were more acidic than what DEP deems safe. While they varied a bit, depending on the tributary and the sample’s date, results ranged between a high of 5.33 and a low of 3.32.

Arsenic, too, was well above safe levels. DEP considers .05 milligrams per liter (mg/L) safe. Test samples showed 5 and 6 mg/L in all tributaries and tunnels.

The report showed a similar situation with mercury. DEP’s safe level is .002 mg/L; results ranged between .6 mg/L to 1.2 mg/L ,with most readings around .20 mg/L

Selenium levels were higher: DEP’s safe level is .05 mg/L . Results in all samples (except in one test period in which no sample was taken) showed results of 5 mg/L.

Cyanide readings were well above the .2 mg/L safe levels, with all samples showing greater than 10 mg/L. DEP considers the safe level for iron to be .3 mg/L, but sample results .24 to 3.4 mg/L.

Manganese levels were generally much higherthan the .05 safe levels, with samples ranging from .07 to 1.73 mg/L . Only two samples ,a “tributary MP #2″ in 1996 (.03) and tributary mp #5 in 1996 (.01) , showing under the safe level.

However, levels of barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, silver, zinc, nitrate, chloride, sulfate, copper, zinc were within safe limits.

The table is followed by a notation stating HCA had two options with Green Mountain water: use it to replenish Roan Reservoir (the one at the treatment plant and HCA’s offices on the Arthur Gardner Parkway; AKA the Heights Beltway), or use it to replenish other depleted reservoirs, such as Mt. Pleasant and/or Humboldt. But in either case, there would be related transport and construction costs, not including pre-treatment. Depending on the option picked, those costs were estimated at between $3.3 million and $4.9 million.

That report also stated, “(u)tilizing Green Mountain as an additional source of supply to address the Authority’s safe yield deficiency would require a new pump station at Humboldt or Mount and a new raw water pipeline to the filtration plant.”

Plus, the report includes results from a series of tests done by Hawk Mountain in Summer 1995 used to compile Schumacher’s report. Also included is a report done for the then-DER in April 1982 by GEO-Technical Services, Harrisburg. The report was to consider ways to reduce acidity, raise pH levels and eliminate excessive alkalinity in the Catawissa Creek and tributaries the Tomhicken and Sugarloaf creeks. It listed a number of proposed options, along with costs breakdowns; the aforementioned $6.3 million and $534,000, in 1982 dollars.

The BCM report, done in 1988, became largely the blueprint of HCA actions yet to come. For instance, it recommended the discontinuance of the Ebervale, Park Place, Drifton and Mount Pleasant reservoirs as daily water sources, and retaining Mount Pleasant as a replenishing source for others. All that was done , as was tapping onto the Lehigh River in the early 1990s, voiding other alternative sources under consideration. One of those alternative sources was Green Mountain. BCM thought little of it. The report stated 16.7 million gallons per day could be taken from the watershed, but added the “safe yield of these sources available for city use may be considerably less”¦”

The report stated the water could be usable through an impoundment (reservoir). But it adds, “impoundments take a long time to plan, design and construct, not withstanding the environmental, and regulatory hurdles.”

“Therefore, this option is not worth pursuing,” it concludes.

Other water sources are not readily available.

“For surface water, you’re looking at either the Susquehanna River or the Lehigh River,” Cahalan said. “The Susquehanna’s quality is very poor. Lehigh’s quality is good, but it’s a battle with Allentown, Bethlehem and the whole Lehigh Valley.”

The Lehigh Valley relies on the Lehigh River as its primary water source and vigorously objected to HCA’s tapping into it in the early ’90s.

Groundwater is another potential source. But Cahalan said it is apparently not as plentiful as once believed. He noted that as more wells are drilled, the groundwater table lowers. There have been reports of residents having to dig wells deeper to get water , meaning the water table is dropping.

“There’s a limit to how much groundwater you can take,” Cahalan said.

“That’s why we’ve looked at Green Mountain, as a sort of last resort,” Cahalan added. “But it’s very poor quality and very expensive to get. There is a huge cost to pre-treat it, just to get it to stream quality. Then, it would have to be treated again to get it from stream quality to drinking water quality.”

But Eachus said the value of the airport makes significant water treatment, even if it’s more expensive that what it costs systemwide, feasible.

“Right now there’s nothing there,” Eachus said. “But when you put a high value project on the land, you put a higher value on the land. You can make higher cost investments.”

In fact, Eachus said, it’s conceivable Green Mountain water could supply the nearby Humboldt Industrial Park North. A Coca-Cola plant is slated to move there, but CAN DO, which operates its own water supplier, is not able to supply its needs.

Eachus said that while the final decision would be up to airport developer Gladstone Properties LP, he could envision a treatment plant supplying the firm’s water needs.

 

221 Catawissa Creek Watershed Questionnaire for the Rivers Conservation Plan 2007-06-26 17:02:26

Do you live in or near the Catawissa Creek Watershed? If so, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) is requesting your input for the Catawissa Watershed Rivers Conservation Plan project. PEC is conducting this survey in order to obtain information on the major issues facing you and your community that are related to the rivers conservation plan. Such issues may include, but are not limited to, stream bank erosion, mining issues, flooding, recreation (trail and park development), and historic preservation. The information gathered from these surveys will be used to develop the final Plan. As part of this project, we need to determine the community’s issues, such as stream bank erosion, flooding, park development, tourism, etc. This questionnaire is one method we are using to gather this information.

A questionnaire and a map of the study area can be viewed and downloaded from PEC web site (www.pecpa.org) or the separate documents can be downloaded here –> Questionnaire, Fact Sheet and Watershed Map. Just download the questionnaire, fill it out, save it and e-mail it to jsweeney@pecpa.org or print it and fax it to the Pennsylvania Environmental Council at 570-718-6508.

If you would like to become further involved with this project, please indicate so on the bottom of the questionnaire and we will add you to the Steering Committee list. You will then be invited to attend monthly meetings that will be held though out the rest of the year.

If you have any questions please contact Janet Sweeney at 570-718-6507 or e-mail to jsweeney@pecpa.org.

 

220 VISTA Positions being sought by Trout Unlimited and EPCAMR 2007-06-21 13:50:10

Trout Unlimited, a partnering organization of the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Coalition (WBSRC) is seeking an Americorps*VISTA volunteer through the Office of Surface Mining (OSM)/ VISTA program. See this link for a full description of the position.

The Americoprs*VISTA volunteer is a paid position, with a 1 year duration and will work in Clearfield County, PA. Applications must be recieved by July 16th 2007. See the full job description for more information.

If you are interested in an OSM Americorps*VISTA Position in another location please visit The Appalachian Coal County Watershed Team Website. Look under the “Projects” section for possible locations.

 

218 Register for the 2007 AMD Conference! 2007-06-07 22:43:16

The 2007 PA Statewide Conference on Abandoned Mine Reclamation will be held July 20 & 21, 2007 at the Ramada Inn and Conference Center, State College, PA. Please visit www.TreatMineWater.com for more details.

This year’s conference focuses on the following topics:

* Highlights of the SMCRA Reauthorization, Draft Regulations and Roundtable Discussions

* Operation, Maintenance and Replacement for AMD Treatment Systems Specifics

* Permitting Considerations for AML/AMD Projects

* Presentations from the Makers of New and Proven Treatment Technologies

The deadline to sign up is July 6th, but if you register and reserve your room before June 20th, you will be eligible for a discounted room rate!

Come and be a part of the the longest running annual statewide conference dealing with abandoned mine related issues Pennsylvania.

 

217 Pa. getting $1.4B for coal mine cleanup 2007-05-25 15:54:51

BY SHAWN HESSINGER

TIMES  SHAMROCK WRITER

05/24/2007

POTTSVILLE , State officials held a town meeting and presentation in Pottsville Wednesday to discuss $1.4 billion in mine reclamation money, some of which may be headed for Schuylkill County.

The funding, to be made available over the next 14 years beginning Oct. 1, 2007, is part of a reauthorized Federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.

“The primary focus of the program is health and safety,” said Roderick A. Fletcher, director of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation.

State and local conservation groups met in the conference room of the Schuylkill Conservation District office on the Gordon Nagle Trail (Route 901) for a four-and-a-half-hour session to discuss possible uses of the funding.

“Really, the most important part of the meeting will be getting input,” said Fletcher before the session began.

“One of the suggestions I think you’re going to hear is that some of this money could be used to maintain existing facilities,” said Tom Davidock, county natural resource specialist.

Up to 30 percent of the federal funding can be set aside for water quality issues, particularly acid mine drainage, which state officials say is top a source of water pollution in the state, contaminating more than 4,000 miles of streams.

Volunteer water conservation groups have helped establish more than 25 water treatment facilities across the county to address acid mine drainage with an estimated $4.6 million in state and federal funding.

But Davidock said more money will be needed to maintain those programs longterm.

With an estimated $15 billion in mine reclamation projects across the state, funding will not be sufficient to cover all projects.

“Obviously, it’s not a huge dent,” said Fletcher.

Funding for the program covers priority one and priority two sites posing significant danger or risk to local residents’ health and safety.

DEP Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation Civil Engineer Manager Ron Ryczak said such sites might include stripping pits in close proximity to schools or other centers of community.

Examples locally included reclamation near the Tamaqua Area High School in recent years, Ryczak added.

However, funding can also be used to address acid mine drainage and public water systems effected by mine reclamation issues, state officials said.

 

216  Mine Scarred Lands Initiative Online Resource Guide is now Available 2007-05-16 10:26:14

NEW! Mine-Scarred Lands Initiative Online Tool Kit

Please visit the MSL Initiative Tool Kit at: http://www.epa.gov/aml/revital/msl/index.htm

This Web site shares the experiences and lessons from six demonstration projects of the Brownfields Federal Partnership Mine-Scarred Lands Initiative. It features helpful tools and links to other mine revitalization resources. The

Tool Kit provides information on:

“¢ Creating a Vision for Revitalization

“¢ Building Project Teams

“¢ Obtaining External Support

“¢ Developing a Revitalization Plan

“¢ Technical Considerations

“¢ Legal Considerations

“¢ Funding Revitalization Projects

 

215 SMCRA Title 4 Roundtable Meetings Announced 2007-05-16 10:19:32

The Department of Environmental Protection, in conjunction with the Citizens Advisory Council and the Mining and Reclamation Advisory Board, is scheduling a series of public town hall meetings. The topic for the meetings is the recent re-authorization of the Federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). The new law provides for a significant increase in funds available to the Commonwealth for abandoned mine reclamation. It also offers the Commonwealth the opportunity to set aside up to 30% of these funds for abatement and treatment of abandoned mine drainage.

The intent of the meetings is to enable the public to provide input to help in the decision-making process for expenditure of these funds. The decision to set aside funds for mine drainage abatement and treatment, and the appropriate level, must be weighed against the need to restore sites that impact the health and safety of the Commonwealth’s citizens. The public is strongly encouraged to attend and will have the opportunity to provide comments during the town hall meeting. Written comments will also be accepted at the following address:

Department of Environmental Protection

Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation

Attn.: AML Comments

P.O. Box 8476

Harrisburg, PA 17105-8476.

The meetings will be held on the following dates in the following locations:

May 22 – EPCAMR Office, Shavertown, PA

May 23 – Schuylkill Conservation District Office, Pottsville, PA

May 24 – Hillside Rod & Gun Club, Blossburg, PA

May 30 – Robertsdale Fire Hall, Robertsdale, PA

May 31 – Department of Environmental Protection, Cambria Office, Ebensburg, PA

June 5 – Jennings Environmental Center, Slippery Rock, PA

June 6 – California University of PA, Morgan Hall, California, PA

June 7 – Penn State University, Dubois Campus, Hiller Auditorium, Dubois, PA

All meetings will follow the agenda below.

4:00 – 5:30 PM Educational videos and overview of recent legislative changes to SMCRA

5:30 – 6:30 PM Opportunity for the public to review PA’s Abandoned Mine Land inventory and maps (poster session)

6:30 – 8:30 PM Town hall meeting

Questions concerning the meetings can be directed to:

Sue Wilson, Citizens Advisory Council at 717-787-4527 or e-mail suswilson@state.pa.us

Rich Joyce, DEP BAMR Harrisburg at 717-783-7669 or e-mail rijoyce@state.pa.us

Pam Milavec, DEP BAMR Cambria District Office at 814-472-1800 or e-mail pmilavec@state.pa.us

Mike Ferko, DEP BAMR Wilkes-Barre District Office at 570-826-2371 or e-mail mferko@state.pa.us

This notice and directions to the meeting locations can be found at: http://www.dep.state.pa.us/dep/deputate/minres/bamr/bamr.htm.

Individuals in need of an accommodation as provided for in the Americans With Disabilities Act and interested in any of the meetings scheduled for May 22, May 23 or May 24, should contact Mike Ferko at the telephone number and e-mail address listed above. Individuals interested in attending any of the meetings scheduled for May 30, May 31, June 5, June 6 or June 7 should contact Pam Milavec at the telephone number or e-mail address listed above. You may also use the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Service at 1-800-654-5984 (TDD) to discuss how the Department may accommodate your needs

 

213 Help for Watershed Groups: Clean Streams Practicum and Benefits 2007-02-22 15:55:07

The Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team is seeking a few enthusiastic citizens’ groups or organizations from Distressed Counties in Coal Country that are concerned with cleaning up their local watershed and learning how to find the money to make improvement possible. They are offering the opportunity to participate in a training program and benefits package: the Clean Streams Practicum.

Groups will be trained in two fields: water quality monitoring and fiscal sustainability. Training sessions will occur March 26-28 and Nov. 9-11 for groups from the Southern Coalfields and April 16-18 and Oct. 26-28 for Northern Coalfields groups. Sessions will take place at Twin Falls Resort State Park in Mullens, WV. The ACCWT will cover ALL expenses for participants’ travel, lodging, food, and registration.

All attendees will also receive a gift membership to River Network as well as an intern from the Office of Surface Mining Clean Streams Initiative. 😀

If your group is interested in this opportunity for free training focused specifically on the coal-impacted counties of Appalachia, please contact Duncan at training@accwt.org, call 304.461.3132, or register online at www.accwt.org. Register by: Feb. 26th

 

212 Limestone Cowboy gains International Recognition 2007-02-16 13:41:59

Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation gains a spotlight in the internationally known Orion Magazine. Orion staff writer, Erik Hoffner, spoke to Robert and Mike from the group’s office in Shavertown. Read the Article… 0 666 1 1 0 0 0 0 25-26-38-20-5-22-9- 0

Edit Edit Edit Inline Edit Copy Copy Delete Delete 211 Biodiversity Conservation in a Rapidly Developing Environment Lecture 2007-02-13 14:00:33 By Dr. Michael Klemens

SAVE THE DATE: Wednesday, March 28th, 2007 @ 7:00pm

WHERE: The Schuylkill County Ag Center

Conservation and Economic growth are often considered to be competing activities, but in order to continue to improve the Quality of Life in Schuylkill County; we must work to bridge this gap. On March 28th, 2007, The Schuylkill Conservation District, Schuylkill County Sportsmen’s Advisory Board, DCNR-Bureau of Forestry and Schuylkill County Conservancy will be inviting Dr. Michael Klemens, Wildlife Conservation Society, to the county to discuss his work with this issue.

Dr. Klemens founded the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Metropolitan Conservation Alliance, a program to bridge the gap between conservation science and land use planning. Dr. Klemens will discuss how the MCA’s approach to biodiversity conservation realizes that biodiversity conservation and development are not necessarily at opposite ends of the spectrum. By integrating science-based information about wildlife and ecosystems into the land use planning process, it is possible for a region to maintain its ecological integrity while allowing for economic growth.

Traditionally, says Dr. Klemens, “the environmental movement has been very good at saying no to new development but not necessarily good at saying how to create new developments”. In an effort to ease the environmentally devastating effects of sprawl, Dr. Klemens’ program provides the “how” by creating and disseminating tools that land use officials can use to make better informed land use decisions. Among the various tools to be discussed will be the MCA’s “Biotic Corridor” approach as well as the program’s Technical Paper Series including the Best Development Practices manual. For More information, Please contact:

Tom Davidock

County Natural Resource Specialist

Schuylkill Conservation District

Phone: (570) 622-3742 EXT. 120

 

210 Window to My Environment from EPA 2007-02-13 13:31:41

Federal GIS Layers available in an Online Database

Online Link:

Window To My Environment (WME)

What is it?:

A powerful web-based tool that provides a wide range of federal, state, and local information about environmental conditions and features in an area of your choice. This application is provided by U.S. EPA in partnership with federal, state and local government and other organizations.

Type in your city, zip code or your latitude and longitude and the site returns the following:

  • Interactive Map – shows the location of regulated facilities, monitoring sites, water bodies, population density, perspective topographic views and so much more with hotlinks to state/federal information about these items of interest.
  • Your Window – provides selected geographic statistics about your area of interest, including estimated population, county/urban area designations, local watersheds/waterbodies, etc.
  • Your Environment – links to information from federal, state, and local partners on environmental issues like air and water quality, watershed health, Superfund sites, fish advisories, impaired waters, as well as local services working to protect the environment in your area.We would like to know what you think of the information presented here and what additional issues you would like to see addressed. To provide information or links, send an email to Enviromail_Group@epamail.epa.gov.

209 West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Symposium III – April 27 & 28 2007-02-13 09:45:03

It is that time of year again to mark your calendars for the

West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Symposium III!

Date:

Friday & Saturday, April 27 & 28, 2007

Location:

Genetti Hotel, Williamsport, PA www.genettihotel.comREGISTRATION BROCHURE

Great Lineup of Topics Including:

  • Could AMD affect the health of the Chesapeake Bay?
  • Freshwater mussels and eels: A missing link in the Susquehanna?
  • Barnes & Tucker Treatment in West Branch headwaters
  • American shad restoration in the West Branch
  • Update on the comprehensive West Branch AMD Remediation Strategy
  • AMD project highlights from over a dozen watershed groups throughout the West Branch!
  • The Abandoned Mine Land Fund has been reauthorized , Now what?And much more!Saturday Afternoon Specialties:
  • Tour the Babb Creek watershed AMD projects:
  • The West Branch AMD success story-or-
  • Sign up for a guided fishing tour (dinner included) in the beautiful Pine Creek valley

REGISTRATION BROCHURE

SCHOLARSHIPS WILL BE AVAILABLE TO HELP WITH LODGING AND/OR REGISTRATION FEES FOR STUDENTS & VOLUNTEER GROUP REPRESENTATIVES

Is this the first time you’ve heard of the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Symposium? Read on”¦The first-ever West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Symposium was held in May 2005 and the second one was in May 2006. Over 300 people attended representing watershed, sportsmen’s, and conservation organizations; local, state, and federal government; private industry; and others just simply interested in restoring the West Branch Susquehanna watershed.

The purpose of the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Symposium is to promote the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Initiative, which is aimed at the cleanup of abandoned mine drainage throughout the West Branch Susquehanna watershed. This event serves as a forum for the exchange of ideas regarding abandoned mine drainage abatement in the region and provides an excellent opportunity for networking among volunteers, technical experts, students, and others interested in restoring land and water impacted by abandoned mine drainage.

For more information on the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Initiative, read the “West Branch Susquehanna River Watershed: State of the Watershed Report” completed in 2005 by the West Branch Susquehanna Task Force. A copy of the report can be found at www.dep.state.pa.us and www.tu.org

For more information on the West Branch Susquehanna Restoration Initiative or the Symposium, contact Amy Wolfe (awolfe@tu.org) or Rebecca Dunlap (rdunlap@tu.org) of Trout Unlimited (or call them at 570.726.3118).

208 When cleaned, mine water might supply proposed airport 2007-02-06 13:02:51 Tuesday, 06 February 2007

By JIM DINO

jimdino@standardspeaker.com

If one system were repaired and upgraded and a similar system added, two large sources of acid mine water could be suitable for use at the proposed cargo airport in Humboldt, and the process would help clean the Catawissa Creek.

To create a water source for the 5,000-acre airport, Bob Powell and Mike Marsicano of Gladstone Partners LP suggested the cleanup of the Audenried and Green Mountain tunnels to provide a water source for the airport, which is proposed to alleviate congestion in New York airspace.

Ed Wytovich of the Catawissa Creek Wastershed Association said the Audenried Project, a $2 million system installed in late 2005 to treat water coming out of the Audenried Tunnel near Sheppton, is operating at a low capacity because heavy rains last summer nearly destroyed it altogether.

“It is operating at one-third capacity,” he said. “The system is designed to treat 8,000 to 10,000 gallons per minute, but during the storms, between 200,000 and 300,000 gallons per minute were coming through, and just washed it away.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency offered a grant for the repairs, which will go to bid soon, he said.

The treatment of the water does not make it drinkable, but it removes the aluminum. With the treatment system, the pH in the water increases from the 3.8 or 4.0 it is now to 5.5 or 6.0.

“There are three large tanks 10 feet deep in water filled with limestone,” Wytovich said. “The limestone reacts with the aluminum, and takes it out. It is a very natural process.”

Wytovich said if [more] stone were added to the project, it could make the water drinkable.

The tanks never were filled [completely] with stone because the association could not find the funding.

“If [more lime]stone were added, it would cost about $150,000,” said Wytovich, adding the limestone might make the water drinkable.

Tom Davidock, Schuylkill County’s natural resources specialist, explained that when the pH number goes up, the acidity in the water drops to 7.0, which is neutral.

“Our goal has been to get the water to 6.0,” Wytovich said. “There are times it has been at 6.5, almost 7.0. The water in the well at my house is potable between 6.3 and 6.5″

Near the Audenried Tunnel is the Green Mountain Tunnel, which has no treatment system.

But like Audenried, if a similar system were attached, that water could be cleaned up as well, Wytovich believes.

Gladstone Partners’ Powell and Marsicano said the two tunnels pump between 15,000 and 22,000 gallons of water per minute.

Wytovich said those are high estimates.

“What each tunnel pumps out depends upon the time of the year,” Wytovich said. “Audenried pumps between 4,000 gallons per minute, at its lowest, to 20,000 gallons per minute. Green Mountain pumps between 5,000 and 15,000.”

There is a caveat to using the water, even if it is cleaned up, Wytovich said.

“The Susquehanna River Basin Commission would have to give them permission,” Wytovich said of the airport developers.

Powell and Marsicano said the airport itself would be on approximately 1,000 acres ,in Hazle Township, Luzerne County, and Kline and East Union townships , surrounded by another 4,000 acres where they visualize ancillary businesses: Everything from airplane repair shops and parts stores, to manufacturing facilities might open near the airport.

sections in [ ] were added to clarify the current situation. – MAH 0 901 25 admin

 

207 Recent SMCRA Title IV Amendments 2007-01-10 10:27:35

by Bruce Golden, WPCAMR Regional Coordinator

New federal legislation, which will provide much-needed funding for abandoned mine reclamation (AMR), came as good news for Pennsylvania and other historic coal-producing states last month. The legislation is actually a revamp of the existing Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA). The section of SMCRA that pertains to AMR is often referred to as “Title IV.” December’s amendments to Title IV were part of a much larger bill, the Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006, one of the very last acts passed by the outgoing 109th Congress.

Today, we present a synopsis of the revised Title IV legislation with respect to abandoned mine reclamation.

Reclamation Fees & State Funding

Extend but decrease reclamation fees from coal mining

The authority to collect a reclamation fee on each ton of coal mined in the United States was extended another 14 years, but with a two-tiered decrease over the next six years to 80% of the current levels (35¢ → 28¢ per ton of surface-mined coal; 15¢ → 12¢ per ton of deep mined coal). After 14 years (2021), collection of reclamation fees ends, and funding to states extends to 2022. The 20% reduction and 14-year limit of fees were compromises in getting the law passed.

Mandate full funding from reclamation fees to states

The full amount of money collected from reclamation fees (minus the portion allocated to OSM) will now go to the states, rather than be appropriated by Congress. In past years, Congress was stingy with their appropriations, resulting in an unspent balance of $1.8 billion in the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund. This change was almost a miraculous accomplishment!

Distribute funds according to reclamation need

The formula that determines how much funding goes to each of the various states has changed to generally direct future fees to states based on reclamation need.

Funding ramp-up period

States will receive partial amounts of the reclamation funding due to them during the next five years, allowing them time gear up to the higher grant levels. The money initially withheld will be paid in later years.

Payout to certified states

“Certified states”,those that have completed all Priority 1 & 2 projects,will receive the funds they’ve accumulated in the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund over the next ten years, but they will not receive any reclamation funds collected in the future. Wyoming is the prime example of a certified state. This was a compromise to help pass the law.

Water Quality

Allow 30% set-aside for acid mine drainage

The maximum percentage of a state’s annual grant that can be used to address acid mine drainage has increased from 10% to 30%. As before, a state choose a lesser percentage at its discretion.

Strike the “general welfare” provision from Priority 2

Funding is and has been generally reserved for Priority 1 & 2 projects (dealing with health & safety issues). Striking the “general welfare” provision from Priority 2 projects blocks the ability to fund most water-related projects using Priority 2 criteria. Acid mine drainage (AMD) is usually designated as Priority 3, which now can only be funded by the above set-aside program.

Other Provisions

Allow remining incentives

Federal incentives may be given to industry for remining abandoned mine sites that would not likely be reclaimed by industry without them.

Eliminate RAMP

The law formally eliminated the Rural Abandoned Mine Program (RAMP). Once an important reclamation program, RAMP has not received any appropriations in the past six years and was effectively defunct anyway.

Health insurance for retired coal miners

The law funds health insurance benefits for coal miners (and their families) whose companies have gone bankrupt and are no longer able to provide the benefits. Abandoned Mine Posts is a service of the

Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation

226 Donohoe Rd, Suite 110

Greensburg, PA 15601

phone/fax: (724) 832-3625

www.wpcamr.org

Comment on this article at http://amp.wpcamr.org or suggest future Abandoned Mine Posts topics at newsletter@wpcamr.org .

 

206 Peterson, House colleagues send major Abandoned Mine bill to Senate 2006-12-11 13:58:55

P R E S S R E L E A S E

C O N G R E S S M A N John E. Peterson

Proudly Serving Pennsylvania’s Fifth Congressional District

For Immediate Release – December 8, 2006

Contact: Chris Tucker – (202) 225-5121

Plan would allow Pennsylvania to collect $1.5 billion to remediate most dangerous mines

Washington, DC – The state of Pennsylvania will receive nearly $1.5 billion in federal funding from an account created to help states reclaim Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) thanks to legislation passed this afternoon by the U.S. House and co-written by Congressman John E. Peterson, R-Pleasantville. The legislation, attached to a broader measure that also included Peterson-backed provisions to expand access to vital energy reserves offshore, passed today by a vote of 367-45 and will now be sent to the Senate for final approval.

“The health and safety hazards created by abandoned coal mines constitute a national emergency for which there must be a swift, national response,” said Peterson. “For far too long, though, the federal fund created to accelerate the clean-up and reclamation of our most dangerous sites was sending far too much money to places where there wasn’t an abandoned mine to be found. Today, we changed that formula – and with it, created the conditions necessary to clean up our sites sooner than we could have ever imagined.”

“This is the most important economic development and environmental legislation to affect our state and other historic coal production states that has ever passed,” said R. John Dawes, chairman of the Pennsylvania AML Campaign, a coalition of 200 conservation and watershed associations. “This is life-saving legislation that goes beyond addressing the health impacts of living near these sites,” adding that more people have died in the past four years as a result of dangerous abandoned mine lands than in oft-publicized underground mining accidents.

The AML Fund was created nearly 30 years ago to finance the cleanup of hazardous abandoned mine sites across the country. Under the current program, Pennsylvania collects roughly $23 million each year to reclaim the most dangerous mine lands across the state. But with the current need for funding estimated at more than $1 billion, it would take almost 50 years at the government’s current pace to clean up each of these high-priority sites.

The AML language the House passed today will allow Pennsylvania to claim more than triple that figure over the next 10 years. In fact, starting in fiscal year 2008 and going through until 2017, state officials will receive approximately $680 million – with further adjustments promising to yield as much as $1.5 billion over the next 15 years. All told, the AML’s new funding formula would allow state and local officials to reclaim and recover nearly all the state’s high-priority sites a full 45 years earlier than they would have under the current arrangement.

“Finally, and thankfully, we now have commonsense legislation that will go a very long way to fixing the long-standing problems of abandoned mine lands and waters across our state,” said Bruce Golden, regional coordinator for the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation. “Pennsylvania, whose AML problems dwarf all others, owes a great deal of gratitude to Congressman Peterson for the environmental good that will come from this historic piece of legislation.

“It’s a new day in Pennsylvania,” he added.

The legislation must now be considered by the U.S. Senate before being sent to the president for his signature.

 

205 Congress approves bill extending abandoned mine program 2006-12-11 13:49:26

KIMBERLY HEFLING

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – About $1 billion in relief could be headed to rural Pennsylvania communities to clean up hazardous and polluting abandoned coal mines under legislation that passed the Senate early Saturday.

The measure, part of a larger bill, would reauthorize the national coal mine reclamation program for 15 years at a cost of $5 billion. The House had approved the legislation on Friday; it now awaits the president’s signature.

Passage of the legislation ends a years-long fight that has pitted coal-producing states against each other.

Nationwide, it is estimated that more than 3.6 million people live less than a mile from an abandoned coal mine. The price tag to clean up the worst sites is $8.5 billion.

Particularly in eastern U.S. coalfields, the unstable former mine land has been blamed for fatal accidents by hikers and ATV riders – 24 deaths in Pennsylvania were reported last year on abandoned mine land. In addition, toxins from the abandoned mines have left about 4,000 miles of streams and rivers biologically dead in the state. There are also fires inside several former underground mines that have burned for years.

Pennsylvania, which once was king of the coal industry, has an estimated 184,000 acres of land scarred by old coal mines. It is estimated it could take $5 billion to completely clean them up.

The program was created in 1977 as part of sweeping reforms in surface mining. It was based on a per-ton fee that coal companies paid into a fund established for use to clean up the abandoned mine sites. But much of the money over the years was used to pad the federal budget. About $2 billion collected for the fund has not been appropriated for clean-up projects.

In the last decade, Pennsylvania has received about $250 million to clean up its abandoned mines.

Since the program’s creation, much of the nation’s mining has shifted from states in the east like Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky to those in the west, like Wyoming.

The western states have not struggled as much with abandoned mine restoration issues because much of the mining has been done with modern mining and reclamation techniques.

Under the current program, half the fees collected go back to the state from which the coal was mined.

The historic coal mining states have complained that Wyoming uses its abandoned mine land fund for public works. The western states, in turn, have complained of bearing the burden of funding the program.

The bill would lower the fees paid into the program and modify the formula so that historic coal mining states with the more serious problems get a higher stake of the money, while Wyoming would still get a huge chunk. It also would continue to fund health benefits for thousands of retired union miners who worked for coal companies that no longer exist – a key issue for West Virginia lawmakers.

It would make spending for the reclamation program mandatory, which means it would not be controlled through the annual appropriations process.

That’s a boon for the coal-producing states, which have long complained that the money is not being used for its intended purpose. 0 888 37 admin

 

204 Confluence 2007 Conference: Preparing for the Storm 2006-11-30 12:17:51

Stormwater Solutions for Pennsylvania Communities

February 15-16, 2007

Penn Stater Conference Center

State College PA

What’s being planned?

A one-and-a-half day technical workshop focused on implementation of Pennsylvania’s new Stormwater BMP Manual that will build upon PADEP’s BMP Manual training sessions.

Who should come?

Professional engineers and consultants developers, municipal officials, conservation professionals, and watershed stakeholders looking for the opportunity to examine the benefits and challenges of good stormwater management.

What will be covered?

Learn tools and strategies for incorporating stormwater management into site design and land use planning, and for meeting Act 167 NPDES Phase II permitting requirements to ensure protection of public health, property, and the future health of Pennsylvania rivers and streams.

Online registration will begin December 1, 2006. Visit the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Website Page for more information. Exhibitor space is available. Contact us at (717) 234-5550 or email if interested in exhibiting.

 

203 GOVERNOR RENDELL INVESTS $27 MILLION TO PROTECT PA’S NATURAL RESOURCES 2006-11-30 10:17:29

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

Dept. of Environmental Protection

Commonwealth News Bureau

Room 308, Main Capitol Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

11/29/2006

CONTACT:

Kerry Chippo

Phone: (717) 787-1323

153 Projects Funded Through Historic Growing Greener Programs

HARRISBURG , Continuing his work to improve Pennsylvania’s economic and environmental health, Governor Edward G. Rendell today announced a $27 million investment to clean up streams and rivers, address serious environmental problems at abandoned mine sites and revitalize communities across the state.

The money will finance 153 projects through Pennsylvania’s traditional Growing Greener Program and the voter-approved Growing Greener II bond initiative.

“Growing Greener allows us to leverage state dollars with Pennsylvania’s natural capital; protecting the resources that draw people to live, work and play in the commonwealth,” Governor Rendell said. “Our natural resources are and will continue to be valued as economic, recreational and environmental assets. It is this scenic and wild beauty that makes Pennsylvania so unique.”

Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty announced the Growing Greener investments during a ceremony in Exeter Borough, Luzerne County, where she also awarded nearly $1 million for three grants for planned improvements to Hicks Creek.

“The involvement of local groups is absolutely essential to the success of restoration projects supported by Growing Greener, and the restoration being done here on Hicks Creek is the perfect example of the power of a strong partnership,” McGinty said. “Working together, we can amplify our efforts and achieve significant results for the people of Pennsylvania.”

McGinty presented a combined $916,677 to Exeter Borough, the Hicks Creek Watershed Association and the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation for streambank restoration and stabilization on Hicks Creek.

The three grants , $220,593 to the borough, $246,084 to the watershed association and $450,000 to the coalition , will finance projects that tackle sediment issues, alleviating flooding problems threatening downstream areas as well as curbing the threat of the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus.

Included in the $27 million, which represents the eighth round of funding awarded by DEP under the traditional Growing Greener program, are $7.9 million in traditional watershed grants and $13.1 million in grants under the voter-approved Growing Greener II bond initiative.

In addition, DEP is recommending $5.9 million in Nonpoint Source Implementation Program Grants, funded through Section 319(h) of the federal Clean Water Act.

Since 1999, DEP has supplied $181.7 million in watershed grants for 1,592 projects in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania through the traditional Growing Greener Program. The grants are used to create or restore wetlands, restore stream buffer zones, eliminate causes of nonpoint source pollution, plug oil and gas wells, reclaim abandoned mine lands and restore aquatic life to streams that were lifeless due to acid mine drainage.

Voters in May 2005 approved a $625 million bond issue to clean up rivers and streams; protect natural areas, open spaces and working farms; and shore up key programs to improve quality of life and revitalize communities across the commonwealth.

Since then, DEP has awarded $28.4 million for 106 watershed projects to make Pennsylvania healthier, a better place to live and more competitive in attracting and supporting business investment through the Growing Greener II initiative.

For more information on Growing Greener, visit DEP’s Web site at www.dep.state.pa.us, Keyword: “Growing Greener.”

###

The Rendell Administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell’s initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit his Web site at: www.governor.state.pa.us.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a list by county of the $7.9 million in Growing Greener watershed restoration and protection grants:

ADAMS

Watershed Alliance of Adams County Inc. – $15,048 for an evaluation of the groundwater resources in Adams County.

ALLEGHENY

South Fayette Conservation Group – $157,070 for a passive treatment system to treat the Gladden Discharge.

ARMSTRONG

Armstrong Conservation District – $50,000 to reclaim five acres of abandoned mine lands that will be converted to productive pastureland.

BEAVER

Beaver County Conservation District – $150,000 to implement Phase III of the agricultural best management practices initiative in the Raccoon Creek and Connequenessing Creek watersheds.

BEDFORD

Broad Top Township – $191,500 to rehabilitate the North Point vertical flow wetland serving the Broad Top Coal Field and set up a long-term operation, maintenance and repair fund.

BRADFORD

Bradford County Conservation District – $10,000 to study stream channel legacy sediments.

BUCKS

American Littoral Society, Delaware Riverkeeper Network – $51,000 for Phase II of the Upper Tinicum Restoration Project.

East Rockhill Township – $18,150 for retrofit design using stormwater best management practices.

CAMBRIA

Cambria County Conservation District – $15,000 for Phase I of the Trout Run Acid Mine Drainage Treatment Project.

West Branch Susquehanna Rescue Inc. – $27,000 to design and construct a passive treatment system to treat abandoned mine drainage along the headwaters to the West Branch Susquehanna River.

CENTRE

Clearwater Conservancy of Central Pennsylvania Inc. , $450,000 for Phase III of a project to model water availability in the Spring Creek and Spruce Creek Basins.

Pennsylvania State University – $71,000 for streambank stabilization on Halfmoon Creek.

CHESTER

Brandywine Valley Association – $45,500 for the Brandywine Red Streams Blue Initiative.

CLEARFIELD

Boggs Township – $43,000 for the design of a passive treatment system to treat abandoned mine drainage to Morgan Run.

CRAWFORD

Fairfield Township – $64,995 for assessment and flood protection in the Wymans Run Watershed.

DAUPHIN

Dauphin County Conservation District – $9,000 to develop a detailed watershed restoration plan in the Little Wiconisco Watershed.

ELK

Elk County Conservation District – $10,000 for formation of the Elk County Freshwater Association.

Toby Creek Watershed Association Inc. – $50,000 for design, construction and water evaluation for an additional sedimentation pond at the Brandy Camp Treatment Plant.

ERIE

Edinboro Lake Watershed Association – $15,000 to develop a watershed management plan for Edinboro Lake.

FAYETTE

Trout Unlimited, Chestnut Ridge Chapter – $51,015 to prepare a comprehensive stream corridor assessment of Lower Dunbar Creek.

GREENE

Greene County Watershed Alliance – $230,964 for natural stream channel design to rectify bank erosion and channel migration on Ruff Creek.

JEFFERSON

Jefferson County Conservation District – $49,766 for liming of the Manners Dam impoundment and land liming of 250 acres in the Manners Dam Watershed.

LACKAWANNA

Borough of Taylor – $110,645 for design and construction of the Colliery Property Channel Restoration and Culvert.

LEHIGH

Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy – $25,000 for restoration, protection and habitat enhancement in the Upper Perkiomen Watershed.

Wildlands Conservancy Inc. – $60,000 for the Swabia Creek Stream Restoration Project.

LUZERNE

Eastern Middle Anthracite Region Recovery Inc. , $66,000 to construct a passive treatment system to treat a maximum of 500 gallons per minute of flow from Black Creek.

Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation – $450,000 to restore 3,100 feet of stream channel reducing acid mine drainage to Hicks Creek.

Pennsylvania Environmental Council Inc. – $200,000 to reclaim 377 acres of abandoned mine land.

Pennsylvania Environmental Council Inc. – $13,675 for an annual valley-wide streamside cleanup and buffer planting program.

LYCOMING

Black Hole Creek Watershed Association – $10,000 for riparian buffer plantings along 1,400 feet of Black Hole Creek.

Lycoming College – $7,551 for start-up costs for the Rose Valley/Mill Creek Watershed Association.

MONTGOMERY

Narberth Borough – $41,000 for the design of stormwater management retrofits on Indian Creek.

MULTIPLE

Allegheny County Conservation District – $58,537 to develop a watershed plan for the Big Sewickley Creek Watershed.

American Rivers Inc. – $250,000 for dam removals through the Free-Flowing Pennsylvania II Initiative.

Cocalico Creek Watershed Association – $14,000 to develop a restoration plan for Cocalico Creek.

Columbia County Conservation District – $7,500 to support startup of the newly formed Roaring Creek Valley Conservation Association.

Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation – $150,000 to compile, update and fill in data gaps on minepools in the anthracite region.

Franklin & Marshall College – $200,000 to study statewide streambank erosion and nutrient loads from legacy sediments.

Heritage Conservancy Inc. – $12,000 for the Neshaminy Creek Watershed Alliance implementation.

IPM Institute of North America Inc. – $225,000 to set up a guaranteed best management practice program for farmers.

Lycoming College – $40,000 to support the Keystone Stream Team Web site and stream restoration initiatives.

Lycoming College – $10,000 to support a technical assistance system for watershed groups in the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.

Northampton County Conservation District – $49,642 for a comprehensive assessment and management plan for the Saucon Creek Watershed.

PA Cleanways – $50,000 to cleanup illegal dumpsites in the Mahanoy, Shamokin and Catawissa Watersheds.

Penn Soil Resource Conservation and Development Council – $51,000 for pasture improvements and rotational grazing in the Upper Ohio River Watershed.

Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts Inc. – $200,000 for a nutrient reduction credit trading aggregation project through the PEACCE Network.

Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts Inc. – $300,000 for the PACD Engineering Technical Assistance Program.

Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts Inc. – $1.3 million for the Pennsylvania Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society – $250,000 for project TreeVitalize, which works to restore tree cover to the Southeastern Pennsylvania area.

Pennsylvania Land Trust Association- $25,000 to update the Riparian Forest Buffer Protection Agreement.

Pocono Northeast Resource Conservation & Development Council – $400,000 for the Pennsylvania Consortium for Scientific Assistance to Watersheds (C-SAW).

Susquehanna River Basin Commission – $100,000 for a water conservation and efficiency technical assistance program.

PERRY

Perry County Conservation District – $30,000 for the Riparian Forest Protection Agreement Initiative.

PHILADELPHIA

Chestnut Hill College – $80,987 for stream and floodplain restoration design for a mile-long section of Wissahickon Creek.

City of Philadelphia Recreation Department – $200,000 for restoration of Pleasant Hill Park.

PIKE

Pike County Conservation District – $131,944 for a comprehensive groundwater study.

SNYDER

Snyder County Conservation District – $10,000 for a biological and chemical assessment along the main stem of Penn’s Creek.

SOMERSET

Municipal Authority of Boswell Borough – $15,000 to develop a wellhead protection plan protecting water quality in the Mauch Chunk/Burgoon Aquifers.

Shade Creek Watershed Association – $15,000 for limestone sand dosing on acid mine drainage impacted tributaries of Shade Creek.

Somerset County Conservation District – $15,000 to address acidity with limestone sand dosing on Beam and Spruce Runs.

Somerset County Conservation District – $23,500 for operation and maintenance to treatment systems along Stony Creek.

Trout Unlimited, Chestnut Ridge Chapter – $232,901 to develop a water resources plan for the Laurel Hill Creek Watershed.

SUSQUEHANNA

Hop Bottom Borough , $173,000 for streambank protection on Martin’s Creek.

Susquehanna County Conservation District – $15,000 to restore 2,400 feet of unstable stream channel using natural stream design techniques.

Susquehanna County Conservation District – $10,000 for the Northern Susquehanna River Watershed Association Startup.

VENANGO

Sandycreek Township – $32,800 to conduct a detailed assessment and action plan for the Morrison Run Watershed.

Venango Conservation District – $13,145 for streambank stabilization on Lower Two Mile Run.

Venango Conservation District – $75,000 for streambank stabilization and habitat improvements on Sugar Creek.

WASHINGTON

United Mine Workers of America Career Centers Inc. – $241,850 to reclaim a three-acre coal refuse pile that will be converted to baseball fields for the local community.

Washington County Watershed Alliance – $26,822 for natural stream channel design to stabilize a severely eroded section of Cross Creek.

WESTMORELAND

Jacobs Creek Watershed Association – $43,000 for the engineering and design for the Stauffer Run acid mine drainage treatment system.

YORK

Pennsylvania State University, York Campus – $140,000 for Phase II of the Codorus Creek Restoration Efficacy Program.

* * *

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a list by county of the $13.1 million in Growing Greener II watershed protection grants:

ADAMS

Adams County Conservation District – $20,000 to establish a self-guided educational tour of existing and proposed stormwater best management practices.

ALLEGHENY

Nine Mile Run Watershed Association Inc. – $406,439 to install 3,500 rain barrels in the highly urban Nine Mile Run Watershed.

ARMSTRONG

Armstrong Conservation District – $65,325 to address severe impacts from erosion along Plum Creek.

Trout Unlimited, Arrowhead Chapter – $15,000 for streambank stabilization and improved fish habitat on Buffalo Creek.

BEDFORD

Bedford County Development Association – $200,000 for stream and floodplain restoration on Shober’s Run.

BERKS

Berks County Conservancy – $10,000 to implement agricultural best management practices on the Leid Farm.

Berks County Conservancy – $10,000 to establish agricultural best management practices along Saucony Creek, an exceptional value stream.

Berks County Conservancy – $15,000 for the Hix Streambank Restoration and Fencing Project.

BRADFORD

Sylvania Borough – $125,000 to stabilize 3,000 feet of eroding streambanks in the headwater areas of Upper Sugar Creek, Upper Tomjack Creek and Upper Brown’s Creek.

BUCKS

Bucks County Chapter of Trout Unlimited – $75,000 for the Cooks Creek Stream Restoration Project.

CENTRE

Beech Creek Watershed Association Inc. – $464,336 for the Contrary Run Mine Area SM-5 Restoration Project.

Centre County Conservation District – $130,000 for installation of agricultural best management practices.

CHESTER

Chester County Conservation District – $12,800 for natural stream channel design and floodplain restoration on Crabby Creek, a tributary to Valley Creek.

Chester County Economic Development Foundation – $150,000 to restore 900 feet of Little Valley Creek.

Whitford Country Club – $400,000 for the Colebrook Creek natural stream channel and riparian ecosystem restoration.

Willistown Township – $69,328 for the Ridley Creek dam removal and riparian restoration.

CRAWFORD

Crawford County Conservation District – $72,539 for the Crawford County High School Volunteer Streambank Restoration Program.

CUMBERLAND

Cumberland Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited Inc. – $110,000 for complete survey, design, permitting and removal of two dams on Yellow Breeches Creek.

DELAWARE

Pennsylvania Resources Council Inc. – $14,514 for riparian restoration that would protect a one-acre pond from impacts associated with runoff from an adjacent horse pasture.

Villanova University – $69,483 for the study of rain garden best management practices using four different design principals to reduce stormwater runoff.

INDIANA

Indiana County Conservation District – $196,000 to install a non-electric, water-driven limestone silo to treat the Lucerne 3A deep mine discharge.

Indiana County Conservation District – $173,000 to construct a limestone siphon pond to treat the #2 priority mine seep on the South Branch of Bear Run.

Indiana County Conservation District – $27,000 for implementation of agricultural best management practices.

JEFFERSON

Headwaters Charitable Trust – $140,000 to construct two anaerobic limestone drains to precipitate iron from the Filson #7 site, improving water quality in Little Mill Creek.

Jefferson County Conservation District , $300,000 to address clogging of the Conifer I treatment system on Beaver Run.

LANCASTER

Little Conestoga Watershed Alliance – $169,000 to restore and stabilize 3,700 feet of eroding stream channel along the Little Conestoga.

Masonic Village – $413,000 to reconnect 3,200 feet of Conoy Creek to its historical floodplain by removal of legacy sediments and streambank stabilization.

Warwick Township – $65,539 for construction of stormwater best management practices to alleviate sediment pollution to Lititz Run.

LEHIGH

Heidelberg Township – $8,950 for creation of a riparian buffer along 375 feet of a tributary to Jordan Creek.

LUZERNE

Exeter Borough – $220,593 for Phase I design and construction of the Hicks’s Creek Channel Restoration Project.

Hicks Creek Watershed Association – $246,084 for streambank stabilization along Hick’s Creek at Schooley Avenue.

MONTGOMERY

Montgomery County Conservation District – $103,140 to implement stormwater best management practices on the Yoder Dairy Farm.

MONTOUR

Northumberland County Conservation District – $25,000 for implementation of agricultural best management practices on Limestone Run.

MULTIPLE

Altoona City Authority – $68,000 to design and construct watershed improvements in the Bell’s Gap Run Watershed.

Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts Inc. – $5.2 million for the Pennsylvania Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.

Pennsylvania Environmental Council Inc. – $140,000 for the Darby and Cobbs Creek Watershed Stormwater Program.

PHILADELPHIA

Fairmont Park Commission – $273,180 to construct a stormwater infiltration gallery along Sequoia Road within the Cathedral Run Watershed.

PIKE

The Pocono Environmental Education Center – $121,600 for design and construction of stormwater best management practices at the center.

SCHUYLKILL

City of Pottsville – $940,000 for Phase V of the Sharp Mountain reclamation project to reclaim dangerous cropfall subsidence in the City of Pottsville.

SOMERSET

Somerset County Conservation District – $285,000 to install a lime-silo doser on Coal Run to counteract the acid mine drainage from seeps along the entire watershed.

TIOGA

Babb Creek Watershed Association Inc. – $18,955 for operation, maintenance and repair of the Klondike Successive Alkalinity-Producing System (SAPS).

Endless Mountains Resource Conservation and Development Council – $150,000 Phase II construction of a natural stream channel design project on Corey Creek.

Tioga County Conservation District – $75,000 for implementation of agricultural best management practices.

UNION

Buffalo Creek Watershed Alliance – $290,000 for construction of a passive treatment system to address acidic deposition impacts in Buffalo Creek.

WARREN

Warren County Conservation District – $145,550 for the Small Farm Agricultural Stewardship Program.

WESTMORELAND

Conemaugh Valley Conservancy – $164,650 for design and construction of a self-regulating lime doser to treat the largest acid mine discharge to Tubmill Creek.

WYOMING

Mehoopany Creek Watershed Association – $528,304 for channel restoration on Mehoopany Creek, Problem Areas D & E.

YORK

Felton Borough – $197,632 for streambank stabilization and aquatic habitat improvements on the North Branch of Muddy Creek.

* * *

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a list by county of the $5.9 million in Nonpoint Source Implementation Program Grants, funded through Section 319(h) of the federal Clean Water Act.

ALLEGHENY

Pennsylvania Environmental Council Inc. – $7,951 to enhance the Pine Creek Watershed Implementation Plan.

BEDFORD

Broad Top Township – $8,000 for Six Mile Run acid mine drainage (AMD) evaluation and design to treat the discharge from a deep mine borehole.

Broad Top Township – $86,054 for Six Mile Run AMD remediation to design and construct a passive treatment system to treat AMD along the main stem of Six Mile Run.

Broad Top Township – $23,000 for Sandy Run AMD remediation to design a passive treatment system to treat AMD in the headwaters of Sandy Run.

Broad Top Township – $75,165 for Six Mile Run AMD remediation to construct a passive treatment system to treat AMD in the headwaters of Six Mile Run.

Broad Top Township – $84,970 for Six Mile Run AMD remediation to construct a passive treatment system to treat AMD in the headwaters of Six Mile Run.

BRADFORD

Bradford County Conservation District – $99,070 for design and partial implementation of the In-Lake Stephen Foster Lake Restoration Plan.

BUCKS Bucks County Conservation District – $45,000 for a watershed restoration plan for Lake Galena and the North Branch of the Neshaminy Creek.

CAMBRIA

Clearfield Creek Watershed Association – $77,402 for the Ferris Wheel Revegetation Project to reclaim a 28 acre bare strip mine reducing recharge to a major acid mine discharge seep zone.

CLEARFIELD

Pike Township – $90,061 for the design, permitting and construction of an anoxic limestone drain passive treatment system to treat the BR3.9 acid mine discharge on Bilger Run.

DAUPHIN

Dauphin County Conservation District – $113,956 to inventory and evaluate conservation plans on file, and cropping system management for Conewago Creek.

Dauphin County Conservation District – $77,000 for design and construction of a vertical flow pond, aerobic wetlands and sedimentation basins to treat alkaline discharges in the Bear Creek Watershed.

ERIE

Erie County Conservation District – $15,680 for the Trout Run Assessment and Implementation Plan.

HUNTINGDON

Huntingdon County Conservation District – $336,898 to design and construct the Green Garden Road AMD Treatment System.

LACKAWANNA

Lackawanna County Conservation District – $12,000 for development of a watershed plan to remove Wilson Creek from the 303(d) list.

MIFFLIN

Mifflin County Conservation District – $322,814 to implement agricultural best management practices in the Upper Kishacoquillas Creek Watershed.

MULTIPLE COUNTIES

Antietam Watershed Association – $75,000 to develop a comprehensive watershed assessment and Total Maximum Daily Load implementation plan.

Cumberland County Conservation District – $7,222 for development of the Middle Spring Watershed Implementation Plan.

Jacobs Creek Watershed Association – $35,000 for the Jacobs Creek Watershed Implementation Plan.

League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania Citizen Education Fund – $100,000 for pollution prevention watershed education.

Luzerne Conservation District – $125,000 to support technical assistance and educational opportunities for conservation districts and watershed groups dealing with acid mine drainage.

Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Inc. – $175,000 to support county conservation district educational activities related to reducing nonpoint source pollution.

Tri-County Conewago Creek Association – $34,000 for Phase I of the Hershey Meadows Stream Restoration Project.

Venango Conservation District – $45,011 for a watershed assessment and restoration plan for South Sandy Creek Watershed in Venango and Mercer counties.

Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation – $125,000 to support technical assistance and educational opportunities for conservation districts and watershed groups dealing with acid mine drainage.

SCHUYLKILL

Schuylkill County Conservation District – $956,000 for the Oneida #3 Mine Tunnel Discharge Remediation Project.

Schuylkill Headwaters Association Inc. – $690,000 for installation of a passive acid mine drainage treatment system to neutralize acidity and reduce metals from the Neumeister Drift discharge in the Schuylkill River Watershed.

TIOGA

Tioga County Concerned Citizens Committee Inc. – $12,000 to develop an implementation plan for Fall Brook.

UNION

Union County Conservation District – $18,229 for a part-time agricultural information specialist to work with farmers on agricultural impaired reaches of Buffalo Creek.

YORK

Izaak Walton League of America Inc., York Chapter 67 – $687,861 for Phase III, Stage IV restoration of the Godfrey Pasture to eliminate excessive sediment loading and improve fishery habitat.

Izaak Walton League of America Inc., York Chapter 67 – $722,672 for Phase V of the South Branch Codorus Creek Stream Restoration Project.

Izaak Walton League of America Inc., York Chapter 67 – $356,888 for restoration of the McClelland Pasture to eliminate excessive sediment loading and improve fishery habitat.

Izaak Walton League of America Inc., York Chapter 67 – $297,958 for Phase V of the East Branch Codorus Creek Stream Restoration Project. [b][/b] 2 1288 3 1 1 0 0 0 0 25-26-1-37-31-30-33-32-23-19- 0

Edit Edit Edit Inline Edit Copy Copy Delete Delete 202 Inaugural COALS strategy session set for Nov. 29 2006-11-13 17:02:42 By MARK E. JONES Times Leader mjones@timesleader.com

People aiming to remove illegal trash dumps from Luzerne County and the surrounding anthracite region will gather for a strategy session later this month in Nanticoke.

The first COALS Summit is scheduled for Nov. 29 at Luzerne County Community College.

Event organizers with the state Department of Environmental Protection intend to spread information to community groups about a young but fast-growing program called COALS, short for Clean Our Anthracite Lands and Streams.

The program began about two years ago in Northumberland and Columbia counties and expanded earlier this year into Luzerne County. It relies on the combined efforts of community volunteers, government agencies, environmental groups and private landowners, especially the region’s coal companies.

Donors pay for waste disposal costs. Other COALS participants provide free labor or chip in with enforcement and site beautification efforts.

The summit’s speakers will include representatives from groups such as the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, PA CleanWays and Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.

Attendees also will learn about a COALS high school grant program during an afternoon presentation titled “Money is on the Table!”

Registration costs $15; the fee includes admission to the daylong program and a lunch. The registration deadline is Nov. 25.

To attend the summit, call Angela Vitkoski of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council’s northeast regional office at (570) 718-6507. Or send an e-mail to vitkoski@pecnepa.org. 0 545 12 admin 1 english

 

200 PAEE 2007 Conference 2006-11-07 11:34:02

You are invited to attend the annual state conference of the

Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators

April 13-15, 2007

Wilkes-Barre, PA

Brochure, Registration Form, Updates, & Early Bird Discounts at www.paee.net

Featuring:

Internationally-renown speaker: Tim Grant of Green Teacher

Regional & state speakers: Robert Hughes & Patti Vathis

32 Workshops, Networking opportunities, 5 Field Studies

including a field study by Rick Koval of PA Outdoor Life.

Act 48 & IU credits, too!

Sampling of workshops:

Teaching Sound Science Using Our Natural World

PLT’s Risk and the Environment

EE on a Shoestring for Educators

Teaching Green in the Middle Years

Taking Kids “A Field”: Field Ecology for Elementary Students

Finding That “Magic Spot” Moment: Nature Journaling

Strategies for Teaching IPM Indoors and Outdoors

Teaching the Greatest Challenge of Them All: Climate Change

Ripples , Harvesting Poems in Nature

Learning Basic Science Concepts in the Schoolyard

Questions? Contact either conference co-chair

Judith at weitzhuis@comcast.net

Jen at jennifer.karsten@mail.mcgill.ca

“The Pennsylvania Association for Environmental Educators unites, supports, and inspires individuals to be stewards of the environment”. 0 625

 

199 Coal Mine Drainage Treatment Inventoried Online 2006-10-30 12:34:28

October 18, 2006 Contact: Ben Owens

For immediate release (202) 208-2565

Bowens@osmre.gov

Coal Mine Drainage Treatment Inventoried Online for

Abandoned Mines in Maryland, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania

Information about restoring streams contaminated by waste from abandoned coal mines in four Appalachian states has been compiled in an online inventory by the US Office of Surface Mining (OSM).

The inventory provides vital statistics on about 300 Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) treatment projects in West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio and Pennsylvania. It is available online at http://amd.osmre.gov/passtreat/.

Either by using the simple queries included in the web site or by downloading the complete data base, users can identify: all the treatment projects in a watershed, county or state; where they are located; the source of the AMD; the treatment technology used; the total cost of the project; the primary funding partners and their contribution; and some basic water quality information.

Anyone wanting to know how well a specific treatment technology is working will be able to search the inventory database for projects of interest. The inventory can be queried using several basic questions and the database can be downloaded for independent analysis and GIS mapping.

Information available in the inventory will enable better decision-making on where to place new treatment systems, what technologies will work best on individual discharges, what systems are performing well and which ones need attention.

Thousands of miles of steams in the Appalachian Region have been contaminated by drainage from abandoned underground and surface coal mines. In some areas, acid mine drainage (AMD) is the largest single source of water quality impairment. In the past 12 to 15 years there has been a tremendous growth in efforts to address the discharges, reflecting a strong commitment among Federal and State agencies, universities, foundations and local watershed groups.

OSM and its state partners identified a collective need to know the extent of efforts being made to clean up streams and watersheds impacted by mine drainage. However, due to the large number of organizations involved in constructing and maintaining treatment systems, no one agency maintained an inventory of all the projects in a state or even a watershed.

As the federal agency most involved in funding AMD treatment and providing technical assistance, OSM took a leadership role in developing the inventory with significant help from state partners.

The inventory identifies treatment systems built to address mine drainage from mines abandoned before implementation of the Federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.

Most of the projects included in the inventory use a variation of what is called “passive” treatment technology. Passive treatment systems use wetlands or limestone-based alkalinity-producing technologies to treat contaminated mine water. Passive treatment systems usually (but not always) require less intensive monitoring and less frequent maintenance than the typical chemical addition systems associated with regulated coal mines.

The AML/AMD Treatment Inventory can be accessed at http://amd.osmre.gov/passtreat The web site contains individual state contacts in OSM for questions, updates and comments.

-OSM-

 

198  Live News from EPCAMR on your Desktop 2006-10-26 12:24:27

EPCAMR is proud to announce a new web service…EPCAMR NewsFlash via RSS. This previously under-utilized service has been gaining more popularity and can be a very useful tool to keep you updated in the day-to-day happenings of the EPCAMR and AMD/AML Related News. The technology that allows transmission directly to your computer is known as RSS or Really Simple Syndication. If you have Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox Internet Browsers (others may also apply), you will notice an orange icon in the address bar. This is the link to the news feed, click on it and follow the instructions to add the link to your browser.

The feed is available here.

The EPCAMR RSS Reader is adapted from the RSS Reader from www.rssreader.com and is ad ware free. The program runs under Windows 98/NT/Me/2000/XP/2003 Operating Systems.

 

197 Bradford County Commissioners seek fund-extension for environmental clean-ups 2006-10-20 11:27:10

Commissioners hire assistant 911 coordinator, seek fund-extension for environmental clean-ups

BY JAMES LOEWENSTEIN

STAFF WRITER

10/20/2006

TOWANDA — The Bradford County commissioners on Thursday hired a new full-time assistant 911 coordinator and passed a resolution urging Congress to re-authorize a federal fund that has helped address local environmental problems caused by past coal mining.

[b]Asst. 911 coordinator[/b]

The commissioners on Thursday hired Robert Repasky of Sayre to be the county’s full-time assistant 911 coordinator.

Repasky replaces Kim Jennings, who was promoted to Bradford County 911 coordinator earlier this month, Bradford County Commissioner Nancy Schrader said.

Repasky is an assistant fire chief for Sayre and is president of the Bradford County Fire Chiefs Association. Repasky is also a Pennsylvania state fire instructor.

For the past three years, Repasky has served as chairman of Bradford County’s 911 Committee, which oversees the operations and budget for 911 in Bradford County.

“We’re very glad that he (Repasky) has accepted the position,” Schrader said. “He comes with a great deal of experience, and he comes with a great deal of expertise.”

Repasky’s salary will be $27,372, and his hire was made effective Oct. 16, 2006.

[b]Environmental problems[/b]

By a 2-0 vote, the Bradford County commissioners approved a resolution urging Congress to reauthorize the federal Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fund. The fund is set to expire in June 2007.

The fund provides money to address environmental problems caused by past coal mining, as well as safety hazards related to the mines, according to written information provided by the commissioners.

“Bradford County suffers from abandoned mine land problems,” Josh First, representing a coalition of environmental conservation groups, told the commissioners. “You won’t get those problems taken care of unless you get more money.”

Among the problems Bradford County faces from past coal mining are dangerous mine openings, waste piles from past coal mining operations, and acidic streams, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

In the late 1990s, $1.2 million from the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation fund was used to pay for two water treatment projects that reduced the acidity of two tributaries to the Schrader Creek, making it a better environment for trout, said Hugh McMahon, president of the Schrader Creek Watershed Association. The tributaries, located on Barclay Mountain, had been made acidic by past coal mining, McMahon said.

Bradford County Commissioner Doug McLinko — who, along with Commissioner Nancy Schrader voted for the resolution — said that trout fishing is important part of the appeal of Bradford County to tourists.

The Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fund is a funded by a tax paid by coal mining companies, ranging from 10 cents per ton mined to 35 cents per ton mined.

The resolution, which has been also been passed by more than 40 other counties in Pennsylvania, urges that the per-ton tax be increased by 10 cents per ton.

The tax has not been increased in 35 years, even though the price of coal has increased since then from $4 or $5 per ton to $110 per ton, First said.

The resolution asks Congress to extend the fund for at least 20 more years.

Bradford County Commissioner Janet Lewis was absent from Thursday’s meeting.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633; or email: jloewenstein@thedailyreview.com

©Daily and Sunday Review 2006

 

196 New England Organics Fertilizer Pellets Available for Land Reclamation 2006-10-16 12:13:13

On July 1, 2006 the PADEP granted New England Organics (NEO) coverage under General Permit PAG-07 for their Class A biosolids pellets produced by the New England Fertilizer Company. This approval can be found at the PADEP website, specifically at:

eFacts

EPCAMR is assisting with putting the word out on the product to interested groups and has been provided material information sheets on the biosolid pellets and the Biomix Topsoil products. Please see the attached information .

NEO has demonstrated tremendous success with this product throughout New England in the areas of turf production, conventional ag production and as a component in manufactured topsoil for landfill closure work. Additionally, we have documented field research with the University of Rhode Island. Also, using the pellets as a soil amendment in topsoil manufacturing operations can add value and marketability to otherwise low organic, poor quality subsoils.

NEO is planning to market its fertilizer in Eastern Pennsylvania and is looking for some strong and experienced companies that can use the fertilizer product in various mineland reclamation projects. Any interested watershed groups or Conservation Districts, as well as mining operators that are interested in obtaining this product should contact Pat Kennedy, NEO at 1-800-278-7396.

 

195 The ACCWT is award-winning, again 2006-10-16 11:03:15

The Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team just won the [b]Governmental Partner Award[/b] at the first-ever [b]National Summit of Mining Communities[/b]. The Summit was a meeting of a combination of community and mining interests and was held in Leadville, CO. October 3-5, 2006. Attendees at the Summit were asked to nominate recipients for six awards, including the Governmental Partner Award – for “A federal, state, or local agency that was receptive to a mining community’s voice and needs and stepped up to the plate to take a proactive role in their economic vitality, local safety and health, and environmental management.”

Allan Comp was in Leadville last week to accept the award on behalf of our entire team and also served as co-keynote opening speaker with Mr. Wayne Mundy, CEO, Newmont Mining Co.

For more information regarding the Summit, please visit http://www.2tough2die.com/.

We are tremendously excited by this award (the second awarded our Team!) and you should be too – all of our efforts are honored by this recognition. It takes a Team folks and each of you have made this organization the success it has become. Considering all of the attention the Team is getting, we know that we are at the precipice of positive change – within our collective as the Watershed Team as well as in communities throughout Appalachia. We know that things have been very busy as we prepare us for the evolution of our network and greatly appreciate your continued efforts and patience. We have some very exciting things coming down the pike and look forward to the coming years as we amp up our efforts and their reach.

Keep up the great work and take just a moment to revel in the glory of YOUR success!

Cheers!

Jenny Becksted

Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team

Program Manager/Team Leader

198 George Street

Beckley, WV 25801

Ph: 304-461-3130

Fax: 304-254-9144

info@accwt.org

 

194 EPCAMR President Wins International Conservation Award 2006-10-16 10:23:48

[b]Pennsylvania Middle School Teacher Wins International Conservation Award

52nd Annual Chevron Conservation Awards Honors Dauphin County’s Ed Wytovich for Environmental Protection Efforts of the State’s Rivers and Habitat[/b]

[b]SAN RAMON, Calif., October 6, 2006[/b] , Ed Wytovich is a student of nature. For his legendary volunteer efforts, which have led to the preservation of hundreds of miles of rivers and thousands of acres of habitat in Pennsylvania, Wytovich was named one of six winners of the 52nd annual Chevron Conservation Awards.

US Congressman Tim Holden wrote that Wytovich demonstrates “how optimism can build partnerships with government, the private sector, and community volunteers to achieve success in conserving and restoring our environment.”

An eighth grade science teacher in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, Wytovich has been a founding member of a myriad of watershed associations dedicated to treating Abandoned Mine Drainage. This year, Wytovich, who serves as volunteer president of the Eastern Pennsylvania Collation for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, celebrated the completion of the largest water lands restoration project in the state.

In 1998, his 100 mile “Riverwalk” along the state’s Schuylkill River raised funds for the Schuylkill Headwaters Association and generated awareness of the need to clean the River. He also helped start the Annual Schuykill River Sojourn, a one-week canoe trip down the Schuykill, to draw attention to habitat preservation.

In 2001, he convinced state lawmakers to designate May as Statewide Watershed Awareness Month, which lead to annual clean-ups at sites throughout Pennsylvania. “Ed instills within others the need to serve as stewards of the environment and community within which they live,” said Dave Zanis, a longtime friend.

Other 2006 Chevron Conservation Award winner are: California Trout, a nonprofit dedicated to protecting and restoring wild trout and steelhead waters throughout California; The late William H. Howard, president, Wildlife Habitat Council for his innovative approach to pairing industry and conservationists to find balanced solutions to natural resource protection; Iain Kerr, CEO, Ocean Alliance, for research and educational efforts to improve the health of the world’s oceans; Jeunesse Park, founder of Food and Trees for Africa, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for disadvantaged South Africans through natural resource programs; Dr. Pilai Poonswad, for her work to save Asian hornbills and habitat in the forests of Thailand.

Winners are selected by an independent panel of conservationists. Originally created by outdoors writer Ed Zern in 1954, the program has recognized more than 1,000 conservationists from around the world. A contribution of $15,000 is made by Chevron to each winner’s conservation work.

Chevron is committed to contributing to the social and economic development of the communities in which the company operates. In 2005, Chevron invested $73 million in community initiatives around the world, nearly 65 percent of which was directed toward long-term, capacity-building projects.

Chevron Corporation is one of the world’s leading energy companies. With more than 53,000 employees, Chevron subsidiaries conduct business in approximately 180 countries around the world, producing and transporting crude oil and natural gas, and refining, marketing and distributing fuels and other energy products. Chevron is based in San Ramon, Calif. More information on Chevron is available at www.chevron.com.

For more information on the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, see http://www.orangewaternetwork.org.

Contact: Alex Yelland, Chevron media relations — + 1 925 842 0456

1 1425 1 Note from Ed: “Its a small world” , the fellow who accepted for California Trout and is the Executive director of Ca Trout is one Brian Stranko, originally from Selingsgrove. One of the fellows who accepted on behalf of another group is friends with Alan Comp. Ya can’t hide anywhere!

 

193 Eastern Coal Region Roundtable Creek Clips 2006-10-03 13:06:50

ECRR - Issues

Creek Clips

Issues, Support, Celebration


Abandoned Mine Land Update

Mine cleanup could be linked to inheritance tax

As the 109th Congress approaches its election recess in Washington this week, the Senate’s Republican leadership could attach the Abandoned Mine Land Trust Fund reauthorization bill, sponsored by Sen. Rick Santorum, to legislation that would eliminate the estate tax, a controversial proposal in this election year and a strategy that could jeopardize passage of the mining fund bill.

Kristen Vanderpool, a spokeswoman for Mr. Santorum, said the senator remains committed to passage of the bill by whatever means is most viable, and this month sent a letter urging its passage to Republican and Democratic Senate leaders. It was signed by 21 other senators from both parties.

“We feel there were certain compromises made on the lower fees and re-mining but it was worth it because the bill will finally provide Pennsylvania with enough funding to fix the worst of the abandoned sites,” said Beverly Braverman, executive director of the Mountain Watershed Association in Fayette County, and chair of the Tri-State Citizens Mining Network’s Center for Coalfield Justice.

Read the full Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article here.

Read the Roundtable’s online AML resources for more background. Or, you can read a message from the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation.

Upcoming Events

Please check our online calendar periodically to keep updated on useful trainings & conferences throughout Coal Country.

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Visit our website: www.easterncoal.org

ECRR provides a helping hand to grassroots environmental groups striving to solve water quality issues throughout Appalachia’s Coal Country.

Eastern Coal Regional Roundtable

119 S. Price Street, Suite 206, Kingwood, WV 26537

Phone: 304.329.8049 – Fax: 304.329.3622 – Email: info@easterncoal.org

 

192 EPCAMR Outreach Coordinator Interviewed by PA Environmental Digest 2006-10-03 12:29:23

Source PA Environmental Digest

Michael Hewitt from the Eastern Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation tells how he first got interested in doing watershed restoration work.PA Environmental Digest caught up to Mr. Hewitt at the “From the Branches to the Confluence” Upper Susquehanna River Conference at Bucknell University September 23, 2006.

You can contact him by sending email to: hardcoal@epcamr.org or visit www.OrangeWaterNetwork.org

 

191 Avondale Memorial and Community Garden Complete 2006-10-03 11:11:04

Over the last nine months more than 30 volunteers have transformed mine-scarred land, an abandoned bridge abutment and an invasive weedy hillside into an industrial art project honoring the largest anthracite mining disaster in Avondale in Northeastern Pa.

And on September 17, the volunteers celebrated the successful project with a Community Picnic and Cook-out.

Part of the project includes a community flower garden that incorporates a stormwater management practice using a rain barrel to recycle water for the plants. The garden project just received a $250 grant from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful to support garden development.

Throughout the summer, volunteers worked 700 hours and gathered more than $10,000 of donated materials and time for the perennial garden and industrial art project which is dedicated to the 110 victims of the 1869 Avondale mine fire.

During construction, Robert Hughes, Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation and a resident of Avondale Hill, secured a donation of and installed a 100-foot long silt fence to prevent dirt from eroding off the hillside with Mike Hewitt, a co-worker from Plymouth.

A small grant from the Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania Resources Council, plus some donations of flowers from local nurseries, helped to populate the garden.

Valerie Taylor, EPCAMR Office of Surface Mining VISTA, from the Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team, coordinated all of the volunteer work days and her enthusiasm for the project spread through many of the volunteers throughout the course of the project.

At the base of the abutment, Heather Elias planted a wildly colorful garden. Dawson and Hayley Hughes scrubbed the graffiti off of the boulders and the abutment to bring back the rock’s true colors. Tom and Mike Loke built the surrounding rock wall and cut the weeds and invasive plants out of the hillside to make way for the garden.

Ed and Diane, a couple that lives directly across the street from the project, watered the garden during its initial landscaping to keep it alive, and have assisted with planting the garden and pulling weeds as well.

Karen Gabriel, a new homeowner on Avondale Hill, shoveled dirt to create the flower bed during the heat of the Summer. Many other silent volunteers and businesses have contributed quietly with their contributions and work ethic to the project and were just glad to help in any way possible.

Volunteers arranged long-term garden care with the addition of a rain barrel donated by the Luzerne Conservation District. From the roof of the kiosk housing a public community bulletin board, built by Rick Shields and his grandson, Patrick Shields, water collects and will nourish the garden during dry times. A seep hose distributes the water throughout the planted area.

For more information, please contact the EPCAMR office at 570-674-7993 or send email to Robert Hughes at: rhughes@epcamr.org. 0 772 1 1 0 0

 

190 EPA Administrator to Lead Cooperative Conservation Listening Session in Pottstow 2006-09-14 13:12:14 On September 18, 2006, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen Johnson will lead a cooperative conservation listening session in Pottstown, PA. The session is intended to give citizens an opportunity to exchange ideas on incentives, partnership programs, and regulations that can improve results and promote cooperative conservation and environmental partnerships. The listening session is the latest in a series of discussions that the Bush Administration has hosted since the President’s Conference on Cooperative Conservation in August 2005. Groups and individuals involved in cooperative efforts to protect the environment are encouraged to participate in this session.

Date and Time: September 18, 2006 at 10:00 a.m.

Location: Montgomery County Community College – Community Room, 101 College Dr., Pottstown, Pennsylvania 19464

Discussion topics:

How can the federal government enhance wildlife habitat, species protection, and other conservation outcomes through regulatory and voluntary conservation programs?

How can the federal government enhance cooperation among federal agencies and with states, tribes, and local communities in the application of environmental protection and conservation laws?

How can the federal government work with states, tribes, and other

public- and private-sector partners to improve science used in environmental protection and conservation?

How can the federal government work cooperatively with businesses and landowners to protect the environment and promote conservation?

How can the federal government better respect the interests of people with ownership in land, water, and other natural resources?

Contact: Gail Tindal at 215-814-2069 or tindal.gail@epa.gov

 

189 Coal mine cleanup plan tempts Democratic opponents of tax cut 2006-08-22 14:27:08

08/02/2006

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer , The Associated Press

Republicans are trying to boost their bid to cut estate taxes and increase the minimum wage with a last-minute add-on that would pay for abandoned coal mine cleanup projects and health care for retired miners.

A coalition of labor, environmentalists and mining companies is behind the drive to renew the mine reclamation program, which uses fees on mined coal to pay for cleanup projects and health care for retired mine workers and their families.

The mining provision has been added to the estate tax and minimum wage bill to try to entice West Virginia Democratic Sens. Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller to abandon a Democratic filibuster on the estate tax measure. It’s also important to the re-election bid of Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., the provision’s top sponsor.

Republican leaders still face an uphill battle to cut the estate tax, despite add-ons such as the mine cleanup provision, the minimum wage hike and a package of popular tax breaks that includes a research and development credit for businesses and deductions for college tuition and state sales taxes. A Friday vote looms on whether to cut off the Democrats’ stalling tactics.

Byrd is feeling the most heat among Democrats since he’s running for re-election in a state where the politics of coal remain king. He has not announced whether he’ll abandon his opposition to the estate tax cut measure now that the coal mine cleanup and retiree health coverage _ as well as the long-sought increase in the minimum wage _ has been attached.

“It is critically important that this get passed,” said Phil Smith, spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America.

Rockefeller, meanwhile, said he’ll vote against the hybrid estate tax and minimum wage bill, but he did not give a reason during a brief interview.

West Virginia would be a big winner under the abandoned mine legislation, which renews a law first passed in 1977. The state has a large backlog of abandoned mine sites requiring cleanup and it has the most so-called “orphan miners” in the country.

Orphan miners are retired coal workers whose former employer has gone out of business. They tend to be poor and are concentrated in Appalachia. Many beneficiaries are elderly widows of miners.

At the same time, the legislation directs more assistance to states with big cleanup problems such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

“This is huge for reclaiming mines and streams in coal country in the eastern part of the country,” Santorum said. “As well as taking care of a problem that is hanging over us like a black cloud, and that is, what can we do with orphan miner benefits.”

Western states such as Wyoming _ where most strip mines sites have already been remediated _ would also reap a windfall, getting paid surplus coal taxes that have piled up in the $1.4 billion federal cleanup fund. States don”t have to use the money to clean up mine sites. Wyoming, for instance, has spent some of its share on highways, schools and hospitals.

The mining bill has generated opposition from fiscal hawks such as Senate Budget Committee Chairman Judd Gregg, R-N.H., who says taxpayers would bear too much of the program’s cost. Gregg also says the legislation unwisely puts the program on autopilot instead of renewing its budget each year so Congress can better review it.

But Gregg has muted his criticism now that the mining measure has been linked to the estate tax cut, a top priority for Republicans and party allies such as small businesses and farmers.

The mining provision is one of several aimed at attracting the votes of wavering Democrats. A provision to authorize rural bonds targets Mark Pryor, D-Ark., while a tax break for timber companies is aimed at Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.

“They knew what they were doing,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., of the GOP authors of the overall bill. “They loaded up the estate tax bill with as many state specific, industry specific projects as they could.”

Still, Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was confident Democrats will block the estate tax measure. It takes 60 votes in the Senate to cut off a filibuster, and Republicans fell three votes short in a previous attempt in June.

___

On the Net:

United Mine Workers of America: http://www.umwa.org/

Jeanne Clark

Director of Communications

Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture)

412-258-6683 (direct dial)

412-736-6092 (cell)

www.pennfuture.org

 

188 Schuylkill Watershed Congress Call for Presenters 2006-08-22 14:04:49

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network announces

the Call for Presenters (Concurrent and Poster Sessions)

for the 2007 Schuylkill Watershed Congress

Saturday, March 3rd, with Field Trips March 4th

Montgomery County Community College – West Campus, Pottstown, PA

__________________________________________

Submissions due by [u]October 28th, 2006[/u]. Download the Call for Proposals Document

The Schuylkill Watershed Congress Organizers invite you to share your

knowledge with a presentation or poster session. Congress participants

are interested in the latest information on progressive watershed

planning, model projects, and innovative watershed protection.

Topics requested by participants include:

“State of the Schuylkill Watershed” updates “¢ Plant ID “¢ Nutrient tracking “¢ Monitoring for beginners “¢ Dam removal “¢ Invasive species management “¢ Fundraising and grant writing “¢ Volunteer development “¢ Fish populations in the watershed “¢ Wetland restoration “¢ Biological monitoring “¢ Innovative community outreach “¢ Stream re-designation “¢ Legacy sediment “¢ Waterborne disease “¢ Rivers Conservation “¢ TMDLs “¢ Data on/reporting on benefits of retrofits/restoration “¢ Stormwater BMP retrofits “¢ Endocrine disruptors “¢ Watershed education “¢ Role of municipalities in watershed protection “¢ GIS in conservation “¢ Stream ecology primer “¢ Wastewater recycling “¢ Plant stewardship “¢ Sojourn/recreational opportunities in the Schuylkill and Delaware watersheds “¢ Terrestrial/aquatic relationships “¢ Source water protection “¢ Stream clean-ups

Field trips and hands-on, interactive presentations are encouraged.

All presentations must include a question and answer component.

Poster and concurrent sessions proposals should include:

* Presentation Title (please limit to 10 words)

* Presenter(s), Affiliation(s), Address(es)

* Email Address(es)

* Daytime Telephone Number(s)

* One Sentence Presentation Summary

* Level (e.g., Introductory, Intermediate, Advanced; Advanced sessions are encouraged)

* Abstract Body (should not exceed 200 words)

* Estimated Length of Presentation (Concurrent sessions limited to 50 minutes)

* Presenter Bio(s) (should not exceed 100 words)

* Specify concurrent session or poster session

Submit presentation proposals or questions about the Schuylkill

Watershed Congress via email to chari@delawareriverkeeper.org

Please note: Submission of a proposal does not guarantee inclusion in the Congress program. The number of proposals received often exceeds the session availability. Following the proposal format provided will greatly aid the Congress Program Committee in the tough decision-making process. If you have any questions, please call 610-469-6005.

The Schuylkill Watershed Congress, a gathering of watershed citizens interested in understanding, protecting and restoring their local streams, is held annually on the first Saturday in March. The event features a diverse program with concurrent and poster sessions covering a broad range of watershed topics. The Congress audience, which has hailed from throughout the Schuylkill Watershed, across Pennsylvania and from as far away as Wilmington, Delaware; Ringoes, New Jersey; Baltimore, Maryland; and Providence, Rhode Island, attends the Congress seeking new information on watershed protection.

Financial Supporters:

PA DCNR

Sea Grant of Pennsylvaina

Schuylkill Programs

Delaware Riverkeeper Network

300 Pond Street, 2nd Floor

Bristol, PA 19007

Phone: 610-469-6005

Fax: 215-369-1181

Web site: www.delawareriverkeeper.org

The Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN) is the only advocacy organization working throughout the entire Delaware River Watershed. The Delaware Riverkeeper is an individual who is the voice of the River, championing the rights of the River and its streams as members of our community. The Delaware Riverkeeper is assisted by seasoned professionals and a network of members, volunteers and supporters. Together they form DRN, and together they stand as vigilant protectors and defenders of the River, its tributaries and watershed. DRN is committed to restoring the watershed’s natural balance where it has been lost and ensuring its preservation where it still exists.

 

187 No longer dead in the water 2006-07-28 12:03:00

Source: Ad Crable – Lancaster New Era

Published: Jul 26, 2006 12:22 PM EST

LANCASTER COUNTY, PA – Maryruth Wagner, manager of the Columbia County Conservation District, was sitting in her office nine years ago when a 70-something-year-old man shuffled in.

Paul Slusser said he’d fished Catawissa Creek all his life but had never caught a single fish. He sure would like to.

Now, if you weren’t from the area and stumbled across the Catawissa anywhere along its 42-mile journey from its mountainous headwaters in Luzerne County to its mouth on the Susquehanna in Columbia County, you’d die for a fly rod.

The “Cat,” as it’s called, is up to 50 feet wide and clear as gin. It tumbles swiftly over rocks and through arching hemlocks and bowed rhododendrons. A pristine trout stream if there ever was one.

Except that since the 1930s, when the coal mines that burrowed deep under its course closed, the Catawissa has been barren of fish and all but a few of the most acid-tolerant aquatic insects.

In a few places the stream disappears briefly down mine shafts.

“The Catawissa is probably the most beautiful screwed-up stream east of the Mississippi,” says Ed Wytovich, president of the grass-roots Catawissa Creek Restoration Association.

Acid mine drainage from a handful of abandoned coal mines had given the Catawissa a pH as low as 3.2 , about the acidity of stomach acid or wine.

“It looks like a clear, beautiful mountain stream. But it’s dead , nothing,” says Lonnie Young, director of natural sciences for Rettew Associates, a Lancaster-based consulting firm.

The stream is just one of 2,500 miles of waterways in 45 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties tainted by acid mine drainage.

The state Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation handles about 800 requests a year for help with mine-polluted streams.

The Catawissa doesn’t have the iron-rich “yellowboy” discoloring of many acid mine drainage-contaminated streams, which makes it all the more pitiful to learn that the clear water is deadly.

Slusser touched something in Wagner that day in 1997. She called up the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, the Pennsylvania Game Commission, state Department of Environmental Protection, county commissioners, conservation districts, federal conservation agencies and Wytovich, a schoolteacher from Ashland with a bent for environmental issues.

Somehow she got them all together one night in the Ringtown Fire Hall. Some 150 local residents turned out, many of whom lived along the Catawissa.

The willingness and earnestness charged those who were there. One thing led to another and before long the Catawissa Creek Restoration Association had formed.

The group’s first effort to reverse things came in 1999 when a dump truck load of limestone was deposited on the Brandonville Bridge and everyone shoveled scoops into the water below.

“It was a Band-Aid approach but you could see it dissipated into the water,” recalls Wagner. “We monitored it and the pH came up a little bit close to that area.”

Things picked up steam, and before you knew it, it was June 17, 2006, and the dedication of the Audenreid Tunnel Acid Mine Drainage Treatment System.

The $2.2 million facility, mostly maintenance-free, is the largest passive acid mine drainage facility ever built in Pennsylvania, and possibly the world.

The project’s engineering, permitting and final design were done by Rettew at its Columbia Avenue headquarters.

Alongside the Catawissa and wedged between mountains in northern Schuylkill County, the nine-acre complex was built 6 miles below the stream’s headwaters.

In a move that typifies the cooperation the project has generated from the beginning, land and access were donated by a local rod and gun club and a private all-terrain vehicle park.

The filtering system, which handles about 13 million gallons of creek water per day, works this way:

First, acid mine drainage from three long-abandoned deep coal mines is intercepted and diverted into three partially buried concrete storage tanks of the kind used on Lancaster County dairy farms to hold manure. Each is 120 feet in diameter, 10 feet deep and holds up to 1 million gallons.

About half the space inside the open-air tanks is made up of egg-sized limestone rocks. The limestone oxidizes the aluminum in the water, and the toxic heavy metal separates, settling into the rocks.

From there, the treated and cleansed water flows over rocky spillways , more aluminum oxides are separated out , into a series of two earthen settling ponds. Any aluminum still waterborne settles out here, and the recharged water flows into the Catawissa.

It’s like giving the Catawissa a strong antacid tablet.

The water in the settling ponds is a most alluring blue. Think Caribbean. It’s caused by the sky reflected in the shiny aluminum.

“It looks like you were at the beach,” says Wagner. “We joked about putting sand and umbrellas around the blue ponds.”

The system went on line in December. Unfortunately, the facility took a hit during the severe flooding several weeks ago. The side of the mountain where the mine water is discharged was blown out and the treatment system was flooded with 10 times its capacity.

But officials are hopeful they can have the system up and running again in a matter of weeks.

The treatment system takes care of about 80 percent of the acid mine drainage emptying into the Catawissa. Another upstream mine is already being treated, and plans are to cleanse several others.

Says Wagner, “I’ve lived here my whole life, and it just makes you feel so good that finally something can be done. We take pride in our waters.”

***

Those who love the Catawissa and public officials in the region are already dreaming of what might be.

Before it was knocked out by flooding, the treatment had raised the pH of the Catawissa to a more fish-tolerable 5.5 or 6. There are 16 streams that empty into the Catawissa that hold native brook trout ready to move into new territory.

When Wytovich gives presentations, his display board on the Catawissa has this motto: “Soon to be a world-class trout stream.”

Indeed, though Paul Slusser did not live to see it, at the dedication an elderly couple told the gathering they had gone out on opening day of trout season and caught four native brook trout.

They were the first fish the pair had ever seen in the stream.

They said the fish were good eating, too.

 

186 Abandoned Mine Fund supported by Wyoming County 2006-07-26 17:06:32

Source: JOSH MROZINSKI,

Wyoming County Press Examiner

07/26/2006

WYOMING COUNTY – County Commissioners voted unanimously yesterday to support the Abandoned Mine Land Fund.

The U.S. Senate is debating a bill that would reauthorize the federal funding, giving the state about $65 million to restore abandoned mines through 2026.

The commissioners were urged to support the federal land mine program by Josh First, Harrisburg-based Appalachian Land and Conservation Services Co. president.

“So far we have had 31 counties pass resolutions to reauthorize the fund,” First said.

Luzerne is one of the counties that have passed a supporting resolution, First said after the meeting.

Lackawanna County Commissioners have yet to give their support.

First said Wyoming County has had fewer problems with abandoned mines than other counties, and the problems that have been addressed have been minor.

But he still said the federal program would benefit Wyoming County.

Rusty Bennett, 45, of Forkston and vice president of the Mehoopany Creek Watershed Association, said the federal funding would allow the organization to expand its program, during which lime is placed in creeks, including the Stony Brook.

The creek runs at the foot of the Dutch Mountain, which is located in Forkston Twp. and has an abandoned mine.

Mike Hewitt, who during the meeting presented data about the county’s mines, said that acidic run-off flows from the mine at 200 to 300 gallons a minute.

Mr. Hewitt is the watershed outreach coordinator for the Shavertown-based Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation.

Commissioner Tony Litwin asked whether strip mining was used at the mountain.

“These are all underground mines,” Hewitt said.

He added that the four holes were made into the mountain side to reach the coal.

Commissioner Judy Kraft Mead, who made the motion to create a resolution in support of the fund, asked whether the federal program has been used to pay the pension of unionized mine workers.

First answered yes.

 

185 AML Bill could include dollars for Wyoming 2006-07-26 16:28:10

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Source: NOELLE STRAUB

Star-Tribune Washington bureau

WASHINGTON — A $5 billion provision moving quickly through Congress would increase payments to Wyoming from the Abandoned Mine Land Fund while at the same time lowering the fees charged to coal companies to finance it, winning praise from some Western senators.

Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., is working to attach a measure that would reauthorize the AML program for 15 years to the final version of a pension reform bill that is being hammered out between House and Senate negotiators. The Santorum proposal originally contained measures that could have cost Western states, but was changed after Western senators complained.

The pension conference report has not yet been finalized, but negotiators hope to pass it through Congress by the end of the week. But some conservatives have objected to the Santorum measure, saying it is too expensive. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., who chairs the Budget Committee, sent a scathing letter to colleagues urging them to fight it.

Sen. Michael Enzi, R-Wyo., is chairing the pension conference committee.

“Wyoming has been shortchanged for decades to the tune of a half a billion dollars, with no end in sight,” Enzi said. “This provision I am working on with my colleagues from Pennsylvania, West Virginia and other states is the end of a problem and the beginning of a fair policy that makes sure people get what they are owed.”

Enzi said the measure would release over a seven-year period the $550 million that Wyoming is owed.

“This pension conference is a good opportunity, but we still have a mountain to climb,” Enzi said. “It’s not a done deal. This proposal would give Wyoming the money it’s owed and correctly balance the formula for the future so we get the money going forward. It also reduces the burden on companies working in Wyoming.”

But Gregg sent a letter to his colleagues Tuesday against the proposal. He said beneficiaries would become more reliant on American taxpayer contributions rather than the coal companies.

Gregg said the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that AML legislation increases direct spending by $4.9 billion over 10 years, but only increases revenues by $1 billion over that same time period, increasing the deficit by nearly $4 billion.

He also said the proposal changes annual AML funding from discretionary to mandatory spending, making it an automatic funding stream that cannot be controlled through annual spending review and appropriations.

Gregg said the proposal would give the same low-cost health benefits to two new groups of beneficiaries not originally included in the United Mine Workers Combined Benefit Fund, and adds new mandatory payments to these three health funds.

Over the past decade, most of the interest from the AML fund has gone to help pay the medical expenses of some retirees, their spouses and dependents.

Under current law, 50 percent of AML fees are given back to the state or Indian tribe that collected them. But Enzi said that the federal government has tied up the money in a trust fund that has been used for general fund projects or to make the budget numbers look better.

Santorum’s proposal would give states their backlogged shares of the money with payments from the general treasury over seven years. The money from the treasury would be capped at $490 million per year.

The proposal would also modify the AML formulas to provide historic production states that have the most serious reclamation problems with higher allocations but mandate that minimum program states receive at least $3 million.

The original version of the Santorum proposal would have replaced the state shares of Montana an Wyoming with money from the Mineral Leasing Act. But Western senators were concerned that there would not be enough such money to cover the bill, and after discussions, Santorum agreed to give the states their share from the general treasury.

The measure would reduce the fees by 20 percent, in two equal stages. The fee on surface-mined coal would drop by 10 percent, from 35 cents to 31.5 cents on Oct. 1, 2007, and to 28 cents on Oct. 1, 2012. The fee on lignite would drop from 10 cents to 9 cents and then to 8 cents.

Sen. Craig Thomas, R-Wyo., said that while the provision “might not be the preferred route,” it’s a chance to fix the problem.

“The states have gone far too long without getting the money due them from the federal government,” he said. “Folks in Wyoming and the companies paying the tab have their limits. While the burden has fallen disproportionately on my state’s shoulders, the share the federal government agreed to distribute has not been paid. States, tribes and coal companies have honored their commitment; the federal government has not.”

The fund was established by the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to finance the restoration of land abandoned or not fully restored by mining companies before Aug. 3, 1977. The fees were originally scheduled to expire in 1992, but Congress has extended them six times.

 

184 Santorum pushing abandoned mines fix 2006-07-26 16:20:17

July 26, 2006

Source: Associated Press

MARY CLARE JALONICK – Bucks County Courier Times

WASHINGTON – Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a Republican, is pushing to add stalled abandoned mine cleanup legislation to a pending pension-overhaul bill.

The mining legislation would reauthorize a 1977 law that charges coal producers a per-ton fee to fund the cleanup of abandoned mines. Congress has approved several short-term extensions for the law, which has been caught in a battle between Wyoming and East Coast states for several years.

As the nation’s top coal producer, Wyoming is the biggest contributor to the federal cleanup fund and gets the most money from it. But Eastern states like Pennsylvania have declining coal production and the most abandoned mine land. They say they need money for reclamation of mines that are long abandoned.

Santorum’s mining legislation would eventually pay Wyoming the estimated $550 million dollars it is owed from the federal fund and reduce the fees paid by mining companies.

Wyoming Sen. Mike Enzi, the Republican chairman of the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee and the chairman of the negotiations on the pensions bill, said the legislation is “a good opportunity,” but noted “we still have we still have a mountain to climb.”

“It’s not a done deal,” he said.

Enzi said it’s “time for the federal government to pay its bill,” and addressed concerns from critics who say the legislation would make the pensions bill too expensive. He said it is misleading to characterize the proposal as increasing deficits because the coal money has been “hijacked” and never should have been counted against the deficit.

Sen. Craig Thomas, R-Wyo., said the states have gone too long without the money they are owed.

“While this might not be the preferred route,” he said of Santorum’s bill, “it’s a chance to get it done.”

The bill would also compensate Montana for money it has paid into the fund. According to the office of Montana Sen. Max Baucus, a Democrat who is on the negotiating committee, the Santorum provision would pay Montana about $11 million more annually by 2013. The funding would then drop back to current levels by about 2023, Baucus spokesman Barrett Kaiser said.

“Under this provision, Montana will be able to clean up more abandoned mines with a steady stream of revenue,” Baucus said in a statement. “It provides more dollars and more certainty.”

 

183  Time is Running out to Register for the AMD Conference 2006-07-25 13:00:55

This year’s Pennsylvania Conference on Abandoned Mine Reclamation is only six weeks away, but you have fewer than two weeks to register for very significant savings. And, as they say, when the deals are gone, they’re gone!

First, about the conference itself: The conference’s primary audience is watershed groups, particularly those who want or need some basic training or refreshers on subjects important to watershed groups. The theme is “Back to Basics” and will mostly be workshops on a whole bunch of timely subjects… surely something for everyone.

See www.treatminewater.com for the lineup and to register.

The conference will be at the Atherton Hotel Keith Pitzer and his wife Joan on Friday night. (Keith’s day job is the executive director of the Friends of the Cheat, a very successful watershed group in northern West Virginia, but his talent most definitely extends to his music.)

Now for the savings: Anyone who knows State College can tell you that

$45 per night plus tax ($55 per night double occupancy) is a great rate for a State College hotel. That’s what we’ve negotiated with the Atherton Hotel for the conference — but that rate is good only if you [u][b]register by July 28[/b][/u]. We’ve also worked hard to keep the conference fee to a bare minimum: just $50 for both days which, includes your meals.

But if you tend to procrastinate (as I too often do) and wait to register after July 28, it’s gonna cost you. You would pay the hotel’s regular rate (considerably more), and conference registration increases to $75. Is that perverse procrastination pleasure really worth it?

This is 8th year for Pennsylvania’s Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference. Every year it’s a bit different from the year before, but always a very worthwhile event. Volunteers from around the state and from many organizations work hard to organize a conference providing relevant, useful information to those working to reclaim abandoned mine land and waters. So register today. Do it for the volunteers, do it for your organization, do it for yourself, do it for fish, but register today (online at www.treatminewater.com) for this year’s Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference.

 

182  ECRR Grant Announcement July – August 2006 2006-07-25 12:45:03

[b][u]Non-Federal Grants[/u][/b]

[b]1. Water Resource Education Network (WREN)[/b]

WREN offers funds for watershed groups to attend water resources education/management trainings and conferences.

[i]Match: 5% Average Award: reimbursement Deadline: none[/i]

http://wren.palwv.org/grants/scholar.html

WREN also offers Opportunity Grants for “great, last minute ideas” relating to watershed education or drinking water protection.

[i]Match: none Average Award: $100-$250 Deadline: none[/i]

http://wren.palwv.org/grants/grants_wren.html

[b]2. Cargil Water Matters Mini-Grants[/b]

The Cargill company, along with The Conservation Fund, provides mini-grants to watershed organizations working within Cargill communities. Projects funded in the past include water festivals and stream clean-ups. ECRR states with Cargill locations include: OH, IN, AL.

[i]Match: none Average Award: $3,000 or less Deadline: none [/i]

www.cargill.com/about/citizenship/water_matters.htm#TopOfPage

[b]3. Patagonia[/b]

The Environmental Grants Program focuses on small organizations not traditionally funded by large grantmakers.

[i]Match: none Average Award: $3,000- $5,000 Deadline: August 31[/i]

 

http://www.patagonia.com/web/us/patagonia.go?assetid=2927

[b]4. Water Environment Research Foundation Pre-Proposals for Unsolicited Research[/b]

WERF seems to focus on stormwater; however, they also seem open to all sorts of water-related research.

[i]Match: none Average Award: www.werf.org/funding/avail_funding_unsolicited.cfm

[u][b]Conferences/ Trainings[/b][/u]

[b]1. Free Online GIS Class[/b]

Land Trust Alliance is offering 2 free online classes: one for beginners and one for the more advanced. Though the course is geared towards land trusts, the basic information presented will be useful to watershed groups.

[i]Cost: none Date: July 25, 1-2 pm Beginners, July 27, 1-2 pm Established[/i]

http://www.lta.org/training/gis_july_2006.htm

——————————————————————————–

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181 DEP has more abandoned mines to reclaim than funds to do it 2006-07-20 16:38:30

Sunday, July 09, 2006

By Mike Bucsko

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

CONEMAUGH TOWNSHIP — Twenty years ago, a group of coal miners in southern Indiana County developed a trout nursery that became one of the first such cooperative ventures in the state.

Necessity had given birth to the nursery. The miners were tired of having to drive all over southwestern Pennsylvania to fish. Their local waterways, Blacklegs Creek and its tributaries, were too polluted by acid draining from abandoned mines to sustain aquatic life.

At the urging of state officials, the miners formed the Blackleggs Creek Watershed Association — they misspelled the name of the creek when forming the group and decided just to leave it that way — as a conduit for state money to help the nursery and to address the mine-runoff problem. During the past six years, the organization has obtained more than $1 million from the state and federal governments and local contributors to clean up the pollution.

While the site along Big Run in Conemaugh, a tributary of Blacklegs Creek, is an example of a successful remediation, there are thousands of other sites yet to be addressed. The state has many more sites than the dollars it needs to deal with more than 5,000 high-priority abandoned mines. The Department of Environmental Protection sees the hazards to public health from abandoned mines as its top environmental problem.

Pennsylvania has nearly 185,000 acres of abandoned surface coal mines and at least 50,000 underground mines, though an exact count of underground mines is impossible. About 3 million Pennsylvanians live above underground mines and 1 million live within a mile of abandoned surface mines, said Tom Rathbun, of the DEP’s Office of Mineral Resources Management.

People in the southwestern bituminous and northeastern anthracite mining areas live with the environmental hazards of two centuries of coal digging. The hazards include mines draining into waterways, subsidence and underground fires.

A few miles outside of Ford City, Armstrong County, rust-colored water from the closed Allegheny River Mining Co. mine in Cadogan runs into Brunner Run, which travels for a mile before it disappears underground. Nearby, two ponds hold water the color of caramel.

Behind a coal pile, drainage pipes flow from the mine into three more holding ponds, where mine water is filtered before it is discharged into the Allegheny River.

The difference between the landscape of the Cadogan site and the reclamation project in Indiana County is dramatic.

The Armstrong County site looks like what it is — an abandoned mine with rusted and broken-down structures and old coal piles. Its ponds contain multicolored liquid, and foam collects in trenches that carry the water from the mine to the ponds.

In Conemaugh, there are two ponds, surrounded by woods and fields. The mine drainage is clearer because it is filtered twice, once through tons of calcium carbonate limestone gravel and then through a system in a second pond.

It is part of a process that reduces the acidity of the water before it flows into Big Run, which, in turn, flows into Blacklegs Creek. Across Sportsman Road and up the hill, a 270-by-70-foot ditch has been dug for a third pond that will treat drainage from another mine opening. A fourth pond is planned nearby.

The group hopes to clean up the Blacklegs Creek watershed to the point where the creek dumps into the Kiskiminetas River five miles away in Saltsburg, said Art Grguric, one of the founders of the watershed organization and now the group’s wetlands coordinator. Mr. Grguric and the others left mining in the mid-1990s after their mine closed.

The differences in the remediation of environmental issues at the two old mine sites reflect a difference in the intent of the two forces behind the efforts: the Blackleggs Creek Watershed Association and Nic Di Cio, owner of the Armstrong County site, Mr. Rathbun said.

“What [the Blackleggs Watershed Association] is trying to do is restore the stream to pristine condition,” Mr. Rathbun said. “What they’re doing in Armstrong County is trying to restore Cadogan to the limits of the law.”

Mr. Di Cio, who bought the 400-acre Cadogan mine site three years ago, said the situation wasn’t as dire as it looks.

He’s treating mine drainage on the Cadogan property, which the DEP inspects quarterly. Meanwhile, he’s pursuing three options to improve and, eventually, to reclaim the property.

The key is to remove 10 million tons of coal refuse, which causes 95 percent of the acid-mine drainage on the property, he said.

Options include building a co-generation plant to be fueled with the coal refuse. He also could sell the coal refuse to an existing coal-burning power plant.

Building a plant to use the Fischer-Trope process of gasifying coal and converting it into diesel fuel represents a third option, he said.

Mr. Di Cio, of Cadogan, owner of Reyna Foods in the Strip District, operates a tortilla chip plant next to the mine site.

He said he bought the mine property partly as a community service, but also because he saw its economic potential, even if it takes years to realize that potential.

For now, he said, he feels responsible to clean it up and leave a positive legacy.

“I bought it to rectify the problem,” he said. “It’s going to happen.”

[b]Thousands of sites[/b]

There are thousands of other abandoned mine sites waiting for reclamation. Armstrong County, with 313 sites that take up 17,772 acres, is second behind Clearfield County for the most abandoned mine sites in the state.

Every day, contaminated water from the mines and sediment from coal waste piles seep into waterways, Mr. Rathbun said. The state has to use the money it has to address the sites that federal officials have designated as priorities, characterized as such because of their danger to the public from problems that include subsidence and acid mine drainage.

If the federal allocation for reclamation remains at $20 million to $25 million a year, it will take decades to fix problems at the 4,617 sites that remain untouched. U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., has proposed legislation that would raise that amount to $60 million a year, enough to clean up those sites that have top priority under federal guidelines. Even so, thousands of other abandoned mine locations will not be addressed.

That’s why the state embraces the efforts of local organizations such as the Blackleggs Creek Watershed Association, Mr. Rathbun said. Those organizations can coordinate remediation work and obtain grants, including Growing Greener state funds, and address mine reclamation immediately, he said.

“We can’t sit around waiting for the federal government to give us money,” Mr. Rathbun said. “We have to move. Helping these small watershed groups and these small sportsmen groups is the best possible way to accomplish our goals.”

But with all they’ve accomplished over the years, even the sportsmen at the Indiana County organization have their work cut out for them.

There are 50 discharge sites from mines in Conemaugh, and only a few have been addressed. Still, the former miners have accomplished much, said Nick Pinnizotto, senior director of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s watershed programs in Blairsville.

“When it’s all said and done, this little group will end up using between $3 million and $5 million to clean up this area,” Mr. Pinnizotto said. “That’s quite an accomplishment.”

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(David Templeton contributed to this report. Mike Bucsko can be reached at mbucsko@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1732. )

 

180 Anthrascapes Art Show at Arts YOUniverse 2006-07-20 14:28:37

Wilkes-Barre- The Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR), Luzerne Conservation District, and the Office of Surface Mining has announced a unique collaborative art show with many regional artists that will be held at Arts YOUniverse in Wilkes-Barre, PA from August 6th through the 19th. Arts YOUniverse is located on 156 South Franklin Street.

The pieces included in the gallery showing have incorporated iron oxide

pigment recovered from Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) from many abandoned mine discharges throughout Luzerne and Schuylkill County.

Devon Rother, EPCAMR Anthracite Art Education Intern, and Robert Hughes, EPCAMR Regional Coordinator for the Luzerne Conservation District’s Abandoned Mine Land Program have been taking local artists from up and down the Lackawanna and Wyoming Valley to the locations of where the iron oxide deposits are located and have discussed ways to remediate the sites, improve the water quality, and reuse the orange water deposits as a resource for artists as a pigment. Devon’s internship is partially funded through a federal Summer Watershed Internship Grant Program supported by the Office of Surface Mining, EPCAMR, and the Luzerne Conservation District.

This event will be of interest to local artists, community members, college students interested in art and the environment, the environmentally conscious, local historians, mining buffs, and art

enthusiasts. “It’s also another way to get some foot traffic back in the Downtown Area of Wilkes-Barre”, says Robert Hughes, a recent graduate of the 2006 Leadership Wilkes-Barre and area native. “While the City is experiencing its own Renaissance of Downtown redevelopment, it only seems appropriate that this type of art show goes hand in hand with the positive developments that are ongoing. I don’t believe that it’s ironic that I personally met Kathleen Godwin, Executive Director or Kathy Laskaris, through the Leadership Wilkes-Barre Program, “I Believe” it was fate!” “There isn’t a better place for us to present this inaugural showcase of local talented artists and committed active environmentalists than in the City of Wilkes-Barre, right now,” Hughes emphatically stated.

The gallery showing will be a blend of art and the environment, using art to express and highlight the environmental impacts in our area created by past mining practices while at the same time allowing the artists to showcase their talents in various mediums.

For a preview of some of the art pieces, please visit our Photo Gallery. “When you visit an AMD impacted site, it’s a very stimulating experience of the mind, because not only do you get to take a hike off a few beaten paths of lush greenery and old abandoned railroad grades, you get to take in the spectrum of colorful wetland vegetation, hydrogen sulfide gas (rotten egg smell) venting from the mines, the damp smell of the coal silt

and black culm located in these areas after a morning dew, the sounds of the mine water splashing about from the boreholes or air shafts like fountains, and of course, last but not least, the almost neon-colored hues of oranges, reds, and yellows, of the iron oxide deposits that make many of our waterways, polluted.” Hughes explained.

Some of the art work displayed will focus on abandoned mine features and their impacts on the land in the Wyoming Valley, particularly in the areas of South Wilkes-Barre, City of Nanticoke, Hanover Township, and Newport Township. Art work will include images such as abandoned water-filled stripping pits, abandoned air shafts, boreholes, passive treatment systems, and local streams polluted with Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD). More works of art and additional artists are joining the effort as the Summer continues and future Art Shows are being planned for the AfA Gallery in Downtown Scranton and at the Luzerne Conservation District’s Environmental Education Center leading into the Fall of 2006 and Spring of 2007.

This endeavor has been supported locally with great enthusiasm by the local art community as a way to recycle what is commonly considered a pollutant to aquatic and insect life in our streams. However, recently, due to the hard work and creative thinking of the staff from the Luzerne Conservation District’s AML Program, EPCAMR, and the local art community, this same pigment is now more commonly being accepted as a valuable resource to the art world as an alternative pigment with value. Grants have already been applied for by the Luzerne Conservation District, EPCAMR, and area artists to continue to pursue this exciting opportunity to work with mine drainage in a positive way to restoring our environment. The Earth Conservancy has also allowed EPCAMR to tour their lands to evaluate their mine drainage sites and are

willing and active partners who are looking for ways to remove the years of iron deposits from their AMD treatment wetlands along Dundee Road.

This iron oxide pigment will be used in a variety of mediums such as watercolor, acrylic, pastel, oils as well as in pottery, wood stains, ceramics, photography, papermaking, ink paintings, plastics, chalk, and fabric dying. It’s going to be a must see for the community! Join us and open your eyes to a new world of AMD Resource Recovery Potential in Northeastern PA.

For more information about EPCAMR, visit www.orangewaternetwork.org

 

179 B-WET Grant Program for the Chesapeake Bay 2006-07-07 14:26:37

The 2007 Bay Watershed Education & Training (B-WET) Program Request for Proposals for the Chesapeake Bay watershed was published in the Federal Register on Tuesday, June 20, 2006 marking the beginning of the sixth grant cycle for this popular program.

Chesapeake Bay B-WET provides hands-on environmental education to students and teachers to foster stewardship of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Projects support the stewardship and meaningful watershed educational experiences goals of the Chesapeake 2000 Agreement by:

(1) providing meaningful bay or stream outdoor experiences to students in the Chesapeake Bay watershed,

(2) training teachers to provide this experience for their students, or

(3) exemplary programs combining the two objectives.

Final Proposals must be received by 5pm on Monday, October 23, 2006

For more information and detailed application instructions, please visit the NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office Education website at: http://noaa.chesapeakebay.net/educationmain.aspx

 

178 Grant Announcements from the Eastern Coal Regional Roundtable 2006-07-07 12:17:26

Please remember to visit The Eastern Coal Region Roundtable Funding Sources Archive for more grant opportunities relevant to the Appalacian Coal Fields.

The Eastern Coal Regional Roundtable (ECRR) was created through a partnership between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Office of Surface Mining (OSM). This site is a “meeting place” for watershed organizations working in eastern coal country. Their region includes nine states: AL, IN, KY, MD, OH, PA, TN, VA, & WV

 

177 The day after the floods, an Anthracite Regional perspective 2006-06-29 18:04:32

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Compiled by Michael Hewitt

EPCAMR Watershed Outreach Coordinator

Summer rains mean trouble for residents living above abandoned mine workings in the Anthracite Region. Schuylkill County was hit worse than most of the other counties in the region with some areas seeing more than a foot and a half of rainfall within a few days. The Audenried Treatment System has blown out for the second time since it was installed in December and is now running black. Sink holes were opening up all over the Hazleton area and Northern Schuylkill County. Mine openings that had been dry for decades were gushing like old faithful in Carbondale. Kenobles Groves Amusement Park is completely inundated again in Elysburg.

The Anthracite Region was almost finished with repairs from flooding during Ivan (9/04), but this nameless monster has wiped the slate clean and is forcing residents to start over again.

[b]Old Forge, Lackawanna County[/b] , One of the communities hit the earliest. As of Tuesday, most of the major rivers the area had stayed in their banks but the Lackawanna River rose quickly. Flood gates in both Olyphant and lower Green Ridge in Scranton were closed along the river.

Officials in Old Forge said the river there could go higher than ever before, up to six feet higher. Old Forge Borough announced evacuations as the evening progressed. Included in the evacuations were: the 1100 to 1300 blocks of South Main Street; Connell Street; Ripple Street; Breaker Street; Union Street; Foundry Street and Humphrey Street, all in the immediate vicinity of the Old Forge Borehole and the inlet of St. John’s Creek. (Jon Meyer, WNEP News)

On a normal day, the Old Forge Borehole spews 50 Million gallons of mine drainage per day into the Lackawanna River and St. John’s Creek is completely dry due to several fractures in the stream bed which leak water into the mine pool below the ground.

[b]South Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County[/b] – A mandatory evacuation was issued for people living in south Wilkes-Barre and Hanover Township near Solomon Creek on Tuesday as well.

Mayor Tom Leighton said anyone who was affected by any kind of flooding when the remnants of Hurricane Ivan hit in September, 2004 should expect the same thing, if not worse, this time around. (Brandie Meng, WNEP News)

Solomon Creek receives increased stormwater from newer commercial developments in the headwaters of the creek. Additionally, 2 mine drainage boreholes with average flows over 20,000 gallons per minute spill into the creek before it reaches the levee system, pumping station and the river.

[b]Wyoming Valley, Luzerne County[/b] – The Luzerne County commissioners and emergency management officials called for mandatory evacuations Wednesday afternoon for Luzerne County residents who were flooded in 1972 with stormwater brewed up by Hurricane Agnes.

The Susquehanna crested at around 34 feet Wednesday evening. Flood stage is 22 feet, but the new levee system was built to withstand water 41 feet high. Approximately 200,000 were forced to find higher ground as a precautionary measure. Emergency shelters were filled to maximum levels.

Those protected by the levy system, were allowed back to their homes by noon the next day. Areas not protected by the levees in the Wyoming Valley are still under water and people there are not being allowed back to their homes.

River levels on the Susquehanna River continued to drop Thursday as most spots reported crests below record levels.

[b]Near Sheppton, Schuylkill County[/b] – Extremely high flows, resulting from large amounts of rain and snow melt, caused a blowout behind the intake of the Audenried Tunnel Treatment system in the spring. This summer’s deluge caused another blowout at the intake of the system. Black water spewed out of the tunnel and into the system. What was a surrealistic scene, almost seaside landscape, of white treatment tanks and turquoise blue settling ponds only a week before during the dedication of the treatment system turned into another surrealistic scene painted black.

[b]Carbondale, Lackawanna County[/b] – Water gushed from a mine opening, forcing crews into action. It happened in an area where people didn’t think they had to worry about high water.

The sound or rushing water through Carbondale was hard to miss. It flowed right past Jim McMyne’s home near Wayne and Cortland Streets. It filled his basement and his neighbor’s. “I’ve been here 53 years and I’ve never had even five percent of what this is,” McMyne said.

The water had to go somewhere, neighbors tried unsuccessfully to sandbag their property. Down the road, crews worked to direct the water onto Seventh Avenue and Eighth Avenue, instead of letting it seep into every yard it could find. It tore up the road as it went but that’s better than the alternative, said Carbondale Mayor Justin Taylor. (Julie Sidoni, WNEP News)

[b]Schuylkill County [/b]- Schuylkill County was also under a flood warning Monday. In Tamaqua the rain made a mess of the community swimming pool.

Officials in Schuylkill County report nearly one-fourth of Schuylkill Haven was under water Wednesday morning. The water flowed out the front door of a supermarket in Schuylkill Haven on the side of town that has been inundated by the Little Schuylkill River. (Bob Reynolds, WNEP News)

A fifty-foot hole opened up early Wednesday morning along Route 924 between Frackville and Shenandoah. Two cars plunged into the hole. The people inside the cars were rescued and taken to the hospital. Following extraction of the vehicles, the PennDOT crew awaited the arrival of state mining officials, who were called to the scene to examine the hole to determine if a possible collapse of an underground mine shaft contributed to the cave-in. However, PennDOT crews on scene speculated that several consecutive days of unrelenting rainfall was the greatest contributor to the collapse of the roadway.

In the valley below the Route 924 sinkhole, the borough of Gilberton lay submerged under approximately five feet of water a fitting sight for a town that was once nicknamed “Duck Town”.

Mayor Mary Lou Hannon called a state of emergency in Gilberton Borough late Tuesday morning when the unrelenting rain overwhelmed the community’s storm drain and water pump systems.

By Wednesday morning, the Mahanoy Creek, which flows parallel to Railroad Street in Gilberton, overflowed its banks and plunged the community underwater.

An emergency shelter was established inside a community church that sits on higher ground at the eastern end of the borough while heavy equipment and volunteer workers from the nearby Reading Anthracite Coal Co. piled walls of dirt on the west side of Main Street, creating an artificial dam that officials hoped would hold the water back long enough to begin pumping floodwaters out of the streets. (MIA LIGHT, Standard Speaker)

U.S. Rep. T. Timothy Holden, state Sen. James J. Rhoades and state Rep. Neal P. Goodman surveyed some of the flooding damage in Schuylkill County on Wednesday afternoon.

The first stop on the legislators’ tour was Wade Road in Saint Clair to view a 30-by-35-foot sinkhole across from Tom’s Garage and Auto Sales.

C.J. Weber, chairman of the Saint Clair Sewer Authority, said the probable cause was an old mine running beneath the road. The wooden support beams of the mine were visible at the bottom of the orifice. On their way through Saint Claire, they discovered another smaller sinkhole, about 8 feet deep, that opened on Front Street.

The group then made its way to the Saint Clair Sewage Treatment Plant, which was not operational. The plant’s lower two levels were completely flooded.

The legislators also visited Port Carbon, one of the hardest-hit boroughs in the county, which experienced massive flooding and widespread power outages.

“I’ve never seen it this bad,” said Rhoades, R-29. (JOSH PARSONS, REPUBLICAN & Herald)

For more stories, live video and pictures please visit Channel 16 WNEP’s Website and look for the “Flood of 06”.

 

176 Trout catch makes decade’s dream a reality 2006-06-29 14:56:14

Scientist: Clear water was hiding deadly contamination

For 70 years, Paul Slusser lived along Catawissa Creek near Mainville, but he could never catch a fish in the stream, a friend recalls.

So about 10 years ago, Slusser visited the offices of the Columbia County Conservation District and asked how he could help get some trout back in the creek, said Mary Wagner.

Wagner, the district’s manager, says Slusser’s curiosity was the first trickle in what became a torrent of activity to clean the stream.

Slusser helped found the Catawissa Creek Restoration Association. He died in 1998.

But two months ago, another man made Slusser’s dream come true.

Leonardo Zanolini, 73, dropped his line into the creek just downstream of the Zion Grove Bridge and came out with four native brook trout, he says.

They were all longer than 10 inches, he said. By their pink meat, he could tell they were not stocked fish. Farm-grown fish are gray inside, he said.

Zanolini was celebrated Saturday for his significant catch. He has lived near Zion Grove for five years, and he knew Catawissa Creek was barren of fish.

But he wanted to play around on the first day of trout season, he says, so he took a chance.

When he came home with his catch, his wife, Barbara Zanolini, 76, rolled the fish in flour and butter and fried them.

“They were good,” Mr. Zanolini says, smiling.

[b]Swimming-pool clear[/b]

The creek does not look like a polluted mess.

For years, people have remarked on how clear the creek’s water is, like a pool, says Chuck Henry, a Beaver Township supervisor and a director of the restoration group.

But that clear water belied the stream’s pollution, noted Steven T. Rier, a Bloomsburg University professor studying the creek.

The lack of muck meant nothing could survive in the acid water, said Rier, who serves in the department of biological and allied health sciences.

“It looked great,” Rier said. “But there was very little living in it.”

Rier, graduate student Jennifer Biddinger and undergraduate Roger Skull have started to look at the creek’s water to track its cleanup.

They want to see how the stream will handle nutrients now that it is being cleaned.

Rier will not consider fish in his study. But Wytovich and Wagner hope to start a fish count to see if those numbers go up.

[b]Filled with nutrients[/b]

Nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous are bad for bodies of water, Rier explained. And they hit the Chesapeake Bay especially hard. That is where the creek’s waters end up after a trip through the Susquehanna River.

Healthy streams keep a balance of nutrients, Rier said. The stream’s plants and animals break those down before the nutrients get to larger waters, he said.

Until recently, Catawissa Creek had been passing along all of its nutrients, he said.

It is still too early to see changes, but Rier believes that the stream will start to hold on to the nutrients.

The acidity of the water also made it impossible for micro-organisms to live, Rier explained. Those tiny plants and animals form the bottom of the food chain, so animals bigger than them, like insects and fish, had nothing to eat.

That seems to be changing.

[b]Can of worms [/b]

Supervisor Henry and his brother-in-law, Arnold Halye, say people have spotted trout, smallmouth bass and crawfish below the bridge outside Shumantown.

At Saturday’s dedication of an acid runoff treatment system, several officials invoked the image of droves of fishermen seeking out the creek.

Now that the creek’s prospects look good, they say, it opens a can of worms, say Henry and Halye. But they are so optimistic about the creek’s recovery, that they’re already banking on plenty of visitors.

They say the restoration group is trying to get small parking areas *enough for three or four cars * installed on private property along the entire creek. That will allow small groups to fish at many spots, they say.

They want to avoid the impact of large groups gathering at a few places, they said.

By Ben Timberlake

______________________________

Ben Timberlake

Staff Writer, Press Enterprise

ben.t@pressenterprise.net

phone: 570-752-3646

www.pressenterpriseonline.com

 

175 Adenried Treatment System Dedication in the Catawissa Watershed 2006-06-29 14:39:04

By BEN TIMBERLAKE

Press Enterprise Writer

Edited by Michael Hewitt

EPCAMR Watershed Outreach Coordinator

SHEPPTON * Trout and other fish are coming back to acid-polluted Catawissa Creek, thanks to the efforts of residents and a novel cleaning system for mine drainage.

Citizen groups and government agencies teamed up to create a large-scale filter that cleans aluminum out of water draining from an abandoned mine shaft here in Schuylkill County’s East Union Township.

The result is the biggest system of its kind in the state, and perhaps in

the country, says the project’s manager.

The filter at the Audenreid Tunnel is special because it requires little

maintenance, said Clayton Bubeck of Lancaster-based engineering firm Rettew.

Organizers knew they could get money to build the thing, but that it would

be harder to pay for operations, he explained.

The project cost about $2.2 million, funded mostly with state and federal

tax dollars.

No one needs to be on the site every day, Bubeck said. Someone has to visit the site at least once a month.

More than 80 people showed up to see the new system dedicated Saturday afternoon.

Dating from the 1930s, the Audenreid Tunnel now drains water from three former coal mines. For its entire history, it has leaked acidic water into Catawissa and Tomhicken creeks.

[b]A giant filter [/b]

Here is how Bubeck and Ed Wytovich, president of the Catawissa Creek

Restoration Association, describe the system:

Water from the mine runs into a set of pipes at the tunnel’s mouth. The

pipes are covered with loose rocks to keep debris like leaves and twigs from clogging the system.

The water runs to three concrete tanks set in a row. Each one is 120 feet

across and 12 feet deep. Each holds 1 million gallons.

But about half of their volume is taken up by egg-sized limestone rocks.

Piled 10 feet high, there are 4,500 tons of the rock, or about 200 trailers

worth, in each tank.

The water comes up through pipes laid at the bottom of each tank and percolates through the rocks.

The limestone oxidizes the water, which turns the aluminum into a solid.

That turns the mixture into a suspension. And that makes it possible for the aluminum to be separated from the water.

[b]Antacid tablet [/b]

Most of the water drains from the tops of the tanks down shallow spillways into the first of two ponds.

The rocks along the spillways are coated with white deposits of the aluminum hydroxide.

The water moves from the first to the second pond. In both bodies, the water slows long enough to drop the aluminum to the bottom.

The clean water runs down a final spillway and into Catawissa Creek.

The process is kind of like giving the creek an antacid tablet, says

Ed Wytovich, President of the Catawissa Creek Restoration Association, who is also an eighth-grade science teacher in the Upper Dauphin Area School District. Or, he agrees, it could also be compared to a filter in a water pitcher.

[b]’Rebirth’ [/b]

Catawissa Creek flows 36 miles, starting in Luzerne County’s Hazle Township. It rolls into Schuylkill County through East Union Township and along the border with Union Township.

It bends north into North Union Township, then crosses into Columbia County, continuing through Beaver and Main Townships. It runs through Catawissa and empties into the Susquehanna River.

Wytovich says the Audenreid treatment system marks a “rebirth” of the

creek’s watershed.

But the cleanup effort started modestly, Mary Wagner, Columbia County Conservation District Manager, recalls . In 1999, she and about 30 other people shoveled limestone from the Brandonville Bridge into the creek.

[b]More tunnels [/b]

The Audenreid Tunnel is the largest mine drainage in the creek’s

152-square-mile watershed.

About 9,000 gallons of water leaves the system each minute. That rate can get as high as 15,000 gallons, or about two tractor-trailers full.

About 15 million gallons will pass through the system each day, Bubeck said.

When the Audenreid Tunnel runoff joins the stream, it accounts for about

two-thirds of the creek’s water.

Water from the smaller Oneida Tunnel near Eagle Rock is already being

treated.

The conservation district and restoration group aims to work on another

three tunnels in the next few years, Wagner said.

Those five sources account for 80 percent of the creek’s pollution, she

added.

[b]Neutralized [/b]

When the water leaves the mine, it is very acidic, with a pH level of 3.8.

The pH scale measures whether something is acidic or alkaline. Neutral *neither acidic nor alkaline * is a 7 on the pH scale.

When the water leaves the treatment system, it has a pH of 5.

Bubeck and Wytovich hope to add more limestone to the tanks to get the pH as high as 6.5.

That will cost another $100,000, Wytovich said.

And new limestone will have to be added from time to time, Bubeck noted. The material dissolves at about 600 tons per year as it neutralizes the water, Wytovich said.

[b]Brown cloud [/b]

Wytovich says the tanks should be flushed weekly. He hopes to get an

automated system. But for now, to open one of two valves on each tank, it

takes 150 labored turns of a rod the size of a steering wheel.

When those open, the water drains through pipes at the base of the tanks, then into the pond.

A brown cloud spreads from an outflow pipe into the pond, which has a

turquoise color.

That comes from the aluminum hydroxide, as the water drops to the bottom of the ponds.

The question remains what do with those deposits, Wytovich acknowledged. But that problem is a few years away, he said.

Manure storage retooled

There was not much space in which to build the system, Bubeck notes. The site is hemmed in by a mountain, a protected swamp, the stream itself and an underground high-pressure gas line.

In similar systems, the treatment area would be a broad pond with shallow banks, Bubeck said. That could be built more cheaply.

Don Murray, an engineer with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, had the idea of using steep tanks that are more often used to store manure on dairy farms.

Ben Timberlake can be reached at 752-3646 or at ben.t@pressenterprise.net.

 

174 Susquehanna River Conference to be hosted by Bucknell University 2006-06-29 14:14:00

Conservation Districts in the Upper Susquehanna Watershed:

You are invited to participate in a daylong conference on the Upper Susquehanna Watershed (upstream from Selinsgrove) and its communities that will be held on September 23, 2006 at Bucknell University. This conference is being planned by the new Bucknell University Environmental Center and the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies, which includes colleges and universities in the region, Geisinger Medical Center, and representatives from local nonprofit and government agencies.

The purposes of the conference are to discuss the components that should go into an annual State of the River report, showcase key initiatives, and promote further collaboration between area universities, government agencies and nonprofit organizations to improve the health of the watershed and its communities.

Each session will feature short presentations, with the bulk of the time devoted to discussion. A reception and poster viewing session will provide additional opportunities for the exchange of information on specific initiatives. We encourage you to consider presenting a poster.

A conference program and registration form are below. We would like to receive registration forms by June 30, 2006.

Regards,

Hannah Holm

Conference Coordinator

hholm@bucknell.edu

570-523-4912

CONFERENCE PROGRAM

7:30AM – CONTINENTAL BREAKFAST AND COFFEE AVAILABLE

I 8AM – Opening Event

Welcome and introduction by representatives of Bucknell University and Geisinger Health System

Keynote Address by Will Baker, President, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

II 9:00AM – Introduction

Goals for the conference, presented by Skip Wieder, Geisinger Health System and Convener of the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies:

Define the route to a regular “State of the River” report.

Establish communication links between the participants to improve both our understanding of all dimensions of the State of the River and the State of the River itself.

Establish working groups to follow up on ideas generated through this conference.

III 9:15AM – Environmental Science on the River – Moderator: Matt McTammany, Bucknell Biologist

Presentations followed by discussion to set an agenda for further research.

North Branch-fishes and other environmental indicators (Brian Mangan, King’s College Biologist)

West Branch,implications of key pieces of data from monitoring projects (Mel Zimmerman, Lycoming Biologist)

Emerging data on link between acid mine drainage and nutrient processing (Steven Rier, Bloomsburg Biologist)

IV 11:00AM – Environmental Protection and Restoration – Moderator: Renee Carey, Northcentral PA Conservancy

Presentations followed by discussion to set an agenda for further initiatives.

Physical behaviors of streams that pose challenges for restoration (Craig Kochel, Bucknell Geologist)

State government regulations and work with watershed groups (Joan Sattler, PA Dept. of Env. Protection)

Stormwater management on a watershed basis (David Heicher, Susquehanna River Basin Commission)

How private funders are promoting restoration (John Dawes, Western PA Watershed Program)

V Lunch with Keynote Address by Ann Swanson, Executive Director, Chesapeake Bay Commission

VI 2:00PM – Connections between the River and Community Vibrancy – Moderator: Bob Hormell, SEDA-COG

Presentations followed by discussion on additional work needed to understand the community-river connection.

Economic development impacts of waterfront restoration: focus on Williamsport (Jerry Walls, Lycoming Co Planning Director)

Community design considerations in relating to the river: focus on Selinsgrove (Caru Bowns, Penn State Landscape Architect)

Using the river to enhance quality of life (Brian Auman, SEDA-COG and Susquehanna Greenways)

Historical context of river-town relations (Ben Marsh, Bucknell University Geographer)

VII 3:45PM – Environmental Humanities in the River Basin – Moderator: Alf Siewers, Bucknell English Professor

Presentations followed by discussion to set an agenda for further scholarship.

Humanities scholarship in Centralia and Selinsgrove (Ed Slavishak or Karol Weaver, Susq Univ Historians)

Early contact between Europeans and North Americans (Katie Faull, Bucknell German/ Humanities Professor)

The Susquehanna’s role in the Underground Railroad (Scott Duncan, SEDA-COG)

Planned Humanities Journal on the Susquehanna (Jerry Wemple, Bloomsburg English Professor)

VIII 5:15PM – Concluding Remarks by Peter Wilshusen and Craig Kochel, Bucknell Environmental Ctr Directors

5:30PM , RECEPTION, POSTER VIEWING AND POETRY READING

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

PLEASE SUBMIT BY JUNE 30, 2006

Contact Information

Name:

Title:

Organization:

Email address:

Phone number:

Mailing Address:

Poster Information

Poster topic:

Equipment requests:

Meal Requests

A continental breakfast, snacks, and a sit-down lunch will be provided. Please list below any dietary restrictions or requests.

Lodging/ Questions

If you need information on lodging, please contact Kim DiRocco (see contact information below). If you have other questions about the conference, please contact Hannah Holm at hholm@bucknell.edu.

Registration

Please mail this form, with your $10 registration fee (waived for presenters and students; checks payable to Bucknell University Environmental Center), by June 30, 2006 to:

Kim DiRocco , Conference Registration

Environmental Studies Program/ GEOGR

Bucknell University

Lewisburg, PA 17837

email: dirocco@bucknell.edu

phone: (570) 577-1421

 

173 Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Team comes to Penn State Wilkes-Barre 2006-06-19 14:27:33

LEHMAN TWP. , There is only one problem greater than the poverty plaguing the 13 states comprising the Appalachia region , acid mine drainage.

Dr. T. Allan Comp, director of the federal Office of Surface Mining/VISTA, joined 35 representatives of watershed groups from six states for the Appalachian Coal Country Watershed Training Initiative at Penn State Wilkes-Barre last week. The three-day meeting focused on efforts to improve reclamation work on mine lands throughout the eastern U.S.

Comp said such work is critical not only because acid mine drainage is the greatest problem, but also the central core of Appalachia, a region ranging from Pennsylvania to Alabama, is the most damaged ecosystem in the country.

“When it comes to past mining practices, we as a nation celebrated what we were doing then,” Comp said. “In the 1970s, that changed and we began to regulate mining. It’s better now and the watershed groups are increasing to more than 800 across the region. It’s really encouraging.”

The three-day training focused on grant writing, monitoring watershed health, education and outreach and economic redevelopment.

Although the Appalachia region is scarred with different mining techniques, the same problem persists throughout all the states.

As a result, similar remediation techniques can be applied throughout the region, making last week’s conference a vital tool.

“We’re all doing the same work, just in different locales,” said Bruce Golden, regional director of the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation. “Within coal country, a lot of our needs are common. This training allows us to share what works so we’re not re-inventing the wheel.”

Comp said much of the training can be used to facilitate efforts of local watershed groups working to clean up streams from past mining practices. One crucial component, he said, is grant writing.

“We need to strengthen the capacity of local watershed groups to raise money to accomplish their goals,” Comp said. “The programs and the grants are intertwined.”

The event was organized by Robert Hughes, regional director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation. Hughes said the work of EPCAMR partnering with OSM to fund mine reclamation projects was a major reason why the annual training was held in the area.

tvenesky@citizensvoice.com

 

172 Senator pushes bill for abandoned mines 2006-06-19 11:15:40

By Brian Bowling

TRIBUNE-REVIEW

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Proponents for speeding up the elimination of Pennsylvania’s abandoned mine lands hope a new proposal can go where no previous one has gone — to the House and Senate floors.

A bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn Hills, could triple the federal money the state receives to clean up abandoned mines from $20 million to $50 million to $60 million annually.

Fixing the abandoned mines that pose the highest public health and safety risks would cost more than $1 billion, state officials say. The extra money could allow for those high-risk mines to be repaired in about 16 years.

Without it, “None of us will be here to see the end of our abandoned mine land problem,” Scott Roberts, deputy secretary of the state Department of Environmental Protection, said Friday at a news conference outside Heinz Field on the North Shore.

Old mining sites represent Pennsylvania’s biggest environmental problem both in terms of their impact and the cost of cleaning them up, Roberts said.

Bills similar to Santorum’s have languished in the U.S. House and Senate in recent years, mainly because western state Republicans have opposed attempts to shift abandoned mine land money from the West to the East.

The money now is divided among states according to their current annual coal production, giving Western states an edge because they mine more coal. Santorum’s bill would split the money based on states’ historic coal production.

Eastern states argue they should receive a larger share of the money because most of the nation’s abandoned mine lands are east of the Mississippi River.

Neither western Republican senators nor members of either party on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee have signed off on the bill. The two Republican senators from Wyoming — Craig Thomas and Michael Enzi — have vehemently opposed previous attempts to shift abandoned mine money from the West to the East.

Santorum is talking with House and Senate leaders about inserting his proposal into a pension bill due for a final vote in the next month. Enzi is on the committee that’s working out a House-Senate compromise on the bill. So far, he hasn’t agreed to Santorum’s proposal.

“That’s just something we’re going to have to work through,” Santorum said.

Brian Bowling can be reached at bbowling@tribweb.com or (412) 320-7910.

 

171 Senator Santorum Advocates Bipartisan Environmental Legislation 2006-06-19 11:00:40

Senate Bill will bring $1 Billion to Pennsylvania for Environmental Clean-Up Efforts Pennsylvania mining industry, labor unions and environmental conservation organizations rally together in Pittsburgh

June 16, 2006

Pittsburgh, PA , U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today hosted a press conference on the North Shore to discuss his legislation S.2616, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act Amendments of 2006. The bill will deliver an unprecedented $1 billion to Pennsylvania alone over sixteen years to clean up abandoned mine land (AML) sites. AML sites may consist of one or more of the following features: abandoned strip mines; spoil piles, mine entries; and mine shafts.

In Allegheny County alone there are 4,514 acres of abandoned mine lands. In the surrounding counties of Beaver, Butler, Westmoreland, Washington and Fayette there are 25,193 acres of abandoned mine lands, and statewide there is a total of more than 184,000 acres of abandoned mine lands and 4,000 miles of biologically dead rivers and streams due to mine pollution. It is estimated that 1.4 million Pennsylvanians live within one mile of an AML site.

“I cannot emphasize the importance of this legislation to Pennsylvania. Today we stand on the North Shore and look out at Point State Park and we can see the progress that has been made due to cleanup and land reclamation funding. This is just a sample of what we hope to see in the hundred of communities and thousands of acres across our state,” said Senator Santorum. “This bill will bring an unprecedented amount of funding to Pennsylvania and will sustain multi-year planning for abandoned mine land cleanup. It will also help to create local jobs that will stay in Pennsylvania.”

This bill will also pay for healthcare costs of orphan mine workers. Due to a decline in the number of employers contributing to the healthcare plans of orphan beneficiaries (employees from mine companies that have folded or declared bankruptcy), the current structure for financing these benefits is no longer sustainable.

S.2616 has the support of bipartisan cosponsors including Senators Arlen Specter (R-PA), Robert Byrd (D-WV), John Rockefeller (D-WV), Kent Conrad (D-ND), Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) and Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Thad Cochran (R-MS). Senator Santorum is hopeful that bringing attention to this legislation now will help bolster more bipartisan support from other states.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Senator Santorum and Senator Specter, and Senators Rockefeller and Byrd from West Virginia for their diligent effort in supporting and leading the charge in introducing Senate bill 2616,” said Matt Miller, Special Assistant to the International Vice President of District II United Mine Workers of America, Ed Yankovich. “The Congress of these United States needs to pass this legislation as soon as possible and honor its commitment made by President Harry S. Truman in 1946, which guarantees lifetime health benefits to the retirees of the United Mine Workers of America.”

“Pennsylvania, more than any state in America, urgently needs Congress to enact the AML Program reauthorization bill that Senators Santorum and Specter are sponsoring,” said John Dawes, Chairman of the Pennsylvania Abandoned Mine Lands Campaign. “On behalf of hundreds of coalfield communities and watershed groups, I’d like to thank our Senators, because at a time when Congress was on a fast track to pass a bill that would have really hurt Pennsylvania, Senators Santorum and Specter persuaded Senate leadership to support a much better approach that will deliver more than a billion dollars in guaranteed minimum funding to Pennsylvania, so we can really get the worst of the abandoned mine damage cleaned up.”

Senator Santorum’s legislation brings together a unique cooperation between the Pennsylvania coal industry, coalfield communities, environmental conservation organizations and mine workers. Scott Roberts of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection; John Dawes, Chairman of the Pennsylvania AML Campaign; Dennis McGrath, President/CEO of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and Matt Miller, United Mine Workers Special Asst. to Vice President Ed Yankovich all offered remarks at the press conference in support of the legislation.

The following organizations have also expressed support for S.2616: Western PA Watershed Program; Western PA Conservancy; Pennsylvania Environmental Council; Alleghenies Watershed Network; The Community Foundation; Western PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation; Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned; Mine Reclamation; Audubon Society; Watershed Assistance Center; Mountain Watershed Association; Bio-Most; PA Association for Conservation Districts; Stream Restoration Inc.; Independence Marsh Foundation; Federation of PA Sportsmen; Allegheny Land Trust; The Stream Team; Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation; Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP); United Mine Workers; PA Trout Unlimited; POWR–Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers; and Hedin Environmental.

Jeanne Clark

Director of Communications

Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture)

412-258-6683 (direct dial)

412-736-6092 (cell)

www.pennfuture.org

 

169 West Side Vo-Tech students’ mine project lauded 2006-05-30 16:51:43

Kids boost the educational programs on reclamation of mines, says group’s leader.

BY JANINE UNGVARSKY Times Leader Correspondent

PRINGLE — Metal shop students at the West Side Area Vocational-Technical School received recognition for their part in an innovative project to recycle iron oxide in mine water run off into chalk.

Robert E. Hughes, Regional Coordinator for the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, presented a plaque to the students at the school’s joint operating committee meeting Monday.

He displayed the 20 cavity aluminum mold designed and crafted by the students and explained how it is filled with iron oxide recovered from mine runoff, plaster of Paris and water to create chalk as part of educational programs on mine reclamation and conservation. The mold was designed to etch the coalition’s acronym in each piece of chalk, so it serves as an advertisement for the nonprofit group, Hughes said. He called the metal shop students’ skills “invaluable” to the coalition’s educational efforts. …

 

168 Lawmakers try to solve mine-cleanup dilemma 2006-04-21 13:22:13

By MIKE FAHER

THE TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT (Johnstown, Pa.)

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. , When it comes to a long-standing debate about federal mine-cleanup money, Pennsylvania’s U.S. senators think they have a solution.

Others are not so sure.

Sens. Rick Santorum, R-Pittsburgh, and Arlen Specter, R-Philadelphia, have introduced legislation aimed at reauthorizing the Abandoned Mine Land fund for 15 years.

The bill would increase Pennsylvania’s cleanup money to more than $1 billion during that time, nearly tripling annual allocations for a state that leads the nation in abandoned-mine problems.

“The bill ensures that reclamation fees collected from coal companies would be distributed to the states that have the most abandoned-mine sites,” Santorum spokesman Robert Traynham said.

In a statement, Specter said the bill “proposes a comprehensive reform of the AML program that will secure funding for abandoned-mine reclamation.”

It is clear that the legislation finally would lend some stability to a vital program that is in danger of expiring.

Conservationists have no problem with that, and they laud the senators for listening to their concerns. But they balk at some provisions, including one that would reduce coal-company fees that support the AML fund.

“There’s definitely plenty of room for improvement in the bill,” said Stephen Rogness of PennEnvironment, a Harrisburg, Pa., environmental advocacy group. “We should not be reducing the fees.”

There are no guarantees that the Specter-Santorum effort ultimately will provide the answer to the ongoing AML program debate. The bill could undergo modifications, or it may stall.

That is what happened last year to two competing proposals in the U.S. House of Representatives.

U.S. Rep. John Peterson, a Republican based in Pennsylvania’s Venango County, wanted to steer more mine-cleanup money to states that need it most.

But U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin, R-Wyoming, argued that her state is owed more than $400 million from the fund. And she said Peterson’s bill unfairly penalized Wyoming, since mine operators there pay more AML fees than those in any other state.

While the two sides came close to a compromise in the fall, the deal fell apart.

*************************************** About the bill

The following are highlights of a U.S. Senate bill reauthorizing the Abandoned Mine Land Program, which collects money from coal companies and redistributes it for mine cleanup:

– Extends the fund for 15 years.

– Sends more than $1 billion in cleanup funds to Pennsylvania during 15 years.

– Maintains a provision mandating that 50 percent of fees collected from coal companies must return to the state where the money was generated.

– Taps into a federal mineral-leasing fund to supply the AML program with extra cash.

– Gradually decreases fees paid by coal companies. By 2012, those charges will fall from 35 cents to 28 cents for each ton of surface-mined coal and from 15 cents to 12 cents per ton for underground mines.

Stephen Rogness

Legislative Associate

PennEnvironment

1015 N Front St Suite A

Harrisburg, PA 17102

(717) 230-9710

srogness@pennenvironment.org

 

167 Abandoned-mine discharge threatens trout stream 2006-04-21 13:07:32

By KIRK SWAUGER

CNHI News Service

FORWARDSTOWN, Gov. Ed Rendell has issued an emergency contract for the cleanup of an abandoned-mine discharge that threatens a high-quality trout stream near the Ferndale Sportsmen’s Club, Jenner Township.

Rendell ordered the bankrupt mining company responsible for the discharge to forfeit $388,000 in bonds. Yet, state officials concede, it is enough to treat the problem at the south fork of the Benscreek for only about 18 months.

“Local outdoor and watershed groups have sacrificed their time and energy to protect Benscreek and clean up the abandoned-mine problems that have plagued the Conemaugh and its tributaries,” Rendell said in a statement Tuesday.

“We cannot allow Lion Mining’s bankruptcy to destroy all this hard work.”

The state’s district mining office in Ebensburg has issued an emergency contract to Chemstream Inc. of Boswell to continue draining the mine pool and treating the discharge.

“The continuation of that system is a major factor to the health of the Benscreek and downstream into the Stonycreek,” said Len Lichvar, chairman of the Stonycreek-Conemaugh River Improvement Project, commonly called SCRIP.

“If it’s not maintained in perpetuity, we will be looking at a serious water-quality issue in the Benscreek.”

Lion Mining operated the Grove No. 1 mine in Jenner Township for a decade before filing for bankruptcy protection in 1997.

Four years later, local residents notified the state Department of Environmental Protection about the orangish, highly acidic discharge into the creek.

State officials said an investigation determined Lion Mining and its subcontractors had allowed the mine pool to exceed the 1,700-foot elevation called for in the company’s mining permit.

In 2002, the state ordered the company to lower the elevation and begin treating the discharge. Lion Mining built a treatment facility that adds sodium hydroxide to neutralize the discharge and separate the iron in settling ponds.

But the state said the company completely abandoned the site at the end of last year, stopping all treatment and allowing the mine pool to rise once again.

“Our Cambria District Mining Office has moved quickly to provide continued treatment of the discharge and they are working to find a long-term solution that will maintain the recreational value of the Benscreek at no cost to the taxpayers,” DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty said in a statement.

The Grove No. 1 Mine portal is being reclaimed by Amfire Mining Inc. of Latrobe through a remining permit, state officials said. The permit allows the forfeited reclamation bond to be used to continue treatment.

Officials said the state is reviewing several potential long-term solutions, including arranging with the landowner, Outdoor Odyssey, to construct a larger treatment system and reissuing the remining permit to another coal company.

“That bond is going to take care of it for the short term, but they’re trying to find a long-term solution,” said state Rep. Bob Bastian, R-Somerset. He has been working with sportsmen’s groups on the issue for four years.

Lichvar said he is concerned the forfeited bonds will not be sufficient to maintain treatment beyond next year.

“The funding is a question mark,” he said.

Kirk Swauger can be reached at 445-5103 or kswauger@tribdem.com.

Copyright © 1999-2006 cnhi, inc.

 

A Jenner Township facility treats water discharged from an abandoned mine that was operated by Lion Mining until 1997, when the company filed for bankruptcy protection. John Rucosky The Tribune-Democrat

165 Don’t abandon mine cleanup efforts 2006-04-11 16:00:00

Sunday, April 09, 2006

BY JOHN DAWES

Spring has arrived, with brighter sunshine, trees in bud and crocuses and daffodils starting to bloom. Pennsylvania families are starting to throw off their coats and enjoy being outdoors.

But spring is also the beginning of the season of death and injury in Pennsylvania — thanks to our dangerous legacy of abandoned mines in 47 of the commonwealth’s 67 counties. Each year, children and adults fall from dangerous high walls, drown in pools of acid-contaminated water and tumble down exposed mine shafts, many of them full of toxic fumes.

It’s time to end this terrible legacy. And our congressional delegation holds the power to do it.

Right now, Pennsylvania cannot afford to be abandoned by our elected officials and the federal government. We can’t let that happen.

Pennsylvania’s natural resources and labor have fueled America from the industrial age to the present. The state’s citizens mined the coal and manufactured the steel, aluminum, glass and other products that made the rise of our nation as the global leader possible.

But those contributions — particularly from coal — also left an enormous problem. Too often, coal companies, which were unregulated until 1977, failed to clean up the pollution they caused or failed to provide for future problems caused by their work, simply leaving the damage behind. As a result, Pennsylvania is scarred with more abandoned mine sites than any other state.

These abandoned lands not only create hazardous and unsightly scars on our land; the pollution destroys many of our streams and rivers and prevents Pennsylvania from competing for 21st century jobs and investment.

The Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, an interest-accruing account held by the Office of Surface Mining of the U.S. Department of Interior, was created in 1977 to fund cleanup of these sites. Income to the fund comes from a fee on current coal operations, and the money is funneled back to coal mining states to support land recovery.

The fund expired in 2004, but operates under continuing resolutions. It’s time, though, to end the stopgap measures — permanent reauthorization of the fund and proper allocation of the money must happen immediately to protect Pennsylvania’s public health, environment and economy.

In 2004, then U.S. Secretary of Interior Gale Norton estimated that at least 35 deaths and 19 injuries at abandoned mine sites have occurred just in the anthracite mine region of Pennsylvanian over the past 30 years. Today, more than 1.4 million Pennsylvanians live within a mile of an abandoned mine land site. That’s far too many families with their lives at stake. We must clean up these sites as fast as possible.

Although Pennsylvania leads the nation in developing and implementing strategies to clean up abandoned mine lands, the enormity of the problem is staggering. And the problem is growing. In southwestern counties along the Monongahela River, orphaned mines are filling with highly polluted acid water, which will soon break out and discharge into the river and its tributaries. It will damage fishing, drinking water supplies and general water quality on the Monongahela to the Ohio River and beyond.

But despite the enormity of the problem, Congress has been slow to take action. In fact, some congressional proposals for reauthorization of the fund even call for a decrease in both the amount of money collected and the amount allocated to Pennsylvania. States with active coal mining but little legacy of problems are attempting to hijack the money and use it for other needs.

We must make securing the money a top priority; the health, environment and economy of Pennsylvanians are on the line. The fund must be reauthorized, with increases in both the collections generally and in the allocation to Pennsylvania specifically. It is only fair to Pennsylvania — and our contributions to the nation’s growth — to clean up our industrial legacy. And it just makes good sense that the money collected for cleanup should go to where there is a need for cleanup, regardless of where the money comes from.

It’s time for real leadership. Local municipalities and counties, public health and environmental leaders and economic development groups are all calling for Gov. Ed Rendell, U.S. Sens. Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter and our members of Congress to bring these vital cleanup funds home to the Keystone State. Our Congressional delegation must make reauthorization of the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund a top priority in this session of Congress.

We cannot let Pennsylvania be abandoned.

©2006 The Patriot-News

© 2006 PennLive.com All Rights Reserved.

 

164 Clinton Commissioners back increase in mine reclamation activity, funding 2006-04-11 16:09:12

By JIM RUNKLE – jrunkle@lockhaven.com

LOCK HAVEN , The Clinton County commissioners received the heartfelt thanks of a regional environmental group Thursday for their recent support of a resolution to increase fees on coal companies to feed future mine reclamation activities.

A spokesman for the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Josh First, lauded the commissioners for their stand on the issue.

First said the refunding and reauthorization of the mine reclamation fund has become a yearly effort just to extend the act, mostly because the process has become mired in some hefty partisan politics.

First suggested a couple of strange bedfellows , the United Mineworkers Union and the coal companies , have tried to stifle any steps toward a more permanent solution.

He also lauded local U.S. Rep. John Peterson, R-Pleasantville, with leading the charge at reauthorization, although he said the assemblyman has been focused on other issues, of late.

And he offered some kind words for Sen. Rick Santorum for acting as a bridge between the disparate groups struggling over the exact wording of the law.

“We learned yesterday at 4:30 p.m. that the Senate and House have granted a third extension of the current law, until June of 2007,” First said.

The collection of fees on mined coal are applied to the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, which is has been extended twice before as a less controversial option than full reauthorization, First said.

“It’s been a political slugfest,” he added.

The comments were part of a presentation by EPCAMR representatives Michael Hewitt and Robert Hughes, who highlighted the benefits of a recently created, massive, statewide “Breaks the Code” computer database of mining information.

The information, compiled and correlated by EPCAMR from government documents, is designed to compare, contrasts and retain data on abandoned mines, cleanup activities, costs and priorities in Pennsylvania, allowing it to become a valuable tool for organizations concerned about issues like acid mine drainage and mine subsidence.

The ArcView-based database allows the information to be “layered” so that when specifically mapped sites are examined, information on that site is also accessed.

A file on a mine reclamation project in a specific community, for example, would allow the user to view the status of the site whether reclaimed or not reclaimed, financial reports on the costs of the cleanup, the priority value of a site and the physical characteristics of the site itself.

According to Hughes, the resulting maps give viewers an overhead look at the problems, accurately represents the current status of the project, and incorporates information gathered by state inspectors.

The reauthorization of the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) program should speed up the reclamation of thousands of hazardous abandoned coal mines across the country, officials said.

Abandoned mines are commonplace throughout Appalachia, particularly in states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia where the majority of America’s coal was mined throughout the industrial revolution and two world wars.

Under the current AML program, mine reclamation dollars are raised through a per-ton fee on coal and are allocated to states based on their current level of coal production.

That presents a problem, officials said. State’s like Wyoming which only recently began mining coal as the industry moved west have no abandoned mine problems, so that state uses the millions of dollars they receive from the AML program for construction, road paving and other miscellaneous projects.

At the same time, states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia are still decades away from completing reclamation work on thousands of hazardous abandoned coal mines, First said.

 

163 GOVERNOR RENDELL AWARDS $1.6 MILLION TO RECLAIM ABANDONED MINE IN LUZERNE COUNTY 2006-04-03 17:20:34

Project Will Seal Mine Entries, Eliminate Hazardous Cliffs

HARRISBURG — March 28, 2006 – Governor Edward G. Rendell today awarded $1.6 million to eliminate dangerous cliffs, seal mine entries and vegetate 128 acres of abandoned mine lands in Jenkins Township, Luzerne County.

“Coal has long been a cornerstone of Pennsylvania’s economy, but unregulated mining practices of the past have left our communities with large tracts of unstable land that endanger our residents and inhibit investment and economic development,” Governor Rendell said. “We need to work with business and local leaders to use available state and federal funding to heal these scars and create new opportunities for our former mining communities.”

The Jenkins Township site originally was an underground mine that was abandoned by an unknown operator in the early 1900s. Kaminski Brothers Coal Co. conducted extensive surface mining operations during the 1950s, creating several large pits, before abandoning the site prior to the passage of modern mining regulations in Pennsylvania.

The reclamation project involves grading and backfilling approximately 6,700 linear feet of dangerous highwall using 901,700 cubic yards of on-site material. The contractor also will fill seven vertical mine openings and construct rock-lined drainage ditches to control erosion and stormwater runoff from the site.

The entire 128-acre site will be planted with grasses formulated to grow on abandoned mine lands. Work will begin in late March and take one year to complete.

The $1.6 million reclamation contract was awarded to Russell Postupack Culm Corp. Inc. of McAdoo, Schuylkill County. Funding for the project comes from the federal Abandoned Mine Lands Fund, which is supported by a tax on every ton of coal mined by the active coal-mining industry.

“Mine reclamation not only eliminates serious public health and environmental risks, but it also makes communities more attractive for economic development,” Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty said during a tour of the site with local officials.

“This is tremendously important for our commonwealth, and it promises to transform many of our coal communities into thriving commercial districts again,” McGinty said. “All of the work being done in this region demonstrates how working together can amplify efforts to address pressing environmental issues and revitalize local economies.”

The work site is adjacent to a recently completed 38-acre abandoned mine reclamation project on New Boston Road in Jenkins Township. That $364,777 project eliminated 780 linear feet of dangerous highwalls and three subsidence features, and sealed seven mine openings. Bat gates were installed on two remaining mine entries. In order to prepare the land for future economic development, the property owner, Mericle Inc., compacted backfill material in coordination with reclamation and grading operations.

Governor Rendell has been a leader in the fight to ensure that the U.S. Congress reauthorizes the federal mine reclamation fund and that the state secures its fair share. A reauthorization plan put before Congress last session would have increased Pennsylvania’s share to $35 million annually from $24 million per year. The fund, which would have expired at the end of September, has been extended to June 2006.

Pennsylvania has the largest abandoned mine lands problem in the country, with more than 180,000 acres of unmarked shafts, unstable cliffs, water-filled pits and abandoned equipment and explosives left over from when mining was largely unregulated prior to 1977.

Governor Rendell’s $625 million Growing Greener II initiative provides significant funding to address a vast array of environmental and public health problems at abandoned mine sites in Pennsylvania. The voter-approved program allocates $60 million to clean up rivers and streams affected by abandoned acid mine drainage and reclaim abandoned mine lands scarred by dangerous highwalls, mine openings and water-filled pits.

For more information on abandoned mine lands reclamation in Pennsylvania, visit DEP’s Web site at www.depweb.state.pa.us, Keyword: “Abandoned Mines.”

 

162 GOVERNOR AWARDS $5.4 MILLION TO RECLAIM ABANDONED MINE, ENCOURAGE ECONOMY 2006-04-03 17:17:44

Project Will Fill Pits, Eliminate Hazardous Cliffs Near School in Carbondale

HARRISBURG — March 29, 2006 – Governor Edward G. Rendell today awarded a $5.4 million contract to eliminate dangerous cliffs, fill large strip pits and vegetate 235 acres of abandoned mine lands in Carbondale, Lackawanna County. The work will remove public safety hazards, improve water quality and prepare the area for continued economic development.

“Abandoned mine lands endanger our children, pollute our rivers and place our former mining communities at a competitive disadvantage in today’s marketplace,” Governor Rendell said. “Pennsylvania is blessed with mineral resources that have helped to fuel America’s economy for more than 200 years. But that blessing can be a curse if we don’t work to reclaim these sites and give our communities the tools they need to attract new investments and create jobs.”

The Carbondale mine site had been operated as part of the Murrin and Powderly collieries since the 1800s. It was abandoned in the 1960s prior to passage of modern mining regulations. Mining activities left several large pits and 140-foot-high cliffs within 650 feet of the Carbondale elementary and high schools and several nearby residences.

Earthmovers Unlimited Inc. of Kylertown, Clearfield County, which received the reclamation contract through the Department of Environmental Protection, will grade and backfill 4,000 linear feet of dangerous highwall, and fill several abandoned strip pits using more than 4.3 million cubic yards of on-site mine spoil material.

The company will construct a 4,752-foot channel to control sediment and runoff that flows from the site into Fall Brook and the Lackawanna River. The contractor also will build two small ponds containing rock piles and root wad structures to provide wildlife habitat. Brush rows will be constructed along the northern boundary of the project for additional wildlife cover.

The entire 235-acre area will be planted with a mixture of grasses, legumes and tree seeds specially formulated to grow on abandoned mine lands. Work is expected to last two years.

Approximately 112 acres of this site are designated as a Keystone Opportunity Zone, which promotes economic development in abandoned industrial areas by offering reduced, or eliminated, tax rates to business.

“In Pennsylvania, we are working to create a different reality, an approach that identifies environmental problems as economic opportunities in disguise,” DEP Secretary Kathleen McGinty said while touring the site with local officials. “Where this once was seen only as a liability, new perspectives are taking hold.”

“More people are killed each year at abandoned mine sites than at all active mines in Pennsylvania,” McGinty said. “At Governor Rendell’s direction, we are seeking innovative ways to repair the damage left by the unregulated mining practices of the past and to turn these dangerous, abandoned mines into opportunities for community growth.”

Funding for the project comes from the federal Abandoned Mine Lands Fund, which is supported by a tax on every ton of coal mined by the active coal-mining industry.

Governor Rendell has been a leader in the fight to ensure that the U.S. Congress reauthorizes the federal mine reclamation fund and that the state secures its fair share. A reauthorization plan put before Congress last session would have increased Pennsylvania’s share to $35 million annually from $24 million per year. The fund, which would have expired at the end of September, has been extended to June 2006.

Pennsylvania has the largest abandoned mine lands problem in the country, with more than 180,000 acres of unmarked shafts, unstable cliffs, water-filled pits and abandoned equipment and explosives left over from when mining was largely unregulated prior to 1977.

Governor Rendell’s $625 million Growing Greener II initiative provides significant funding to address a vast array of environmental and public health problems at abandoned mine sites in Pennsylvania. The voter-approved program allocates $60 million to clean up rivers and streams affected by abandoned acid mine drainage and reclaim abandoned mine lands scarred by dangerous highwalls, mine openings and water-filled pits.

For more information on abandoned mine reclamation, visit the department’s Web site at www.depweb.state.pa.us, Keyword: “Abandoned Mines.”

 

161 GOVERNOR RENDELL SAYS COAL IS A SIGNIFICANT PIECE OF PA’S CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE 2006-04-03 17:10:54

N E W S R E L E A S E COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA

Dept. of Environmental Protection

Commonwealth News Bureau

Room 308, Main Capitol Building

Harrisburg, PA 17120

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

4/1/2006

CONTACT:

Susan Woods

Phone: (717) 787-1323

[b]Governor Continues Push for Measures to Enhance Mine Safety [/b]

BURGETTSTOWN, Washington County — Governor Edward G. Rendell’s energy initiatives are making Pennsylvania a leader in advancing clean coal technologies that put to use the state’s indigenous resources to spur investments, create jobs and improve the environment.

Addressing some 800 members of Families Organized to Represent the Coal Economy, or FORCE, in Washington County, Governor Rendell urged passage of his legislation to protect miners, modernize Pennsylvania’s mine safety laws and keep pace with a rapidly changing industry.

“Mining has been a cornerstone of Pennsylvania’s economy for 250 years, and I believe our best days are still to come,” Governor Rendell said.

“America’s energy past is grounded right here in Pennsylvania, where our coal and our miners helped to fuel an industrial revolution. The country’s energy future is right here, too,” Governor Rendell said. “We have the resources, the manpower and the ingenuity to both strengthen our economy and change the way our country produces fuel and thinks about energy.”

The Governor has launched some major initiatives to build a clean energy future in Pennsylvania, putting in place the policies and financial incentives needed to develop the state’s homegrown resources, especially coal.

Pennsylvania is home to one of the nation’s most progressive alternative energy portfolio standards, ensuring that 18 percent of all energy generated by 2020 comes from clean, efficient and advanced resources — not just traditional renewables but also coal mine methane, waste coal and coal gasification.

The nation’s first coal gasification-liquefaction plant is proposed for construction in Schuylkill County, where the plant will use waste coal to produce 40 millions of clean-burning diesel fuel each year. Construction of Waste Management and Processors Inc.’s waste-coal-to-diesel plant will create as many as 1,000 jobs; operating the plant will produce another 600 permanent, high-paying positions. The plant will clean up tens of millions of tons of waste coal while giving the state clean diesel at a fraction of the price paid today.

Pennsylvania has the largest abandoned mine lands problem in the country, with 8,529 acres of unreclaimed refuse piles and 2.1 billion tons of waste coal that impair rivers and streams with polluted runoff. There are few uses for waste coal except electricity generation, and there simply are not enough available resources to address this multi-billion dollar problem.

Governor Rendell is magnifying state investments to turn this $15 billion abandoned mine challenge into an economic opportunity. State-of-the-art waste coal power plants are helping to power the economy by putting to use an energy source that otherwise would be a threat to the environment and a hazard to public health.

With encouragement and support from the state, coal mine methane is being captured and used for fuel rather than simply being vented into the air and wasted. Not only are projects like this a boon to the environment, but with record-high natural gas prices, this new fuel source benefits the economy as well.

“Our commonwealth has a rich mining history,” Governor Rendell said. “And while our mines are among the safest in the world with consistently high production, we want to make sure they remain safe.”

Since taking office, Governor Rendell has ushered in a series of changes to enhance mine safety in Pennsylvania. Changes include revising mine permitting and inspection procedures so the Department of Environmental Protection’s mine safety experts have a direct role, putting in place stringent requirements for verification of underground mine maps and revising training protocols for mine safety personnel.

Despite these improvements, legislative changes are still needed. The commonwealth’s deep mine safety law was written in 1889 and last updated in 1961. Governor Rendell first unveiled his legislative package in July 2004, proposing some of the most significant changes in decades. Among the proposals:

“¢ Make the mine owner or operator primarily responsible for safety compliance at the mine, and allow DEP to assess fines and penalties for noncompliance. Currently, only individual certified employees or supervisors, such as foremen, can be held responsible for an accident, not the mine company or its executives.

“¢ Create a three-member Mine Safety Board with the authority to promulgate regulations to keep pace with mine safety technology. The board could act quickly to put in place necessary improvements and precautionary measures to keep miners safe as the industry continues to advance.

“¢ Eliminate obsolete language in Pennsylvania’s mine safety statutes to remove references to animals and stables in mines, and references about transporting miners into the mines on conveyer belts, among other outdated provisions.

“¢ Increase to 500 feet from 200 feet the distance from which a bituminous underground operator must conduct advanced drilling when approaching an adjacent mine that may contain water or gas. (This has been instituted administratively as well.)

After the West Virgnia accidents, the Governor expanded his proposal by adding new provisions that aim to protect miners in the event of an accident and assist the rescuers trying to reach them.

Mines would need an approved escape plan that prompts faster emergency response, requires stockpiled oxygen and seeks better communications to better track underground miners. The plan incorporates the installation of “lifelines” that miners can grab and use as a guide to safety if they are ever trapped in an area that fills with smoke or debris, as well as the location of safe places in the mines for workers to seek refuge in case escape routes are blocked.

In February, Governor Rendell ordered DEP’s Bureau of Mine Safety to re-inspect the state’s active underground mines. The enhanced inspections took place on top of all normal activities. The Governor’s proposed 2006-07 General Fund budget includes $508,000 for underground mine safety and enhanced inspection initiatives.

FORCE was created in 2002 by families, businesses and communities to support and retain coal-related jobs in Pennsylvania; network all coal-related businesses; give supporters of coal a voice; and make members aware of coal’s impact on the state’s economy. FORCE has 86 member companies representing more than 11,000 people.

The coal economy is made up of utility plants, fuel suppliers, equipment suppliers, legal professionals, accountants, machinists, transportation companies, chemical suppliers, engineering companies, construction facilities and coal companies.

Pennsylvania has more than 27 billion tons of proven coal reserves that will last for another 300 years at current mining production rates. The commonwealth is the fourth largest coal-producing state, generating more than 70 million tons of coal annually and employing thousands of people in mining and related industries.

For more information on mining, visit DEP’s Web site at www.depweb.state.pa.us, Keyword: “Active Mining Operations.”

 

160 Rules slow cleanup of mines, panel told 2006-04-03 16:59:28

Friday, March 31, 2006

BY BRETT LIEBERMAN

WASHINGTON – A Pennsylvania program that encourages “good Samaritans” to clean abandoned mine sites was lauded as a model effort, but supporters of such efforts told lawmakers that a lack of money and federal laws are the largest impediments to cleaning up more than half a million polluted sites nationally.

The lack of funding, primarily from the federal government, has plagued the cleanup of abandoned mine sites and polluter watersheds for decades, advocates said.

Pennsylvania is estimated to need $15 billion to clean up abandoned mines and waterways on at least 200,000 acres that are within one mile of an abandoned mine site.

“Few of these old mine sites are getting cleaned up,” U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-Tenn., said yesterday during a transportation subcommittee hearing on impediments to efforts to encourage more groups such as Trout Unlimited. The group is working to restore parts of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.

Concerns about legal liability and Clean Water Act requirements stymie efforts to encourage voluntary clean up of mine lands by watershed groups, other good Samaritans and the mining industry, witnesses told the panel.

“Mine operators and citizens alike would not tackle sites that had polluted mine discharges because state and federal law imposed strict liability on them,” Joseph G. Pizarchik, director of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s mining and reclamation bureau, testified.

Pennsylvania has had limited success working with volunteers and watershed groups to reclaim 20,100 acres with state programs that saved $1.1 billion, “money the state and federal government did not have to spend to reclaim these abandoned mine lands,” Pizarchik said.

But many watershed groups were reluctant to take on projects for fear that they would be responsible for future runoffs of polluted water, Pizarchik said.

DEP and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have not sued volunteer groups that do not fully clean up mine sites. Yet groups worry they could face civil lawsuits from private citizens if sites are not fully cleaned up or if there are future problems, he said.

The Clean Water Act, for example, allows for zero discharges of polluted water, and mine operators, which groups working on remediation may be considered, could face penalties of up to $32,500 per day for discharges.

Pennsylvania stepped up its efforts to clean up polluted sites with the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Plan in 1983 and 1999’s Environment Good Samaritan Act, which offered some liability protection to volunteers and $650 million through the Growing Greener state bond initiative.

“They are doing work that helps the government and helps the country,” Pizarchik said in an interview.

Lawmakers said they are hopeful that drawing more attention to the issue will lead to legislative action, but no legislation has been proposed. Duncan said committee staff continue to debate issues such as whether legislation is necessary, defining who may be a Samaritan, cleanup standards and how the program should be administered and funded.

BRETT LIEBERMAN: (202) 383-7833 or blieberman@patriot-news.com

©2006 The Patriot-News

© 2006 PennLive.com All Rights Reserved.

 

159 New weapon to wage war on mining’s leftovers 2006-03-23 15:44:03

A regional abandoned-mine reclamation group has created a powerful new tool for mapping mine-scarred lands in affected municipalities.

The Abandoned Mine Land Inventory System can pinpoint waterways plagued by acid mine drainage and areas , down to the street and house level , potentially prone to mine subsidence. Its creators believe the information can aid elected officials and conservation groups in targeting cleanup projects and funding.

But the expansive program may also help keep mine reclamation moving all together. The federal fund that doles out money for mine-reclamation projects expires June 30. Stakeholders say this highly detailed system can help illustrate just how much cleanup work is left to do.

“If we can convince these folks that are in charge of making things happen … it might put the light bulb on for them,” said Robert Hughes, regional coordinator for the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation. “We’re trying to say, “˜Here, we’ll show you how to allocate that funding over time.’?”

[b]A data treasure trove[/b]

The Geographic Information System modeling program uses state and federal data to create interactive maps, which can show a host of features, including mine discharge points, backfilled stripping pits and reclaimed mine shafts. Representatives from the nonprofit coalition are taking the technology on the road to municipal officials throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania, giving many a new perspective on what’s within , and often below , their boundaries. [b]More than mine land. Don’t let the name fool you.[/b]

The Abandoned Mine Land Inventory System gives detailed, interactive images of a community’s mine-scarred lands. But its layers of data hold much more information and potential, according to its creators at the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation.

The Geographic Information System modeling program can produce high-tech maps for dozens of municipal needs. It simply depends on what you input.

The system can document sewer systems and combined sewer overflow points for an entire watershed. Elected officials can input tax and income figures to examine their base. Planning commissions can use the maps as a tool for land-use planning, storm-water and floodplain management and a host of other development-related issues.

“We have so much information, you have to pick and choose,” said coalition regional coordinator Robert Hughes.

The coalition is offering to produce up to three free maps for municipalities with mining impacts. One will document abandoned mine lands, but the makeup of the other two is up to elected officials, based on available data. The coalition will hold another information session March 15 from noon to 2 p.m. at the Archbald Borough building. To contact EPCAMR, call Rob Lavelle at 674-3409.

Old Forge borough played host last week to the program’s first display in Lackawanna County. Council President Tony Pero, one of the few regional officials who popped in for the two-hour session, got a detailed look at mine shafts, impaired creeks and culm piles throughout the borough.

“We don’t have anything that looks like this; I’m pretty impressed,” said Mr. Pero. “Looking at the big picture, I think it helps a lot.”

Mr. Hughes said the information can help municipalities prioritize their cleanup needs, as well as give state and federal officials concrete evidence of possible health and safety hazards. “That’s a priority for these communities,” said Mr. Hughes.

[b]Funding is a key[/b]

The federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund is maintained by the Office of Surface Mining. Today’s coal-mine operators feed money into the interest-accruing account through a per-ton fee. Legislation governing the fund expired several years ago, but has been extended year to year.

Environmental groups are pushing for a full reauthorization of the law, which would guarantee the flow of funds in and out of the federal pot. About 1.4 million Pennsylvanians live within two miles of abandoned mine sites, said Brian Hill, chief executive officer for the Pennsylvania Environmental Council.

Contact the writer: cbirk@timesshamrock.com

©The Times-Tribune 2006

 

158 AMD Conference Planning Committee Gearing up for 2006 Conference 2006-02-27 15:29:17

The theme will be “Back to Basics” and we want to focus back on building capacity for watershed groups in PA working on Abandoned Mine Land issues. [u]We need your help to decide if there should be 2 regional conferences in Pennsylvania?[/u] We are thinking about having separate Anthracite Region (Eastern PA) and Bituminous Region (Western PA) Conferences. What do you think? Please let us know by voting in [b]”Going With the Flow”[/b] on the homepage. Some things to think about (Positives and Negatives):

Watershed groups would incur less of an expense associated with travel.

We may not be able to afford scholarships this year.

Presenters at the conference may have “double duty”.

Central conference location ( State College) tends to be very expensive.

Holding the conference in late summer / early fall would conflict with college football season.

Please stay tuned for updates on the conference. We will let you know at the Pennsylvania State-wide AMD Conference Information Page

 

157 Environmental group EPCAMR speaks at Tamaqua Area High School 2006-02-24 17:42:20

By JOE PLASKO / TIMES NEWS

jplasko@tnonline.com

Robert E. Hughes, Regional Coordinator for the Eastern Pa. Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR) displays a map of reclamation projects along the Upper Schuylkill watershed during a presentation at Tamaqua Area High School Friday.

With the long history of Anthracite coal mining in this region, metal-filled water discharged from those mines are a daily part of life.

Metallic discharges are an environmental hazard that organizations such as the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR) work toward alleviating, through their own efforts and partnerships with municipalities and government agencies.

Another function of EPCAMR, which is based in Luzerne County and covers a 16-county region, is environmental education, such as the presentation it gave Friday at Tamaqua Area High School.

Robert E. Hughes, EPCAMR Regional Coordinator, and Pamela J. Kattner, Jim Thorpe, an environmental education intern, spoke about the problems of acid mine drainage to the ecology and chemistry classes of Kristen Klingaman.

There’s a connection there. Klingaman served as an EPCAMR intern for Hughes in 1999. “I wanted you all to hear this, because I feel it is important,” she told her students.

There are many abandoned mine reclamation sites in the Tamaqua area. Not too far from the school on Route 209 in Walker Township is the Newkirk Tunnel, a reclamation project in which the acidic water discharge is treated with an oxic limestone drain.

The Newkirk Tunnel featured an orange colored discharge due to the iron in the water, which became acidic by running through the mine. Other discharges can also contain magnesium and aluminum, which has a tint of white or gray, said Kattner.

“The discharge creates a harsh environment for fish and other invertebrates and impairs the health of the watershed,” explained Kattner.

Because of the metallic content, acid mine discharges can also contain sulfuric acid, which has a distinctive odor.

The Upper Schuylkill watershed, which includes 123 miles of streams, is only one of the areas with which EPCAMR is concerned. Hughes also discussed the Catawissa Creek watershed, which runs from Hazleton along Route 81 to Elysburg, covering 36 miles and running into the Susquehanna River.

Kattner said there are three methods of treating acid mine drainage: active, passive and backfilling.

Active treatments mean the addition of chemicals. Passive treatments include using limestone to reduce the acidity of the water and restore its alkalinity, or using available wetlands to remove metals from the discharge.

“We try to remove the metals from the streams and re-use them,” said Hughes, who noted those metals can be used in the production of tie-dyes for T-shirts and woodstains for paint companies.

Some examples of passive treatments provided were the Audenreid Mine Tunnel on the Catawissa Creek, which uses concrete storage tanks of limestone to split the water and treat it, and the Lausanne Tunnel near Jim Thorpe, which utilizes wetlands, said Kattner.

Backfilling reclamation involves filling old strip-mine pits to prevent oxygen from reaching metals exposed through the mining process. In those cases, the pit is filled and covered with top soil and vegetation.

Hughes and Kattner urged the students to get involved by joining environmental groups, reading and writing articles on acid mine drainage and learning all they can on the subject.

For more information, visit the EPCAMR website at www.orangewaternetwork.org.

 

156 Free Municipal Planning Code Workshop coming to Luzerne County 2006-02-17 14:37:57

[b]LOOK BEYOND THE FIELD YOU ARE STANDING IN:

THE MUNICIPAL PLANNING CODE AND IT’S IMPACT ON YOU[/b]

[b]FRIDAY, MARCH 24TH[/b] at the Best Western East Mountain Inn & Suites, Wilkes Barre, PA

Help for Conservation District, NRCS, and Extension personnel to learn about the Municipal Planning Code, Zoning, Comprehensive Plans, Subdivision and Land Development Plans, and Stormwater. Also, increase understanding of the regulations that municipalities uphold to help clients such as farmers, engineers, and landowners when installing BMPs or completing E&S controls. County Planning Commissions, County Commissioners, and Legislators are also welcome!

10:00 A.M.

Overview of the Municipal Planning Code , Take a tour of what is in the Municipal Planning Code and how it is used by townships.

Presented by: The Governor’s Center for Local Government Services

11:00 A.M.

Comprehensive Planning , A discussion on planning for development, industry, agriculture, infrastructure, etc., and how planning can mold a township and accomplish goals.

Presented by: Ronald Beam, Vice President of Rettew Associates, Assoc. Director on the Lancaster County Conservation District Board

11:30 A.M. , Lunch

12:30 P.M.

Zoning, Subdivision and Land Use Ordinances, and Stormwater , How do conservation practices and programs interrelate. How to assist townships with development of an ordinance. What is a 2nd class township and how are they governed? Where does nutrient trading, water resources planning and critical aquifer recharge areas enter into the picture?

Presented by: James Caldwell, Project Manager of Civil/Municipal Services at Rettew Associates. Formerly with the Lancaster Co. CD

2:00 P.M.

Outreach Efforts with Local Municipal Officials, Monroe County Conservation District has been very involved in working with municipal officials to accomplish many conservation related goals including Monroe County 2020- a comprehensive planning effort, Act 167 Stormwater Management planning, and ordinance development.

Presented by: Craig Todd, District Manager of the Monroe County Conservation District

2:30-2:45 P.M. , Questions and Wrap-up

[b]*** The training session is free of charge, but please RSVP with the Pocono Northeast Resource Conservation & Development Council at (570) 282-8732 ext.4 or sue@pnercd.org no later than March 15th.[/b]

Coordination provided by the PA Agricultural Ombudsman Program and the Pocono Northeast Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Council.

Funding provided by the PA Agricultural Ombudsman Program

 

155 Wyoming sets coal output record as prices rise 2006-01-23 16:26:46

Associated Press

GILLETTE – Despite logistics problems last year, it appears Wyoming continues to produce record amounts of coal, which is the subject of increasing national demand and fetching strong prices.

Although unofficial, Wyoming produced a conservative estimate of 405.4 million tons in 2005, according to the Casper Star-Tribune’s annual survey of coal production. Coal industry analysts at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration estimate the actual figure for 2005 is about 407.2 million tons, with the additional tonnage coming from Powder River Basin operations.

An estimated 2.4 percent increase in coal production from 2004 would translate into good economic news for a state that receives most of its revenues from minerals. Severance taxes, federal mineral royalties and coal lease bonus bid payments from the coal industry in 2005 well exceeded $600 million, according to the state’s economic analysis division.

That does not include sales and use taxes, secondary business or the more than $600 million in annual payroll for the industry’s 4,600 employees.

“Coal is the core of northeast Wyoming,” said Buck McVeigh, administrator of Wyoming’s economic analysis division. “Natural gas and oil, in their heydays, were the most significant players. But coal has always been a steady revenue generator.”

Last year also saw a dramatic price increase in Wyoming coal.

“It’s just amazing what’s going on in the industry right now. I don’t think it’s fully appreciated how much utilities are willing to pay for coal right now,” said Paul Klibanow, a coal industry analyst for the New York investment firm Force Capital Management.

At the beginning of 2005, producers in the Powder River Basin were getting about $7 per ton for some of their coal under contract, compared with the $5-per-ton range in previous years.

But a combination of coal train derailments, disruption in natural gas supplies on the Gulf Coast and skyrocketing prices for emission credits all worked together in 2005 to jolt coal prices upward.

Now, spot market prices for Powder River Basin coal of 8,800 British thermal units is $22 per ton. Typically, higher spot prices are paid for about 15 percent of a mine’s production, because about 85 percent is under contract at the lower rate.

Many utilities are trying to get as much Powder River Basin coal as possible because of emission rules, Klibanow said.

In addition, since the derailments prevented basin producers from meeting all the increased customer demand in 2005, utility inventories are at record lows, and they are desperately trying to replenish their coal stockpiles.

Under those circumstances, utilities are signing new multiyear contracts for $25 per ton in the Powder River Basin.

“The risks to the utility customer of having to burn natural gas as an alternative is a losing proposition, so they’ll pay whatever they have to to get the coal,” Klibanow said. “Those companies are going to make a lot of money.”

Greg Schaefer, spokesman for Arch Coal Inc., stressed that $25-per-ton contracts are not the norm. The majority of Wyoming’s 400-plus million tons of coal sells for lower prices under contract.

The Wyoming Geological Survey reported that the overall average price for a ton of Wyoming coal was $6.80 in 2003 and $6.88 in 2004. The average selling price in 2005 isn’t available yet.

Dan Neal, director of the Equality State Policy Center, said his organization plans to suggest a “modest” increase of the 7.5 percent severance tax on coal at every opportunity.

“We feel like the state should be charging more for this great resource,” Neal said. “There’s only one chance to tax this stuff. It’s an obligation to the generations that follow us, and right now we are failing to recognize that. We’d argue this is a moral question.”

 

154 IUP to digitize state’s mine maps, create online database 2006-01-23 16:09:31

Friday, January 20, 2006

By Moustafa Ayad, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Pennsylvania Bureau of Deep Mine Safety and Indiana University of Pennsylvania have created a partnership to digitally map thousands of mines across Pennsylvania.

Using a $125,000 digital camera donated by the mine agency, IUP libraries will scan and then digitize the large-format maps to create a statewide database available to businesses, local officials and the public.

The project is aimed at improving miner safety and assisting communities planning construction or renovation projects to ensure underground stability.

“We will be able to provide digital images of maps that are too large for standard scanning equipment,” said Joe Sbaffoni, director of the Bureau of Deep Mine Safety. “The preservation of these mine maps will improve mine safety and will preserve a valuable mapping resource for future generations.”

The partnership, which has been under development for two years, will use the agency’s current mine maps. IUP will categorize, store and digitize a vast number of maps to eventually place them online.

The university also will convert 400 maps already in its archives into digital versions. School officials said the conversion could take up to two years.

The university also announced a gift and a grant it received to help with the man-hours needed to complete the project. The $36,777 gift was from Rosebud Mining Co. of Kittanning. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission gave $15,000.

“I applaud IUP for taking this step to bring new technology here to improve the quality and safety of mining in Pennsylvania,” said state Sen. Don White, R-Indiana.

 

153 EPCAMR Staff “Breaks the Code” to PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Database 2006-01-12 14:11:26

Contact: Michael Hewitt, EPCAMR Watershed Outreach Coordinator , (570) 674-3414

Thursday, January 12, 2006 , Shavertown, PA

EPCAMR Watershed Outreach Coordinator, Michael Hewitt, presented an accounting of reclaimed abandoned mine sites in Pennsylvania to officials in the PA Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation (PA DEP BAMR) on Tuesday afternoon as

a part of the PA Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Trust Fund Reauthorization Committee presentation. Hewitt’s part of the presentation consisted of a live interactive map and database of which he and EPCAMR GIS Technicial, Rob Lavelle, had recently been able to incorporate PA DEP BAMR’s reclaimed sites data table and offer a new perspective of the current status of AML Reclamation in Pennsylvania. “This information is not new, it has always been a part of the DEP’s database,” Hewitt adds, “however, the presentation combines that information and displays it in a map that is easily understood by anyone.”

The PA DEP BAMR maintains a database of Abandoned Mine Land Impacts in Pennsylvania. The database, aptly named the Abandoned Mine Land Information System (AMLIS), encompasses an inventory including mine portals, vertical openings, mine drainage seeps, dangerous highwalls from strip mining, water filled stripping pits, culm banks, landslides, underground mine fires, stream impoundments, and subsidence features just to name a few. This information is gathered by state inspectors who transfer the information directly into the central database via an online feed to Harrisburg. The database is then sent to the Office of Surface Mining, an office of the federal Department of the Interior, which gives a priority value to the features and distributes funding for reclamation through the Abandoned Mine Trust Fund, a pot of money created by a tax placed on coal removed from the ground by the federal Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) of 1977.

The information in the AMLIS Database is organized into three separate but integrated tables which are then interpreted into a map form using a Geographic Information System (GIS) such as ArcView. EPCAMR Staff were tasked to work on this project through the Non-Point Source Liaison Committee to the PA DEP. The resulting maps give viewers an overhead look at the problems and aide in planning to reclaim these features. “We now have an idea of where we are and where we need to go as far as reclamation in Pennsylvania,” Hewitt explains. DEP Officials agree that it accurately represents the current status of their projects; however this database does not take into account reclamation projects that were done by other entities. An effort is being made to incorporate re-mining projects managed by the PA DEP District Mining Offices into the database as well as projects completed by redevelopment authorities, cogeneration facilities, other federal, state and county programs and watershed groups through funding such as Growing Greener, EPCAMR’s Regional Watershed Support Initiative, OSM’s Appalachian Clean Streams Initiative and other funding sources. “It will be a challenge to incorporate these other reclamation projects into the database,” Hewitt says, “but it can be done.”

The Office of Surface Mining also has a new GIS database out which shows about 280 Mine Drainage Treatment Systems throughout Pennsylvania. This database also has a water chemistry improvement portion which shows the parameters going into the system and those coming out of the system. “The database is still a work in progress with treatment systems that still need to be added and water quality information to be included, but the information housed in it will prove helpful in meeting new Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) standards being placed on AMD impacted streams,” Hewitt remarks. “This new information combined with 303(d) Listed Waters (polluted streams information from the PA DEP Bureau of Watershed Management) and other GIS layers can really prove helpful in painting a picture of the need for increased funding for reclamation projects in PA.”

 

152 AML Trust Fund ReauthorizationPerspective from Montana 2006-01-03 12:12:51

Cleanup cash drying up

By SONJA LEE

Tribune Staff Writer

The decline of mining, refining and railroading in the second half of the 20th Century left Montana wanting for good jobs , and facing the dirty remains of those former industries.

High-paying mining and smelting jobs aren’t likely to return, at least not in any large numbers. In their wake, however, are new jobs for the folks cleaning up the tainted waters, soils and communities.

But even as environmental cleanups pump money into Montana’s economy and create thousands of jobs, the federal money that seeds some of those projects is threatened.

Two federal funding sources in particular are dwindling.

The program that funds the cleanup of abandoned mines expires next year. And the trust fund that paid for federal Superfund cleanups is depleted, with taxpayers now picking up the reclamation tab.

Together those funding sources pour millions of dollars into Montana each year.

The national abandoned mines program is paid for with a fee on mined coal.

In Montana, the tax generates $13 million a year. Of that, about $3.5 million is appropriated for cleanup work.

The remainder of the money is divvied up among a trust fund, eastern states and the United Mine Workers Combined Benefit fund.

Montana’s share is used to clean up some of the highest risk abandoned coal and hard rock mines. The state Department of Environmental Quality estimates that it pays about 90 percent of its annual abandoned-mine appropriations to private contractors.

That money, however, is in jeopardy. A sunset provision in the fund’s authorization takes effect in June 2006.

In the Congressional back-and-forth over reauthorization, eastern states are attempting to divert more of the money to coal-mine reclamation in their areas, according to Vic Andersen, chief of the mine waste cleanup bureau within the DEQ. There also are a number of other competing interests such as the coal industry and the United Mine Workers.

There is concern that Montana could lose a great deal of money if the fee is not reauthorized or if the distribution of funds changes.

“Western states are going to have to be ever vigilant,” Andersen said.

Those in the industry agree.

Joe Aline, project manager for Shumaker Trucking, said abandoned mine cleanups are a big chunk of the company’s workload each year. Since the early ’80s, Shumaker has completed 51 reclamation projects.

“That abandoned mines money comes back to Montana, and it gets the cleanups done,” he said.

Gov. Brian Schweitzer wrote to Montana’s congressional delegation urging them to support legislation reauthorizing the program and protecting the West’s share of the money. Schweitzer wants annual grants to the state maintained at a level equivalent to 50 percent of the fees collected here.

Meanwhile the federal Superfund program grapples with its own problems.

The 1980 Superfund law says polluting businesses must pay to clean up their own environmental messes. When companies go bankrupt or the polluters can’t be pinpointed, a trust fund is in place to take care of the costs. It is financed by a tax on industries dealing in petroleum and other hazardous chemicals typically found on polluted sites.

The tax expired in 1995 and Congress has yet to renew it. For the last few years, the Superfund Trust Fund has been virtually bankrupt.

In 2004, the Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general reported that the $3 billion program was staring at a funding shortfall of $175 million annually.

Congress now funds cleanups with money from the general budget. That means taxpayers get stuck with any bills not paid for by the polluters. It also means the pace of cleanups and funding for cleanups is declining.

“It’s been 100 percent on the taxpayers,” said Anne Rabe, campaign coordinator for the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. “Because of a reduction in the appropriations, there also is a reduction in the money for the Superfund.”

Dollars spent on Superfund cleanups declined 35 percent , or about $600 million , since 1993, Rabe said.

In 2004, the EPA released a list showing projects that could not be funded. Included on that list was some work at the Upper Tenmile Creek Superfund site southwest of Helena.

“That was one of 14 that didn’t receive funding in fiscal year 2004,” Rabe said.

More than $10 million has been spent at Upper Tenmile. That’s about a third of the money needed for excavation and disposal of the site’s remaining waste.

Completion of federal Superfund cleanups declined to 40 sites a year during the past two years, according to the EPA. During the Clinton administration, the EPA completed an average of 76 cleanups a year. Officials say the increasing size and complexity of cleanups is one reason that fewer are being done.

The Bush administration opposes resumption of the Superfund taxes, and congressional attempts to reinstate the fees have failed.

In the last session, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., cosponsored one such attempt , the “Toxic Clean-Up Polluter Pays Renewable Act” , but it didn’t pass.

California Sen. Barbara Boxer, a Democrat, and several others continue pushing for similar legislation, and Baucus is co-sponsoring it again.

“Max is one of the fathers of the Superfund program,” said Barrett Kaiser, a spokesman for Baucus.

The EPA estimates it will take up to 35 years and $280 billion to clean of the nation’s existing and potential hazardous waste sites. Since the program began in 1980, more than 900 toxic messes have been cleaned up, but more than 1,200 still need attention.

Reach Tribune Staff Writer Sonja Lee at slee@greatfal.gannett.com, or at (406) 791-1471 or (800) 438-6600.

Originally published December 27, 2005

 

151  The Top 10 Online Resources for Grantwriters 2006-01-03 11:59:19

By Matt Scelza

I began, like most grantwriters, as a program coordinator. I had an idea for a new program that would serve a community need, and there was no one else on staff to write the grant. Suddenly, I was a grantwriter. I didn’t know where to begin, and my Internet searches returned a blizzard of information. Knowing that the situation hasn’t changed much in the past nine years, I humbly offer this collection of the Top 10 online resources for grantwriters.

[hr]

*The Essentials *
[b]GuideStar[/b]

www.guidestar.org

If you know the foundation you’d like to research, start with GuideStar. This collection of information about tens of thousands of foundations and nonprofits offers the most recent 990 tax returns for all 501(c)(3)s for free. Foundations are considered 501(c)(3)s, so you can read the list of grantees for any foundation.

Of course, you can only read what you know to look for. GuideStar offers research packages at three levels, but I don’t recommend them for two reasons. First, the packages aim to help foundations and donors research nonprofits. A grantwriter wants the opposite focus. Second, the cost is higher than on The Foundation Directory.

[b]The Foundation Directory Online[/b]

http://fconline.fdncenter.org

I recommend a subscription to The Foundation Directory Online. There are four subscription levels, starting at $19.99 per month. Besides the focus on providing foundation information, FD Online has a more intuitive, easier-to-use layout. For most grantwriters, one of the $19.99 or $29.99 packages will suffice. One helpful feature of FD Online is the ability to search by trustee name. If you have a name, you can learn on which foundations this person serves.

[b]A Proposal Writing Short Course[/b]

http://fdncenter.org/learn/shortcourse/prop1.html

While it’s really a “presentation with arrows,” this site provides the clearest explanation I’ve found of the basic components of a grant. If you’re as new to grantwriting as I was, this site will save many hours of frustration.

[b]Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance[/b]

http://www.cfda.gov

This website offers access to a database of all federal funding programs available. You can read the full application and learn who to contact with any questions.

The best part of the site is the free notification service. You select the federal departments and/or agencies for which you’d like email updates. Starting the next day, you’ll get a daily email with any grant opportunities that fit your criteria. This is a great way to let your tax dollars do your research for you.

[b]Grants.gov[/b]

www.grants.gov

Just as the above are good sources for private funding, grants.gov is the portal for finding federal opportunities. Plus, if you’re going to submit a grant to the federal government, you’re required to register your organization with egrants.gov. It’s not as seamless as it should be, but since it’s required, you might as well complete the process.

*The Helpful *
[b]Michigan State University Library[/b]

http://www.lib.msu.edu/harris23/grants/4fcelec.htm

The Michigan State University Library system has created this collection of 519 listings on all things grant-related. I have it on my bookmarks page on my Internet browser, and often scroll through to find something interesting. I do mean “scroll” — there is no search function, and 519 listings are a lot to move through. There also are several specialized lists for educators, religious fundraising, and academic fundraising.

[b]Don Griesmann’s Grant Opportunities[/b]

http://charitychannel.com/enewsletters/dggo

This is another CharityChannel feature, and another way to let other people do your research for you. Good Samaritan Griesmann offers a weekly list of approximately 25 funding sources, with one paragraph summaries of each funder’s guidelines and a link to the website.

*The Newsletters*
[b]Grassroots Fundraising Journal’s e-newsletter[/b]

www.grassrootsfundraising.org

The e-newsletter is free, and worth reading for Kim Klein’s “Ask Kim” column. Klein offers insights into fundraising that all development professionals, no matter how small their goals, will find useful.

*The Lists *
[b]CharityChannel [/b]

http://charitychannel.com/forums

CharityChannel offers numerous lists that serve the original purpose of the Internet — unfiltered sharing of information. Well, actually, the lists are even better than that — commercial postings are filtered out, and you receive direct access to thousands of other development professionals across the country and world.

*The Not Yet Useful, But Oh So Cool *
[b]Capaciteria[/b]

www.capaciteria.org

This site will be very useful in the years to come. Capaciteria relies upon peer ratings to rank nonprofit resources in a variety of categories, including “Fund Raising, Grants Management & Philanthropy.” Free registration is required, and as more users enter more reviews of resources, the site will grow in usefulness.

[hr]

The list is far from exhaustive, and there are many other deserving sites. It was created for the rookies who are in the same situation I was in nine years ago. If you know any new grantwriters, do them a favor and send them your own version of this list. No site can write a grant for you, but these 10 sites will make anyone’s grantwriting easier.

Copyright © 2005 [Matt Scelza]. All rights reserved.

This article is reprinted with permission from CharityChannel.com and the author of this article. The author holds the copyright to the article. To receive the entire issue by email each week, visit http://charitychannel.com/enewsletters and use the subscription form. To seek permission for reprints, visit http://charitychannel.com/enewsletters/reprints. For more information, contact CharityChannel at http://charitychannel.com/rapid-reply.

 

150 Reclamation Rising 2006-01-03 11:17:36

As a teen rafting the Youghiogheny River in the 1970s, Stahlstown native Tom Rathbun saw a burnt-orange waterway devoid of any plant or animal life.

“There was nothing there, and there was nothing on Loyalhanna Creek, either,” said Rathbun, 48. “It was all affected by acid mine drainage in the area.”

At the time, Rathbun said, most people were resigned to living near such pollution.

“Everyone said there’s nothing you can do about it,” Rathbun said. “Now people are finding out you can.”

Today, a Yough river basin teeming with fish, birds and plants is testimony to proactive steps taken to address environmental issues linked to abandoned mines that have kept so many rivers, streams, wetlands and watersheds down for so long, said Rathbun, spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection in Harrisburg.

“Mountain streams and rivers that were orange when I was a kid are now filled with fish, are now lined with trees and rhododendrons, and that’s progress,” Rathbun said.

FEDERAL AID FACTOR

A big reason for such progress is the 1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act, passed by Congress to regulate the mining industry and to reclaim or remediate about 1 million acres of abandoned sites mined nationwide before that time. The act also restricts the abandonment of such sites prior to proper reclamation.

Under the act, active mining operations nationwide must also pay a tax on each ton of coal produced at a rate of 35 cents per ton for surface-mined coal; 15 cents per ton for deep-mined coal; and 10 cents per ton for lignite coal.

The money collected from the coal production tax goes into the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, an interest-accruing account held by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining to finance the reclamation of high-priority abandoned coal mine sites.

In 2005, the DEP awarded 41 contracts worth about $26 million for the reclamation of 968 acres of abandoned mine lands in 18 counties, Rathbun said. A portion of that money came from the federal abandoned mine fund, with the rest received from state Growing Greener grants.

Fifteen such contracts were awarded this year to companies in Westmoreland, Fayette and Indiana counties. Four of those reclamation projects are being designed, construction is occurring on seven more and four have been completed.

“There are an awful lot of people that have put time into making this happen, people who aren’t looking at the problem and complaining, but looking for a solution to the problem,” Rathbun said.

Nevertheless, Rathbun said, the state requires a larger slice of the federal funding doled out annually to more quickly reclaim about 250,000 acres of abandoned mine sites and clean up more polluted watersheds.

Currently, the state is allotted between $19 million and $24 million annually from the fund. At present, $1.5 billion in collected coal production taxes has yet to be allocated for mine reclamation projects nationwide.

“The state is focused on cleaning up this huge, historic mess,” Rathbun said. “We don’t believe we’re asking for anything extravagant (from the federal government) to do it.”

PERSONAL EFFECTS

About 1.4 million state residents live within a mile of these toxic sites, said John Dawes, administrator of the Western Pennsylvania Watershed Program.

“When I say toxic, I mean it, because these sites are filled with heavy metals that cause nearby watersheds and groundwater to be filled with mine drainage,” Dawes said.

Roughly 2,200 miles of state streams are polluted or largely devoid of life as a result of acid mine drainage from abandoned sites, with another 4,000 miles of state streams degraded by such metals as iron, aluminum and manganese, all of which can be toxic to humans.

Additionally, there are 8,529 acres of unreclaimed refuse piles statewide with 258 million tons of waste coal, according to DEP statistics. The state also has at least 2,000 abandoned and flooding mine pools that discharge polluted water from about 5,000 known points and threaten the health of numerous rivers and streams.

“I firmly believe that if this pollution were to be created today, as opposed to over the past 100 years, the public would never stand for it,” said Bruce Golden, of the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation. “But here in Pennsylvania, it’s something we’ve grown up with, so it just goes unnoticed.”

Rathbun confirmed that water contaminated by acid mine drainage eventually serves as the municipal water supply for many residents in both rural and urban areas of the state. To him, this further speaks to the state’s need for more funding to address mine drainage issues.

“We need something that’s going to work for the Appalachian states; any place there was mining before the 1970s, there’s a real need for reclamation,” Rathbun said. “And that money still only cleans up higher-priority sites; it doesn’t even touch on all the non-coal quarries in need of reclamation.”

Currently, the mine reclamation fund reserves 50 percent of the tax money for use by states where the most coal is collected. The other 50 percent is placed in the Federal Share, where 20 percent of that amount is allocated to the Rural Abandoned Mine Program authorized to reclaim abandoned coal mine lands located in Pennsylvania and nine other states.

Two problems exist with the current system, Rathbun said.

First, a number of the states mining the highest tonnage of coal today, such as Wyoming, have a minimal amount of abandoned mine land, but they get the lion’s share of money meant to reclaim such land. Secondly, the roughly $25 million in fund dollars budgeted yearly for Pennsylvania projects is just not enough when considering the amount of abandoned mine lands here.

Also, the act and accompanying fund, which were set to expire in 2004, have since been extended by Congress for intervals of mere months.

What the state DEP and many local watershed groups are seeking from Congress is official reauthorization of the act and the accompanying fund for the next 20 years, plus an increase in its yearly allotment to about $35 million.

“If you try to undertake what is a $5 billion problem here on a month-to-month basis, it’s going to take a long, long time at that rate to see significant results,” said Rathbun, who estimated that it would take 50 years to address just the high-priority sites with the current yearly mine fund allotment to the state. “It’s important to us to know how much we’re getting and for how long.”

WHAT IS BEING DONE

Last summer, U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., managed to secure a one-year extension on the federal mine reclamation fund that also preserves the current tax rates on tonnage of coal at active mines. But the fund is set to expire July 1. Discontinuation of it would result in the transfer of any leftover fund money to general government revenue.

Now, a state congressional delegation including U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Johnstown, U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Philadelphia, and U.S. Rep. John Peterson, R-Titusville, is trying to work out a more permanent and reliable means of accessing the fund dollars for state reclamation projects.

“What we want is to find a more permanent arrangement, a long-term reauthorization (of the fund) that meets the needs of a state with our mining history,” Rathbun said.

Some members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin, R-Wyoming, intend to propose changes to the act that would mean even less money for such states as Pennsylvania, Golden said. She and U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall II, D-W.Va., want to see that more fund dollars instead be transferred to Western states with more active coal mining operations and to the United Mine Workers of America to enhance money available to address retired miners’ health care needs, Golden said.

Also, Hawes said, many mining companies want to see changes in the mine production tax.

“In a time frame of record profits for coal companies and record increases in the price of coal, they’re calling for a reduction in the tax,” Hawes marveled. “I would argue that if these companies would reclaim more mines, it might be best for their image. These are scars of the past.”

To such companies, and to states that receive most of the fund money each year based on the amount of coal produced, Rathbun chooses to remind them of the past.

“For a long time, the entire nation depended on coal, limestone, iron ore and steel from Pennsylvania. It helped win the Revolutionary War, it built railroads that opened the West and rebuilt Europe after two world wars,” Rathbun said. “Our take on this is that this is not Pennsylvania’s abandoned mine problem, it’s America’s problem.”

For that reason, and because of the lower quality of life for those living near abandoned mine fields, it’s the government’s responsibility to abide by the original intentions of the reclamation act, said Bev Braverman, executive director of Mountain Watershed Association and Tri-State Citizens Mining Network.

“It is ridiculous and unacceptable for people to be living in or near these abandoned coal fields,” Braverman said. “Most people don’t realize how many people are living in these areas without potable water due to contaminated streams; it makes for an overall lower quality of life.”

State DEP Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty agrees.

“It is important that we continue to aggressively locate and reclaim these dangerous places,” she said.

With that in mind, Rathbun said, the state is seeking alternate solutions to the problem while waiting for more federal dollars.

“We’re not sitting on our hands waiting for someone to hand us money,” Rathbun said. “With smaller watershed groups and state and local government being open to new ideas, our job is to see that other solutions are being put into practice.”

Such alternatives include remining, in which a company takes over an abandoned site, removes the minable reserves for profit and reclaims the site afterward. Also, a company found to be in violation of state mining law can be given the option of undertaking a mine reclamation in lieu of a sanction.

“I think they appreciate that; our modern mining industry sometimes faces a lot of anti-mining bias based on things that were done in the past,” said Rathbun, adding that the industry itself reclaims thousands of acres of abandoned mine land each year at no cost to the state.

Another alternative effort is Gov. Ed Rendell’s Growing Greener II initiative, which proposes $100 million over four years to address a vast array of environmental and public health problems at abandoned mine sites. The proposal has yet to be passed by the state Legislature.

In the end, though, perpetuating the act and federal mine reclamation fund through votes in Congress is the only way to accomplish the goal of reclaiming all abandoned mine lands, Braverman said.

“We’re looking for some courageous senators and congresspeople who will step forward and get reauthorization for this bill,” said Braverman, adding that the 20-year reauthorization time frame being sought and the increased funding allotment could reclaim all of Pennsylvania. “This state could be entirely restored in that time, and we’re one of the worst states for this, so that should tell you about what could happen in the other states.”

A.J. Panian can be reached at apanian@tribweb.com.

 

149 PA Watersheds Data System Goes Live! 2005-12-21 09:32:31

HARRISBURG (November 30) — Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR) is pleased to announce the release of an online system that will store data collected by volunteer watershed monitors statewide. This information is currently used to track the impacts that human activities may have on a watershed, but it is stored only locally, without online access. With the advent of the PA Watersheds Data System, thousands of records dating back to the early 1970’s can be made publicly available.

The system is accessed through POWR’s website http://www.pawatersheds.org, and is designed to place the monitoring groups in charge of their data, including whether they will store their data in it and who they will allow to see it once it is stored there.

“I am working with a consortium of educators (Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies- SRHCES) who are investigating the links between contaminants in the environment and human health. In addition to the eight college/universities, we are also collaborating with watershed organizations and the Geisinger Health System. The PA Watersheds Data System will be both a repository for our data collection and a source of data for this type of critical research,” explained Dr. Mel Zimmerman, Director of Clean Water Institute and Chair of Lycoming College Biology Department.

“The PA Watersheds Data System represents an important step forward in Pennsylvania’s water resources management toolkit. Among other things, it allows everyone to see where regular monitoring is taking place and where it may not be taking place. This will help governments and private citizens alike understand the condition of the environment as well as fill in gaps where information is lacking. DEP is a strong contributor to the project both financially and in terms of scientific expertise and we’re excited to see it come to fruition,” commented PA DEP Deputy Secretary for Water Management, Cathleen Myers.

With the state and federal governments poised to spend millions of dollars treating contaminated coal mine discharges, the system will be available to help policymakers compare “before” and “after” conditions at affected streams.

POWR is a nonprofit organization that strives for the protection, restoration, and enjoyment of our water resources, and conducts programs that foster stewardship, communication, leadership and action. Other programs coordinated through POWR include the Pennsylvania River Sojourn Program, educational, multi-day canoeing and float trips that have been organized throughout Pennsylvania and along many of its waterways since the 1980’s and the Pennsylvania Stream Signage Program, which has marked 4,064 stream crossings across Pennsylvania.

CONTACT:

Judy Jordan

Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers

Phone: 717-234-7910

Fax: 717-234-7929

jjordan@pawatersheds.org

http://www.pawatersheds.org

 

148 Request For Proposals for AML Applied Science Projects 2005-12-21 08:33:09

The Department of Interior, Office of Surface Mining (OSM), National Technology Transfer Team (NTTT) is issuing a Request for Proposals (RFP) requesting technical and cost proposals for applied science projects that have the potential for improving, in a manner that protects the public and the environment, the efficiency with which the coal industry conducts surface coal mining and reclamation activities and the regulatory authorities regulate these activities.

Proposals submitted shall be related to the topical areas identified by the NTTT as needing special emphasis. The general topical areas (to be further delineated in the RFP) include: hydrology issues; steep slope mining and reclamation; underground mine mapping; use of coal combustion by-products or other recycled materials; landscape stability; soil development on reclaimed lands; vegetation assessment; wildlife conservation and reforestation; and cropland reclamation.

The notice response date is March 31, 2006. As this solicitation covers numerous mining related topics, feel free to pass this notice on to interested parties.

For more information and to register please visit the web site:

http://www.fbo.gov/spg/DOI/OSM/1438/IFB612014/listing.html

Source:

Lois J. Uranowski P.E.

Civil Engineer

Office of Surface Mining

Appalachian Region

3 Parkway Center

Pittsburgh, PA 15220

412 937-2805

luranowski@osmre.gov

 

147 Centre County mine reclamation project gets a boost in the pocketbook 2005-12-21 08:22:15

A $22-thousand dollar payment was given to finish reclamation of the abandoned Vail Mine in Rush Township, Centre County.

Junior Coal Contracting Incorporated of Phillipsburg received the contract and will backfill and grade two sedimentation ponds, plus two thousand feet of ditch.

Once grading and backfilling is completed, trees will be planted on seven acres of the site.

Power Operating Company of Phillipsburg received a permit in 1986 to mine 95 acres of the Lower, Middle and Upper Kittanning coal seams at the Vail Mine. The company had finished mining and begun reclamation of the site when it entered bankruptcy in 2000, forfeiting money when it was unable to complete its reclamation responsibilities.

Work on Vail Mine is now expected to finish in July 2006.

Source:

Gene Starr

News Director

WPPA-AM/WAVT-FM

P.O. Box 540

Pottsville, PA 17901

(W) 570-622-4440

(F) 570-622-2822

gstarr@pbcradio.com

 

146 Authority approves dredge agreement 2005-12-16 16:30:11 Thursday, 15 December 2005

By L.A. TARONE Hazleton Standard Speaker – tarone@standardspeaker.com

The City of Hazleton will receive $1.25 per cubic yard of dredge material imported, with a minimum royalty payment of $250,000 annually for the next 20 years. That figure was contained in the Site Development Agreement approved by the Redevelopment Authority during its special meeting Thursday afternoon.

The agreement, a lease of 277 acres with an option to buy, is between HRA and Hazleton Creek Properties LLC , the subsidiary of Mark Development, Kingston, which is planning to build an amphitheater on the abandoned mine site. There are other fees included in the agreement as well.

HCP will pay $200,000 as a rental payment up front. HRA will use that money to execute its purchase agreement with Pagnotti Enterprises, the owner of the land right now.

HCP will also pay the city 50 cents per cubic yard, which will be channeled into a fund to cover the cost of the amphitheater (called the Amphitheater Contingency Fund in the agreement). Plus, HCP will put another 25 cents per cubic yard into a fund to assist development citywide (called the Economic Development Fund Fee in the agreement).

The agreement passed the board 4-0, with Chairman Bob Dougherty, Larry Tedesco, Paul Capparell and new member Lynn Gorski all voting “yes.” Gerry Palermo was absent.

Dee Deakos was the only person in the audience. She asked several questions related to the agreement. One question was whether HCP was liable for any other payment to the city to exercise the option to own the land. Solicitor Dave Glassberg said there was no other payment spelled out. But noting the royalty fees, the clause that requires HCP to cap the existing landfill at its own expense, and the clause that requires HCP to pay for additional testing of dredge material upon city demands, he said the agreement contained other “significant consideration.”

Dougherty underscored the $250,000 minimum annually, “whether any material is brought in during any given year or not.”

“So, if they bring up a million cubic yards one year, you’ll get $1.25 million?” Deakos asked.

“That’s correct,” Dougherty answered.

“But if they bring nothing in the next year, you’ll still get $250,000?” Deakos asked.

“That’s correct,” Dougherty said.

Deakos asked whether there were clauses in the agreement to impose a penalty on HCP if contaminated dredge is brought in. Dougherty said HCP would be responsible for any remediation ordered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. He added that the agreement gave the city the option of doing up to 12 unannounced “spot checks” on the material per year. He said any costs associated with them would be borne by HCP.

“We would take a sample and split it in half,” Dougherty said. “We’d get our half tested; the other half would be given to HCP and they’d get it tested so we can verify each other’s results.”

The agreement itself is 21 pages long. In addition to the fees and costs discussed publicly, “5b.” also requires HCP to put up $75,000 for the cost of moving an existing PPL power line. The clause further states that if the cost exceeds that, HRA will pick up the balance.

Section 10 requires HCP to inform the city of the delivery of any material within three days of receipt, and to pay the royalty within 30 days of delivery. However, 10c. allows HCP to carry a credit for years in which the royalty payment exceeds the minimum $250,000, and to use that credit to cover years when no material is brought in.

It reads, in part: “For example, if the HRA receives ($1 million) in royalty payments in calendar year 2006, and if no dredge material is brought to the property or capacity at the property is sold for the calendar years 2007, 2008, and 2009, HCP shall owe no minimum royalty payment to the HRA in those years.”

Conversely, the next sentences require HCP to meet the minimum $250,000 royalty payment in years where dredge intake otherwise wouldn’t result in a $250,000 payment and when there is no “credit” available.

“For example, if in the calendar year 2006, HCP signs its first contract to deliver dredge material on Oct. 1 requiring HCP to pay the HRA a royalty payment of $100,000 within 30 days and HCP acquires no more dredge material and sells no capacity at the property for the remainder of 2006, HCP is required to pay the HRA an additional $150,000 on or before Dec. 15, 2006.”

Another clause, 14b., states that if HCP decides not to build the amphitheater, HRA will receive all money in the Amphitheater Contingency Fund.

Further clauses require HCP to make all test results available to HRA and to pay all real estate transfer taxes and utilities bills associated with the property and its ownership transfer.

HCP is considered in default if it fails to provide HRA with any of the documentation spelled out, fails to make any of the royalty payments as stipulated or through the “failure to comply with any other provision of this (agreement).”

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Edit Edit Edit Inline Edit Copy Copy Delete Delete 144 Hazle Township Planning Commission Hosts GIS Workshop on Abandoned Mine Reclamat 2005-12-15 14:44:59 Contact: Robert E. Hughes

EPCAMR Program Manager-Luzerne Conservation District

570-674-7993

The entire Hazle Township Planning Commission, Luzerne County, on Wednesday evening from 6-9 PM were present and accounted for and served as the host municipality in partnership with the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation and the Luzerne Conservation District who conducted a very valuable, thorough, and technical two hour GIS Mapping Workshop of Luzerne County’s Abandoned Mine Reclamation Inventory that was in Hazle Township’s best interest. The GIS Mapping Workshop was just one in a series of free workshops that are planned for local governments, not only in Luzerne County that are impacted by abandoned mine lands or abandoned mine drainage, but in those municipalities throughout the Northeast part of Pennsylvania in other counties as well.

The Workshops have been conducted by staff from the EPCAMR Program at the Luzerne Conservation District, in particular, Robert E. Hughes-Program Manager and Regional Coordinator for the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR), Mike Hewitt-Watershed Outreach Coordinator for EPCAMR, Rob Lavelle-Municipal GIS Technician for EPCAMR, and Valerie Taylor- Office of Surface Mining/VISTA Community Outreach Coordinator, who is working with EPCAMR and the Luzerne Conservation District throughout the next year on dozens of community service, environmental education, and watershed outreach efforts to local governments and community watershed organizations.

EPCAMR received a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant funded in part by the Federal Office of Surface Mining to conduct regional GIS Mapping workshops in the Northeastern part of Pennsylvania in partnership with local governments and planning commissions to provide municipalities that do not currently have GIS capabilities or large-scale mapping reproduction with free GIS Maps, depicting first and foremost, an updated inventory of abandoned mine land features, problem areas, acreages of abandoned mine lands, watershed boundaries, streams miles impacted by abandoned mine drainage, topographic contours, elevation models, and dozens of other available data sources that might make their local decision making processes easier and their community better informed.

Paul Matulevich, Hazle Township Planning Commission Chair, was put in contact with the EPCAMR Regional Coordinator, Mr. Robert Hughes, who also happens to be the Chair of his hometown Planning Commission in Plymouth Township, Luzerne County, for the last few years to talk about hosting the workshop a few months back. Having a shared vision of providing both of their communities with any available tools, data, maps, resources, and extended partnerships with other non-profit organizations and the Luzerne Conservation District, the two gentlemen set a date for the GIS Mapping Workshop in Hazle Township and both started to spread the word. Every municipality that surrounded Hazle Township, including the City of Hazleton were mailed a letter of invitation to the GIS Workshop, and even asked to consider hosting the workshop that Hazle Township, eventually took EPCAMR up on. Sadly enough, only two residents from Hazle Township made it to the meeting and the entire Planning Commission as well as its Solicitor was in attendance and none of the surrounding municipalities sent any representatives. However, the EPCAMR Program staff were not discouraged by the low turnout, and it actually allowed for the Hazle Township Planning Commission members and the two audience members to very informally ask questions about specific areas in Hazle Township and concerns that they had related to stormwater management and infiltration practices on abandoned mine lands, among other topics of discussion.

A draft copy of a digital elevation relief GIS Map complete with an Inventory of all of the abandoned mine lands and feature points that are contained within a State and Federal database known as NAMLIS (National Abandoned Mine Land Inventory System) that is currently maintained by both the PA DEP and the Federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM), along with a roads layer for geographic reference was given to the Planning Commission to show the Hazle Township Board of Supervisors or any members of the public the Map for reference and educational purposes. The EPCAMR Program Staff at the Luzerne Conservation District have been working in partnership with the PA DEP and the OSM to more accurately reflect the numbers of acres of abandoned mine lands that have been reclaimed to date, the number of stream miles that have been remediated to date, and the locations of abandoned mine drainage treatment systems across PA that will show a true reflection of the amount of progress that has nearly been completed over the last 3 decades.

Because of Hazle Township’s Planning Commission progressive attitude towards considering the possibility of the use of the GIS Maps and the technology tool as a planning resource in the near future, they will now receive 3 large scale full color production GIS Maps, suitable for framing, if they’d like, as a part of the grant from EPCAMR, that will depict all of the abandoned mine land features, problem areas, streams impacted by AMD, and many other GIS Datasets that are readily available from EPCAMR that are housed on a server at the Luzerne Conservation District. Rob Lavelle-EPCAMR Municipal Outreach Technician will be working closely with the Planning Commission staff over the Winter months to complete the maps for Hazle Township. They already received a 3-ring binder complete entitled, “AMD in Your Community”, a Resource Guide for both municipal, elected, appointed officials, and the general public on AMD, abandoned mine reclamation, resource contacts, fact sheets, an environmental complaint referral sheet, presentation materials, and a CD-ROM that has the entire 3-ring Resource Guide on it and dozens of other documents, resources, presentations, and materials that are related to AMD, the Chesapeake Bay 2000 Agreement, and on abandoned mine reclamation, in general.

The EPCAMR Program Staff were greatly appreciative of the fact that the Planning Commission hosted the GIS Mapping Workshop and were very impressed by the Hazle Township Commons Facility and the fact that a Wireless Network “bubble”, as they called it, was available during the meeting that allowed EPCAMR to surf the web and show the Planning Commission members other facets, technical assistance, grant writing assistance, and professional services that EPCAMR and the other Luzerne Conservation District Staff could provide to them and other municipalities, by linking to our respective websites, at www.orangewaternetwork.org and www.luzernecd.org. The Hazle Township Planning Commission will also be providing EPCAMR with an in-kind match for the use of the facility that will be reported to our granting agency that will show that we were able to leverage the grant funds that we received even further, by not having to pay the cost to rent another facility to hold the workshop.

For more details or quotes directly from those in attendance, you may want to contact Paul Matulevich, 570-455-2039-Chair of the Hazle Township Planning Commission directly to get some feedback as to what the members thought of the workshop and its content.

 

143 Lack of funding delays mine, watershed projects, critics say 2005-12-07 16:02:05

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

BY BRETT LIEBERMAN – THE PATRIOT-NEWS

WASHINGTON – A lack of federal funds to clean polluted watersheds, such as those damaged by coal mine run-off in 44 Pennsylvania counties, drew bipartisan complaints from frustrated lawmakers and conservation officials.

Watershed restoration efforts have long been underfunded, and the problem has worsened in recent years because of cuts by the Bush administration and lawmakers directing money to their own projects.

The result is a $1.5 billion backlog for more than 2,000 projects that are needed to provide clean drinking water and other benefits to 48 million Americans.

“While I know that the administration may have good intentions, I also know that the current backlog of requests for funds shows that funding requests will not disappear no matter how efficient the government becomes,” U.S. Rep. Frank D. Lucas, R-Okla., said during a hearing by a House agriculture subcommittee.

Ed Wytovich, an eighth-grade science teacher at Upper Dauphin Middle School and president of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, said that acid runoff from abandoned mines is the largest water pollution problem in the state. Such runoff contaminates more than 3,000 miles of streams, he said.

“Our ability to form coalitions and raise awareness has brought some success, but the largest obstacle remains federal assistance,” he said.

Pennsylvania received some assistance from the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, but the needs vastly exceed the funds it provides.

Officials did not know how much it would cost to clean the state’s watersheds, but the total tab for cleaning all of Pennsylvania’s abandoned mines, including watersheds, has been estimated at $15 billion.

“Improving water quality in coal mining areas, which are mostly rural, is important not only for the environment and surrounding communities, but also for agriculture that uses the water,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Holden, D-Schuylkill, the ranking Democrat on the Conservation, Credit, Rural Development and Research subcommittee.

The lack of funding has meant that even projects authorized by the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, a part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, may remain on the list indefinitely.

“There is a lot of needs that are not being met,” said U.S. Rep. Ed Case, D-Hawaii, who said one of his local projects waiting for funding was authorized in 1972.

Bruce I. Knight, the NRCS chief, said the agency’s hands are tied by a lack of funding. But he said slow progress is being made.

Source:

Jan Jarrett, Vice President

PennFuture

610 N. 3rd Street

Harrisburg, PA 17101

717-214-7924

jarrett@pennfuture.org

www.pennfuture.org

 

142 Congressional Agriculture Subcommittee Reviews USDA Watershed Programs 2005-12-07 10:36:02

Contact: Trish Reilly-Hudock (202) 225-5546

Washington, DC – The House Agriculture Committee, Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Rural Development and Research, today held a hearing to review the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Watershed Programs. Congressman Holden, Ranking Member of the Subcommittee, invited Ed Wytovich (Ashland, PA), President of the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR), to testify at the hearing.

Congressman Holden commented, “Today’s hearing was an important opportunity to provide a good review of the value of watershed programs under the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). It seems to me that these programs are what I call “trickle-up” efforts; by improving local watersheds we can contribute significantly to the revival of larger watersheds, to where the smaller creeks, streams, and rivers flow.

The most successful, comprehensive watershed projects have a strong partnership of stakeholders from the local community and receive assistance from those with technical expertise like NRCS. Local watershed coalitions and conservation organizations have a vested interest in improving water and environmental quality in their communities.”

Holden continued, “Ed has started many watershed groups in his community. These organizations have helped to create restoration plans for waterways that are impaired largely by polluted water draining from abandoned coal mines in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Coalitions like the ones that Ed has formed, are the essential ingredient in a watershed restoration recipe. The other crucial ingredients are technical and financial assistance from specialists such as the Natural Resource Conservation Service. With all of these resources mixed together, the recipe is a grand-champion state fair winner.”

Ed Wytovich in his testimony stated, “I have been actively involved in land and waters restoration projects in the Anthracite Region of Northeastern Pennsylvania for over 30 years. I have worked with several conservation groups, industry representatives, elected officials, and students to help found ten watershed organizations in the Commonwealth. The work we have been able to accomplish is proof that building partnerships is essential to any winning watershed strategy, and the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Resource Conservation and Development Councils (RC&DC) and the Conservation Districts are a vital component of our team.”

Wytovich continued, “Pennsylvania’s watershed groups can point to several successes, but there is much work left to be done. We believe our efforts to bring all parties to the table may be stifled due to the elimination of important programs such as RAMP (Rural Abandoned Mine Program) and lack of federal funding for RC&DC’s and staff. It is my hope that I’ve shed some light on a small, but equally important program and that we can continue to work together to address our watershed concerns.”

Currently, the backlog for watershed protection and flood prevention operations (P.L. 566, and P.L. 534) is $1.85 billion nationwide and $21 million for Pennsylvania. The NRCS watershed programs, such as P.L. 566 Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program, the Watershed Rehabilitation Program, and Emergency Watershed Protection Program, improve and protect water quality, prevent flooding, and reduce hazards in communities.

The hearing was held in 1300 Longworth House Office Building at 1:30 p.m. Congressman Frank Lucas, (OK) is the Subcommittee Chairman.

 

141 Growing Greener 1 Announcements 2005-11-17 12:07:53

[b]Governor Rendell Investing to Improve PA’s Economy, Environment; Awards $14.4 Million in Growing Greener Funds[/b]

HARRISBURG – November 17, 2005 , As part of Governor Edward G. Rendell’s aggressive agenda to improve the state’s economy and environment, Pennsylvania is investing $14.4 million to help local conservation organizations clean up watersheds, enhance environmental protection and revitalize communities across Pennsylvania. The money will fund 129 project grants through Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener program.

“These grants will improve the quality of our waterways, address serious environmental problems at mine sites and make our communities more livable,” Governor Rendell said. “Pennsylvania needs clean streams, protected open spaces and uncontaminated sites in order to win the race for new business development, enhance our economic competitiveness and create the jobs we critically need.

“Growing Greener is supporting our efforts to grow our economy. At the same time, it’s cleaning up our environment and conserving our exceptional natural resources.”

Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty made the grants announcement a little more than a week after Governor Rendell announced the first $65 million in grants under voter-approved Growing Greener II bond initiative. That law brought to fruition more than a year of aggressive efforts by the Governor to address some of the state’s most pressing environmental problems and help the state win the race for revitalized communities, new business and job creation.

The Secretary also said that DEP is now accepting applications for the 2006 watershed restoration and protection grants to be awarded in the eighth year of Growing Greener as well as Growing Greener II. The deadline to apply is March 3.

“Governor Rendell is making the investments we need today to keep Pennsylvania “˜growing greener’ well into the future,” McGinty said. “Cleaning up rivers and streams, protecting natural areas and open spaces, preserving working farms , these are priorities all of us share. Growing Greener is a powerful tool to address these pressing environmental issues while partnering with local communities to help revitalize our economy.”

Included in the $14.4 million, which represents the seventh round of funding awarded by DEP under the traditional Growing Greener program, are the following: $9.3 million in traditional watershed grants, $1.6 million in federal Office of Surface Mining Title IV grants, $1.9 million for the beneficial use of acid mine discharge to clean state waterways and $537,081 in 10 percent set-aside funds for state-federal mine reclamation projects. In addition, DEP is recommending $1.1 million in Nonpoint Source Implementation Program Grants, funded through Section 319(h) of the federal Clean Water Act.

Since 1999, DEP has supplied $172 million in watershed grants for 1,497 projects in all 67 counties of Pennsylvania. The grants are used to create or restore wetlands, restore stream buffer zones, eliminate causes of nonpoint source pollution, plug oil and gas wells, reclaim abandoned mine lands, and restore aquatic life to streams that were lifeless due to acid mine drainage.

For the upcoming grant round, DEP will invest in projects that seek to address nonpoint source pollution, such as comprehensive watershed plan implementation; legacy sediment and stream restoration; nutrient and sediment trading; long-term operation and maintenance for watershed projects and mine drainage treatment systems; urban and agricultural runoff; and upgrades to on-lot sewage systems.

Eligible projects also could include reducing nonpoint source pollution in watersheds where streams are impaired; designing practices and activities that support water quality trading initiatives; integrating stormwater management and flood protection into watershed management; encouraging the beneficial use of abandoned mine pool water; and integrating air deposition controls and management with mitigating water quality problems.

Deadline for submitting applications to the DEP Grants Center is March 3. Applications must be postmarked no later than that day. If hand delivered, the package must be received by 4:30 p.m. on March 3. Late submissions will not be considered.

For more information on Growing Greener, visit DEP’s Web site at www.dep.state.pa.us, Keyword: “Growing Greener.”

[i]AMD/AML Related Projects are placed in Italics[/i]

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a list by county of the $9.3 million in Growing Greener watershed restoration and protection grants:

[b]ADAMS[/b]

Watershed Alliance of Adams County Inc. – $14,076 for the operation and maintenance of the East Berling stream gauge.

[b]ALLEGHENY[/b]

3 Rivers Wet Weather Inc. – $50,000 to develop a water quality monitoring plan for bacteria in the three rivers area of Pittsburgh.

North Area Environmental Council – $19,251 for a stream channel and riparian assessment of the Pine Creek Watershed.

[b]ARMSTRONG[/b]

Armstrong Conservation District – $72,899 to install agricultural best management practices in the Patterson Run watershed with water quality monitoring during the pre- and post-construction phases to do*****ent results.

[b]BEAVER[/b]

Beaver County Conservation District – $110,000 to continue installation of agricultural best management practices and target farms in the Raccoon Creek Watershed.

[b]BEDFORD[/b]

Bedford County Conservation District – $77,800 to address soil loss by putting in place year-round no-till operations at farming operations through the Crop Management Association.

[b]BERKS[/b]

Foundation for the Reading Public Museum – $24,248 to design and obtain permits for an 850-foot reach of Wyomissing Creek above the area where two dams were removed in 2004, using new techniques for restoration.

[b]BLAIR[/b]

Altoona – $115,000.00 to finish restoration of Mill Run by stabilizing stream banks, removing debris and using structures for better stream flow.

[b]BRADFORD[/b]

Bradford County Conservation District – $2,500 for a team of nutrient and conservation planners to visit 58 farms in the North Branch Towanda Creek subwatershed to develop an inventory and evaluate best management practices to reduce pollution from agricultural operations.

Bradford County Conservation District – $60,000 to supplement Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) buffer projects which include four miles of buffer restoration with fencing, two miles of buffer restoration without fencing, 10 acres of buffer maintenance and rotational grazing system components.

Schrader Creek Watershed Association – $120,000 to construct a passive treatment system to mitigate the effects of chronic acidification of Little Schrader Creek. The project was designed through a previously funded Growing Greener grant. Little Schrader Creek is considered an “exceptional value” cold water fishery.

[b]BUTLER[/b]

Butler County Conservation District – $4,037 for a manure-testing program for farmers. A nutrient management technician would discuss and help calculate proper application rates.

[b]CAMBRIA[/b]

Greater Johnstown Watershed Association – $14,300 to provide organizational support for a new urban watershed association to increase membership and address environmental problems (including stormwater control) in the greater Johnstown area.

[b]CAMERON[/b]

Cameron County Conservation District – $46,000 to help address the single worse source of acid mine drainage in the Sterling Run Watershed through the design of a passive treatment system at May Hollow 49 to restore approximately 6.2 miles of stream connecting trout populations in the headwaters to emerging populations in Sterling Run.

[b]CARBON[/b]

Jim Thorpe – $48,583 to prepare designs and permits needed to construct stream channel protection, restoration and stabilization on two sections of Slaughterhouse Creek.

[b]CENTRE [/b]

[i]Moshannon Creek Watershed Coalition – $15,000 to develop a restoration plan for Shimmel Run, a two-mile long stream affected by acid mine discharge. [/i]

Moshannon Creek Watershed Coalition – $30,000 to clean up the first polluted discharge on a major unnamed tributary to Trout Run.

Moshannon Creek Watershed Coalition – $30,000 to clean up the second major polluted discharge affecting Trout Run.

[b]CHESTER[/b]

Tredyffrin Township – $40,000 to restore approximately 2,400 linear feet of severely eroded stream bank along two branches of Trout Creek.

[b]CLEARFIELD[/b]

Trout Unlimited, Allegheny Mountain Chapter – $20,000 to determine the magnitude of the acidification problem in Trout Run, a tributary to the West Branch of the Susquehanna, and develop a progressive restoration plan to mitigate this problem.

Clearfield County Conservation District – $1,400 for startup funds for a new watershed group’s efforts to do work on Deer Creek and help restore the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.

Clearfield County Conservation District – $40,000 to purchase monitoring equipment and supplies to construct weirs, pay for sample analysis and to produce outreach materials to recruit volunteers for Deer Creek and West Branch of the Susquehanna River cleanups.

[b]CLINTON[/b]

Clinton County Conservation District – $40,000 to fund agricultural best management practices on farms in the Fishing Creek Watershed.

[b]CRAWFORD[/b]

Fairfield Township – $70,000 to assess and develop a restoration plan for Wyman Run, which contributes excessive sediment to French Creek.

[b]*****BERLAND[/b]

Camp Hill – $45,800 for the Willow Park Stream Restoration Project, which involves the design and rehabilitation of 1,400 linear feet of an urban stream in the borough as part of the Cedar Run watershed restoration initiative, a multi-municipal effort to restore a cold water fishery in the Yellow Breeches Watershed.

*****berland County Conservation District – $50,000 to install agricultural best management practices on farms in the Three Square Hollow Watershed.

[b]DAUPHIN[/b]

Harrisburg – $37,471 for Paxton Creek Watershed restoration.

Harrisburg – $25,000 to design and permit a stream corridor rehabilitation project along lower Asylum Run within city limits.

Paxton Creek Watershed and Education Association – $32,825 for a stream corridor restoration project that would measurably reduce sediment and nutrient yield to Wildwood Lake and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.

[b]DELAWARE[/b]

Springfield Township – $30,000 to design a variety of stormwater management best management practices at a 13-acre municipal property located in a very urbanized area. This project is seen as having an important education and outreach element because of the visibility of the location.

[b]FAYETTE[/b]

Fayette County Conservation District – $25,351 to make no-till equipment available to farmers and reduce soil erosion and nutrient runoff through out the county.

Fayette County Conservation District – $29,593 to provide fund-raising technical assistance to the four county watershed groups to help them become viable, long-term sustainable organizations.

[b]HUNTINGDON[/b]

Pennsylvania State University – $60,000 to study, assess and install agricultural best management practices on impaired reaches of county streams.

[b]INDIANA[/b]

Indiana County Conservation District – $90,000 to install agricultural best management practices at various farms.

[i]Blackleggs Creek Watershed Association – $24,000 to design ponds to treat the 360-gallons-per-minute deep-mine discharge in the watershed.

Evergreen Conservancy – $11,000 to fix acid mine discharge seep on the South Branch Bear Run with treatment ponds, 25 acres of site reclamation and 2000 feet of stream bank stabilization.[/i]

[b]JEFFERSON[/b]

[i]Headwaters Charitable Trust – $40,000 to design two passive treatment systems for acid mine discharge.[/i]

[b]JUNIATA[/b]

Juniata County Conservation District – $37,800 for the third part of watershed assessment to identify nonpoint source pollution from land use.

Juniata County Conservation District – $50,000 to use five concentrated poultry operations to study aspects of manure management.

[b]LANCASTER[/b]

Lancaster County Academy – $2,000 to replant wetland with native plants and reduce amount of invasive purple loose strife. The project also includes water quality testing and signage.

Lancaster County Conservation District – $3,700 to create and maintain a county-wide Web site, run by the conservation district, that all watershed and conservation groups in the county could share information on, and to purchase a “groundwater Karst model” for education programs.

Chiques Creek Watershed Alliance- $4,687 for purchasing additional water quality monitoring kits and signage for recently completed stream restoration project.

[b]LAWRENCE[/b]

Lawrence County Conservation District – $60,000 to implement agricultural best management practices on Lawrence County farms.

Lawrence County Conservation District – $12,385 for a series of training sessions to encourage proactive implementation to minimize watershed impacts and determine community development objectives for Mahoning, Union and Pulaski townships.

LUZERNE

Luzerne Conservation District – $74,000 to help municipalities with surface and drainage improvements to dirt roads.

[i]Wildlands Conservancy Inc. – $44,222 to design a passive treatment system to treat the Owl Hole mine discharge and reduce metals going into the Lehigh River.[/i]

[b]LYCOMING[/b]

Lycoming College – $10,000 to support efforts of the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition of Environmental Studies, a collaboration of local colleges and universities interested in learning about and stewardship opportunities with the river.

Lycoming College – $5,989 to update the current Natural Stream Channel Design guidelines written in March of 2003.

[b]MONROE[/b]

Brodhead Watershed Association – $155,000 for a six-component project to protect Paradise Watershed.

[b]MONTGOMERY[/b]

Montgomery County Community College – $5,020 to continue work on two existing stormwater retention basins and an 800-foot drainage channel transecting them both through the use of native vegetation and a barrier upstream of outfall for longer detention of water.

[b]MULTIPLE COUNTIES[/b]

[i]Blacklick Creek Watershed Association Inc. – $27,000 to drill nine borings and study a small shallow deep mine using wells and dye in order to correlate rainfall and the seven acid mine discharge seeps which produce a total of 51 gallons per minute.[/i]

Cambria County Conservation District – $50,000 to conduct an assessment of the 129-square-mile Chest Creek Watershed in Cambria and Clearfield counties and develop a restoration plan.

Capital Resource Conservation & Development Area Council Inc. – $300,000 to establish adoption of no-till agriculture production systems in the southcentral regional area.

Chesapeake Bay Foundation Inc – $122,000 to implement a pilot precision dairy feeding program in the Susquehanna River basin in Pennsylvania over a two-year period. The program will enlist 40 dairy farmers and educate the farmers and their animal nutritionists, veterinarians and feed company representatives on precision feeding benefits and opportunities.

Ducks Unlimited Inc – $488,824 to conduct field visits and surveys, and to help with design and construction management of wetlands in the Ohio Basin.

Earth Force Inc., DBA Lake Erie-Allegheny Earth Force – $35,134 to educate adults, youth group leaders and children on nonpoint sources of pollution.

Huntingdon County Conservation District – $1,627 for a startup watershed organization.

Community Partnerships Resource Conservation and Development Council – $216,300 to promote the use of precision rotational grazing systems as best management practices to reduce sediment and phosphorus.

[i]Moshannon Creek Watershed Coalition – $71,460 to address acid mind drainage in this central Pennsylvania creek. The headwaters of Moshannon Creek sustain a viable fishery. The downstream portion of Moshannon Creek supplies the city of Houtzdale with a drinking water supply. [/i]

Natural Lands Trust Inc. – $95,000 to target more effective conservation outreach and implementation on issues such as land use, storm water, source water protection and drinking water supply protection.

The Nature Conservancy- $108,864 to develop and use a new method to provide water managers with an instream flow assessment tool. The tool will provide users with the ability to assess and set limits on the degree to which instream flows can be altered depending on the designated uses to be protected and /or restored.

Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts Inc – $170,000 to provide engineering and soils assistance to groups developing or implementing a watershed assessment, watershed restoration plan or watershed protection plan.

Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts Inc. – $2,244,000 for administrative support and state cost-share funds to farmers enrolled in the state’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program in the 59 counties of the Susquehanna, Potomac and Ohio River watersheds.

Pennsylvania Environmental Council Inc. – $302,000 to deliver a water quality trading platform and registry design for the Chesapeake Bay Basin in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society – $250,000 to restore tree cover to a five-county area in southeastern Pennsylvania and to plant riparian buffers, helping to enhance water quality.

Pennsylvania State University – $59,000 to develop a specialized urban model to estimate nutrient and sediment load reduction for watershed implementation plans.

Pennsylvania State University – $116,000 to build a Pennsylvania-specific, eco-regional varying model of the relation between nutrients, algal biomass, and species composition in streams.

Pennsylvania State University – $76,886 to create algorithms that will reduce the amount of effort needed to conduct an analysis of stream nutrient loads.

Pennsylvania State University – $56,000 to develop and incorporate a pathogen loading estimation routine within a new urban model for nutrient and sediment loads. This tool will estimate loadings pathogens based upon available data rather than sampling.

Pennsylvania State University – $132,300 to study variability in phosphorus levels to determine healthy level of stream periphyton.

Pennsylvania State University – $51,189 to estimate the maximum quantities of water consumed by livestock and used for irrigation for vegetable, fruit, and specialty crop production in Pennsylvania.

Pocono Northeast Resource Conservation & Development Council – $140,000 to provide technical assistance and quality control to watershed groups throughout the state. The multi-disciplinary team offers watershed specific technical assistance, mentoring and quality assurance/quality control assistance.

Somerset Conservation District – $159,000 for agricultural landowners in a 15-county area of southwestern Pennsylvania and for the installation of prescribed grazing practices for 19 farms.

Pennsylvania Envirothon Inc. – $65,000 for this environmental education program that reaches over 15,000 high school students in more than 700 public and private schools in all of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties.

Susquehanna County Conservation District – $104,082 to address nonpoint source pollution water quality impairments by implementing various best management practices on impaired streams, wetlands, and agricultural lands in the Meshoppen Creek and Tunkhannock Creek watersheds.

[i]Turtle Creek Watershed Association Inc. – $115,000 to eliminate the discharge by draining the mine pool through a barrier into the Irwin mine pool. This will restore five miles of Turtle Creek by reducing acid and metals loading. [/i]

Villanova University – $96,340 to use a newly developed procedure to identify the source of fecal contamination in waters. The project would establish a database of 2000 possible sources.

Villanova University – $175,000 to advance evolving comprehensive stormwater management and faster development of public and private partnerships.

Wanashee Conservancy Inc. – $70,000 to develop a Watershed Plan for the Robinson Run Watershed.

[i]Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation – $5,000 to support the South Sandy Creek Watershed Association’s development, its education and outreach efforts, and supply and equipment needs. [/i]

[i]Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation – $166,000 to provide a means for watershed associations and other project sponsors to monitor their constructed passive treatment systems to determine how well they function and to help determine if any repairs, changes or replacements are needed. [/i]

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy – $180,000 to provide technical watershed related assistance to watershed groups, conservation districts, landowners, government officials and the general public.

Wildlands Conservancy Inc. – $65,262 to complete a characterization stream assessment, embeddedness and trout habitat assessment, develop a restoration/stabilization plan and acquire joint permit for construction of structures on the Saucon Creek and two unnamed tributaries totaling 2.61 miles in length.

[b]NORTHAMPTON[/b]

Upper Mount Bethel Township – $73,500 to develop a watershed protection plan and related outreach/education activities to increase awareness of nonpoint source pollution in the Martins-Jacoby Watershed in Northeastern Northampton County.

Monocacy Creek Watershed Association Inc. – $69,595 to develop the Illick’s Mill Park Restoration Master Plan, which will focus on establishing a riparian buffer, wetland aeration, native plantings, sediment transport, improved fish and aquatic habitat, a goose nuisance strategy and an educational outreach program.

Bushkill Stream Conservancy – $12,000 to design and plan a wetland passive treatment system at Sullivan Park. The project will help to reduce siltation and urban/suburban discharge to the Bushkill Creek.

[b]NORTHUMBERLAND[/b]

[i]Northumberland County Conservation District – $29,403 to address the Maysville borehole, which is ranked as the ninth significant discharge that impacts Shamokin Creek with acid mine drainage.[/i]

[b]PHILADELPHIA[/b]

The Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education – $83,260 to plan, develop, test and fine tune an educational program that mirrors the Senior Environmental Corp’s stream water quality monitoring and assessment program but specifically designed and crafted for students.

[b]PIKE[/b]

Pike County Conservation District – $72,000 to provide financial and technical support to municipalities in Pike County. The project will support municipal officials in implementing land-use regulations that will contribute to the long-term conservation of water resources.

[b]POTTER[/b]

Potter County Conservation District – $40,000 for a natural stream channel design project on the Middle Branch of the Genesee River.

[b]SCHUYLKILL[/b]

[i]Schuylkill County Conservation District – $60,000 to collect necessary data to develop a detailed engineering design, complete with cost estimates, for a passive treatment system on the No. 5 borehole and breach, which is the most significant source of metals to the Mahanoy Creek, a tributary to Susquehanna River.[/i]

[b]TIOGA[/b]

[i]Tioga County Concerned Citizens Committee Inc. – $40,000 to design and permit a series of passive alkalinity generating systems to treat acid mine discharge in Fall Brook, a tributary to the Tioga River. [/i]

[i]Tioga County Concerned Citizens Committee Inc. – $45,600 to fund the design, permitting and bid packages for a passive treatment site in the Fall Brook Creek portion of the Tioga River. [/i]

Mansfield Municipal Authority – $25,000 to finalize a watershed management plan for the 23-square-mile Corey Creek Watershed.

[b]UNION[/b]

Buffalo Creek Watershed Alliance of the Merrill Linn Land and Waterways Conservancy – $35,000 to study and design a passive treatment system for the remediation of seven miles of acid deposition impaired stream.

[b]VENANGO[/b]

Venango Conservation District – $60,000 for design and implementation of sustainable best management practices to reduce nonpoint source pollutants such as sediment and nutrients.

[b]WASHINGTON[/b]

Washington – $76,430 for a comprehensive stormwater assessment of the Catfish Creek subbasin within the Chartiers Creek Watershed.

[b]WESTMORELAND[/b]

Pucketa and Chartiers Watershed Association – $41,300 to design a natural stream restoration for a severely eroded section of Chartiers Run in Lower Burrel.

[i]Loyalhanna Watershed Association Inc. – $211,400 to use the mine drainage flow, which is presently polluting Saxman Run, to generate electricity. This power will be used by a treatment system already in place and another system scheduled to come online in the future. Any excess power will supply discreet systems at the Latrobe Sewage Treatment Plant.[/i]

* *

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a list by county of the $537,081 in 10 percent set-aside funds for state-federal mine reclamation project.

[b]CAMBRIA[/b]

[i]Windber – $51,511 for a stream-grouting project aimed at eliminating acid mine discharge at the Jandy Refuse Pile Reclamation Project in the Little Paint Creek Watershed.[/i]

[b]ELK[/b]

[i]Toby Creek Watershed Association Inc. – $452,999 to upgrade the existing Brandy Camp Treatment Plant by installing two additional clarifiers, a raw transfer pump and sub-control panel.[/i]

[b]HUNTINGDON[/b]

[i]Huntingdon County Conservation District – $32,571 to evaluate the failure of the Joller acid mine drainage treatment facilities and design a rehabilitation plan to address the needed repairs[/i]

* *

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a list by county of the $1.1 million in Nonpoint Source Implementation Program Grants, funded through Section 319(h) of the Federal Clean Water Act:

[b]BEDFORD[/b]

[i]Broad Top Township – $8,000 to construct a passive system to treat mine discharge in Six Mile Run. [/i]

[i]Broad Top Township – $182,000 for two separate systems to treat deep-mine seeps. Two separate treatment facilities will be used with settling ponds to capture flushed aluminum into Six Mile Run [/i]

[i]Broad Top Township – $19,000 to construct three systems to treat mine discharge from three seeps in Six Mile Run. [/i]

[i]Broad Top Township – $96,000 to design and construct limestone ponds and ditches to treat five different seeps totaling 22 gallons per minute in Shreves Run. [/i]

[i]Broad Top Township – $10,000 to construct a system to treat a 15- to 20-gallon-per-minute deep-mine seep with a 600-ton limestone passive system.[/i]

[b]BUCKS[/b]

Plumstead Township – $77,247 to modify an existing wet basin stormwater management facility, creating from it a smaller basin with an adjacent wetland of 29,000 square feet.

[b]CENTRE[/b]

Centre County Conservation District – $100,000 to install best management practices on 24 farms in agriculturally impaired watersheds. Landowners will contribute a minimum of 20 percent.

[b]CLEARFIELD[/b]

Clearfield County Conservation District – $9,564 for a complete assessment of the Hartshorn Run Watershed to help support restoration of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River.

[i]Emigh Run/Lakeside Watershed Association Inc. – $99,000 to construct the Hubler Run 2 passive treatment system that will treat three discharges of acid mine drainage that emanate from abandoned drift mines in the watershed.[/i]

[b]HUNTINGDON[/b]

[i]Huntingdon County Conservation District – $29,000 to add limestone to Hartman Run, stabilize the 750-foot access road, construct a stream crossing, riprap a 75-foot stream bank, reclaim small spoil piles eroding into the stream and replant the riparian zone.[/i]

[b]LANCASTER[/b]

Paradise Sportsmen’s Association – $158,485 for stabilization and restoration techniques along 3,725 linear feet of Pequea Creek.

[b]LUZERNE[/b]

Luzerne Conservation District – $48,900 for a watershed and lake assessment for Frances Slo***** Lake. The assessment will be used to prepare a comprehensive management plan.

[b]MONTOUR[/b]

Montour County Conservation District – $22,800 to augment a previous grant for construction of a natural design stream restoration.

[b]SCHUYLKILL[/b]

[i]Schuylkill County Conservation District – $200,000 for the purchase and installation of limestone media to complete the Audenreid Mine Tunnel Discharge project.[/i]

[b]UNION[/b]

SEDA-Council of Governments – $45,000 to support construction of an innovative integrated stormwater management system in the proposed Energy Resource Center. Funding will be used for a green roof, porous paved parking and native plants in bioswales.

* *

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a list by county of the $1.6 million from the federal Office of Surface Mining Title IV grants:

[b]ALLEGHENY[/b]

[i]Allegheny Land Trust – $650,955 to complete the design and construct a passive treatment system to treat high volume, alkaline, iron acid mine drainage. The iron precipitate will be recovered and sold to cover long-term operation and maintenance costs.[/i]

[i]South Fayette Conservation Group – $329,249 to seal mine entries contributing to acid mine discharge to Miller Run, re-establish Fishing Run to its approximate historical channel, eliminate dangerous highwalls in the area and demolish hazardous abandoned mine structures.[/i]

[b]INDIANA[/b]

[i]Blacklick Creek Watershed Association – $93,562 to fund the reconstruction and redesign of the Yellow Creek Phase 2C Passive Treatment System. [/i]

[b]JEFFERSON[/b]

[i]Jefferson County Conservation District – $82,555 for a feasibility study and development of a conceptual design to treat an abandoned mine discharge to Sugar Camp Run so the water can be used for a municipal water supply.[/i]

[b]SCHUYLKILL[/b]

[i]Pottsville – $422,510 for Phase IV of a project to reclaim dangerous abandoned mine land features as a result of subsidence in the city.[/i]

* *

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a list by county of the $1.9 million in innovation grants for the beneficial use of acid mine discharge to clean state waterways:

[b]BUTLER[/b]

[i]Stream Restoration Inc. – $205,957 to evaluate the process and costs of recovering materials from acid mine discharge; determine the consistency of the raw material; pilot scale processing of recovered material; identify product demand; and identify future design improvements to decrease operation, maintenance and implementation.[/i]

[b]ELK[/b]

[i]North Central PA Regional Planning and Development Commission – $74,050 to determine the feasibility of use of the sludge from the Brandy Camp treatment plant to manufacture powdered metals components.[/i]

[b]GREENE[/b]

[i]Concurrent Technologies Corp. – $736,651 for a two-phase enhanced metals recovery program using iron derived from acid mine discharge as a raw material to produce a novel corrosion inhibitor.[/i]

[b]INDIANA[/b]

[i]Western PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation – $299,355 to study the bacteria and provide several carbon sources to determine which products produce the greatest SRB activity.[/i]

[b]MULTIPLE COUNTIES[/b]

[i]Western PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation – $189,813 to optimize the design and operation of self-flushing limestone systems for mine drainage treatment in Butler and Clarion counties. [/i]

[i]Western PA coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation – $279,221 for five pilot-scale demonstrations at different locations treating a variety of acid mine discharge in Lackawanna, Northumberland, Jefferson, Fayette and Westmoreland counties.[/i]

[b]WESTMORELAND[/b]

[i]Saint Vincent College – $111,130 to test the ability of iron oxide sludges to compete with Ferric Chloride and Alum as a medium for removing phosphorous from municipal wastewater treatment plants.[/i]

 

140 PA’s Share of Coal Tax Could Triple 2005-11-07 11:02:23

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Pennsylvania’s share of money to repair damage from abandoned mines could nearly triple under a deal being worked out by federal lawmakers, U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum said Friday.

The money comes from a coal production tax that generates about $300 million a year. Pennsylvania receives about $24 million, and Santorum said he’s working on an agreement to increase the annual amount to about $70 million. Lawmakers are working out the details and hope to include the agreement in a deficit reduction bill that’s headed for a final vote in the next month.

The deal also would secure health insurance for about 16,000 people in Pennsylvania, mostly surviving spouses of miners, Santorum, R-Penn Hills, said.

“This is huge for Pennsylvania,” Santorum said.

Officials long have debated how to distribute the coal tax since its inception in the 1970s.

Half of the money now is divided among states based on their current coal production. An additional fifth is divided based on their past coal production. That formula fails to take into account the fact that Eastern states have more dangerous mine sites and need a larger share of the money, some officials say.

Pennsylvania Coal Association President George Ellis said his group supports any measure that would increase Pennsylvania’s share.

“We have a bigger legacy than other states, so we need the money more,” he said.

But State Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Kurt Knaus said fixing all of the problems still will take decades.

“You’re talking about undoing two centuries of damage to the landscape,” he said.

Pennsylvania needs about $4.6 billion to fix mine sites that pose a threat to public health and safety, according to the U.S. Office of Surface Mining’s database of abandoned mine lands. The rest of the country needs about $2 billion to meet the same goal.

Those figures don’t include money needed for emergencies such as the Oct. 6 collapse of a 1940s mine shaft in Pleasant Hills.

But Jim McElheny, the owner of a shopping center damaged by the collapse, is thankful for the federal program.

The Office of Surface Mining is using coal tax money to pay for a geological study of the mine voids under McElheny’s property. Depending on the results of the study, the agency also could use coal tax money to fill those spaces and prevent future collapses.

McElheny inherited the Old Clairton Road properties from his father, and the buildings have been there for at least 50 years without any subsidence problems, he said. Now he’s not sure whether the ground hasn’t moved in the last two weeks because the old mine has finished collapsing or because it’s getting ready for the “big” one.

“I don’t know if that’s a good sign or a bad sign,” he said.

The study should answer that question within a few weeks, said Richard Ruffolo, a geologist with GAI Consultants Inc., a civil and environmental engineering consulting firm in Homestead. GAI is taking core samples around the property to determine the condition of the rock between the surface and the mined-out areas.

By Brian Bowling

TRIBUNE-REVIEW

bbowling@tribweb.com or (412) 320-7910.

 

139 More Acid Rock Drainage Problems at I-99 Project 2005-11-07 10:54:32

State officials are ordering an investigation into acid-rock drainage in Centre County from an Interstate 99 construction site near Port Matilda four miles west, separate from the acid-drainage problem at Skytop.

That order from the state Department of Environmental Protection to PennDOT says one sample of runoff from near a road cut just west of the new I-99 overpass above Route 220 exceeds limits for iron and acidity, and sulfate levels in groundwater samples are above state limits as well.

DEP wants PennDOT to identify all areas where the pyretic Brailler Shale vein has been disturbed by I-99 construction as well as where excavated material has been placed.

DEP is also demanding a water monitoring plan for the three-mile section that goes around Port Matilda to the north by November 23rd.

 

138 New Mine Subsidence Insurance Website 2005-11-03 11:44:50

Some Pennsylvania homeowners can check a new state Web site to see whether their houses are situated above or near an abandoned mine.

Tom Rathbun from the state Department of Environmental Protection says it can help folks determine if they want to purchase mine subsidence insurance.

While the www.paMSI.org website only has information on areas in Western Pennsylvania, Rathbun says officials are working to scan maps from locations east of the Susquehanna River into the system.

Coal has been mined underground for about 250 years and more than a million Pennsylvania homes sit on or near abandoned mines.

Active underground mining is ongoing in 43 of the state’s 67 counties.

Source:

Gene Starr

News Director

WPPA-AM/WAVT-FM

P.O. Box 540

Pottsville, PA 17901

(W) 570-622-4440

(F) 570-622-2822

gstarr@pbcradio.com

 

137 Growing Greener 2 Announcement 2005-11-03 11:26:24

[b][align=center]GOVERNOR RENDELL SAYS PA INVESTING IN THE FUTURE WITH ENVIRONMENTAL GRANTS; SAFEGUARDING COMMUNITIES,

ATTRACTING BUSINESS INVESTMENT

140 Critical Projects in 50 Counties First to Receive Funding[/align][/b]

HARRISBURG – Nov. 2, 2005– Governor Edward G. Rendell today said Pennsylvania is taking aggressive steps to clean up its rivers and streams, improve parks, revitalize abandoned industrial sites and protect open space and preserve farmland

The Governor announced an investment of $65 million in environmental projects that will help scores of Pennsylvania communities.

Additionally, Governor Rendell said all 67 counties will now be able to apply for $90 million, allocated on a county-by-county basis, for eligible environmental projects. Information on how to apply is going directly to counties today, the Governor added.

“With these projects we deliver on our promise to voters, who approved a $625 million bond issue in May, to make Pennsylvania healthier, a better place to live and more competitive in attracting and supporting business investment,” Governor Rendell said. “In just three months since we reached a final agreement with the legislature, we have our first list of projects. No state is doing more to protect its quality of life or to safeguard tomorrow.”

“Pennsylvania is making an investment in its future and our families, communities and businesses will all share the benefits,” Governor Rendell said. “With this funding we will get 140 critical projects in 50 counties underway, projects that have languished for years because we lacked the money. This is good news for all Pennsylvanians.”

The Governor added that the first installment of $65 million in grants under Growing Greener II brings to fruition more than a year of aggressive efforts to address some of the state’s most pressing environmental problems and help the state win the race for revitalized communities, new business and job creation.

Governor Rendell said the projects fall into various categories including:

“¢ $31.5 million to upgrade state parks and improve state forests

“¢ $14 million to clean up acid mine drainage and other water quality improvements (watershed grants)

“¢ $9.7 million to clean former industrial sites (brownfields)

“¢ $3 million to upgrade our water and sewer infrastructure

“¢ $3.7 million for open space protection

“¢ $2.2 million to use mine water as an economic resource

“¢ $700,000 to remove impacts from dams

Nearly one-quarter of the grants will be used to clean up the state’s rivers and streams, the Governor said. The largest investment, $7.7 million, is going to conservation districts that administer the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, which pays farmers to take land along streams out of production to help decrease agricultural related run-off into major waterways that feed into the Chesapeake Bay, Governor Rendell added.

“With these resources we can move faster to clear polluted and abandoned industrial sites so we can attract new businesses and new jobs,” Governor Rendell said.

The Governor noted that this is not the only planned announcement of environmental grants. He said additional Open Space grants, administered by the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources will be announced this winter. The Department of Environmental Protection also will soon open its round of Growing Greener I and Growing Greener II grants.

And the Department of Agriculture is working with counties to identify state funds needed to match county funds for farmland preservation grants. That announcement is expected in the spring, the Governor said.

Voters in May approved a $625 million bond issue to clean up rivers and streams; protect natural areas, open spaces and working farms; and shore up key programs to improve quality of life and revitalize communities across the commonwealth.

###

The Rendell Administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell’s initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit his Web site at: www.governor.state.pa.us.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The list of projects in 50 counties is attached.

[b]GROWING GREENER II PROJECT LIST

COUNTY LISTING, FUNDING, PROJECT NAME AND DESCRIPTION[/b]

[b]Allegheny[/b]

Allegheny County Department of Parks – $270,027 to construct a treatment facility to treat three acid mine drainage discharges. This Phase II project will decrease loading to Piersons Run, which is a tributary to Turtle Creek.

Big River Development – $759,066 for the former Armstrong Cork factory in Pittsburgh

Lincoln/Larimer – $100,000 for Lincoln/Larimer neighborhood redevelopment in Pittsburgh.

Montour Run Watershed Association – $146,984 to design and construct a passive treatment system to treat the Wilson School discharge (SFMD7) in the Montour Run Watershed. The system will remove 9,000 pounds per year of acidity and 1,000 pounds per year of metals from the South Fork Montour Run.

Progress Street Partners – $251,250 to convert the former Heinz plant to lofts in Robinson Township.

Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh – $17,835 for the former trolley shop in Pittsburgh.

Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh – $116,775 for the Federal North Redevelopment project in this historic neighborhood.

[b]Allegheny/Washington[/b]

Property Manager James Wilharm of Alliance Realty Management- $400,000 for the former Montour railroad right-of-way in Allegheny and Washington counties.

[b]Armstrong[/b]

Roaring Run Watershed Association – $5,260 to repair 200 feet of riparian buffer on both sides of Roaring Run. Replacing the limestone rip-rap will protect the stream banks from further damage, as well as repair the damage caused by major storms to the original 2004 Growing Greener project.

[b]Bedford[/b]

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy – $90,000 for acquisition of approximately 101 acres along Silver Mills Road in Mann Township for open space and watershed protection.

[b]Berks[/b]

Greater Berks Development – $131,250 to remediate Goggle Works, site of a former manufacturing plant in Reading.

Project Development Inc. – $500,000 to remove the deteriorating Felix Dam and restore the river channel in Bern Township.

[b]Blair[/b]

Blair County Conservation District – $97,021 to design and install contour ditches and rock channels to repair a 29-acre bond forfeiture site that is poorly reclaimed and eroding acid sediment into Sugar Run. The main benefit will be to eliminate the severe erosion of acid spoil into Sugar Run, which was estimated to be 57 tons of acidity per year.

Lexington Mall Partners – $750,000 to rehabilitate Altoona Works, a former railroad plant site in Altoona.

[b]Bradford[/b]

Canton Township – $47,000 to stabilize approximately 1,500 feet of eroding stream bank by cutting back banks and revegetating; complete a Triage Environmental Assessment of second through fourth order streams in the Main Stem and South Branch subwatersheds.

Sylvania Borough – $62,500 to fund design, permitting and construction of the stabilization of approximately 18,000 feet of eroding stream banks on two tributaries to Sugar Creek identified as priorities in the watershed assessment. Stream stabilization will be accomplished by regrading and revegetating stream banks and providing rock-toe stabilization.

Wysox Creek Watershed Association – $101,800 for construction of approximately 8,800 feet of a designed and permitted NSCD project on Johnson Creek. This is a continuation of a previously funded project and construction will aid in maintaining stability. The project also includes funding for design and permitting of a second stream restoration project on Trout Stream, which is on the federal impaired waterways list. Both projects were identified as priorities in the Wysox Creek Watershed Assessment and Restoration Plan.

[b]Bucks[/b]

Bucks County Conservation District – $20,639 to stabilize and restore eroded 800 feet of stream bank on Curl’s Run, a tributary to Pidcock Creek, using bioengineering techniques and best management practices; and $19,300 for a four-part project: stabilize 200 feet of eroding stream bank; retrofit two detention basins; evaluate storm water catch basin inserts; and obtain supplemental stream data for oil and grease.

Lower Makefield Township – $1.49 million (two grants) at Westinghouse die plant for a recreation park along Delaware Canal.

Milford Township – $100,000 for acquisition of a conservation easement on approximately 16 acres within Unami Forest, off Wright Road, for open space and critical habitat protection.

Nockamixon State Park – $1.5 million to rehabilitate a sewage collection system in Nockamixon State Park by relining and replacing approximately 10 miles of sewer line.

West Rockhill Township – $100,000 for acquisition of a conservation easement on approximately 12 acres along Twin Lows Road for open space and watershed protection; $45,000 for acquisition of a conservation easement on approximately five acres off Esten Road for open space and watershed protection; and $195,000 for acquisition of a conservation easement on approximately 48 acres off Thousand Acre Road for open space and watershed protection.

[b]Butler[/b]

CDC Environmental Chemcial – $138,750 for work on Shearer Roadat a former chemical plant site in Butler Township.

Stream Restoration Inc. – $5,801 for the Jennings Environmental Education Center acid mine drainage treatment facilities in Brady Township.

[b]Cambria[/b]

Cambria County Conservation District – $77,906 to improve fish and wildlife habitat within a diked flood control project. Terraces and rock barbs will be installed along approximately 2,400 feet of stream channel to narrow a shallow, over-wide channel and create a meandering pattern within the flood control project area. This is the second phase of a two-phase project.

Prince Gallitizin State Park – $700,000 for a complete rehabilitation of a 120,000-gallons-per-day sewage treatment plant at Prince Gallitizin State Park.

[b]Cameron[/b]

Portage – $350,000 to rehabilitate a spring-fed water system at Sizerville State Park.

[b]Carbon[/b]

Hickory Run State Park – $1 million for a complete rehabilitation of a 33,000-gallons-per-day sewage treatment plant at the park; and $295,000 to re-roof selective buildings in the group camps at the park.

[b]Centre[/b]

Pennsylvania State University – $169,420 to reconnect Slab Cabin Run to its wetland floodplain. Slab Cabin Run has been identified as impaired due to acid mine drainage. Reconnection to Millbrook Marsh will provide pollutant removal during rain and improve the functionality of Millbrook Marsh as a bio-retention wetland. This project is in line with the Millbrook Marsh Protection and Management Plan and is in line with the strategic goals of the Spring Creek Watershed Community. The project integrates storm water management and nutrient reduction.

Poe Valley State Park – $1.5 million to replace existing beach house and campground pit latrine at Poe Valley State Park with restrooms that have flush toilets and showers. This project is to be connected to the DGS project for water and sewage.

[b]Chester[/b]

Marsh Creek State Park – $1.3 million for complete rehabilitation of the pool at Marsh Creek State Park, including the filtration building.

Pennsbury Township – $231,900 for acquisition of a conservation easement on approximately 59 acres off Hickory and Hillendale Roads for open space preservation.

Phoenixville Borough – $467,500 for acquisition of approximately 7 acres at the southeast corner of Fillmore and Franklin Streets for expansion of existing Reservoir Park to provide additional athletic fields and open space.

West Caln Township – $550,000 for acquisition of 93 acres along Barren Hills Ridge for open space and watershed protection to create greenway linkages and to expand recreation opportunities.

[b]Clarion[/b]

Forest District 8 – $1.5 million to rehabilitate and add on to an existing district office in Forest District 8.

Knox Township – $97,601 for a passive treatment system to treat two high aluminum abandoned mine discharges in the Licking Creek Watershed Assessment.

[b]Clearfield[/b]

Clearfield County Conservation District – $49,977 to clean up Long Run, a tributary to Clearfield Creek, which is a major tributary to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. Most of the Long Run watershed is affected by acid mine drainage. This grant funds the design, permitting and construction of four diversion wells to raise alkalinity to restore the four miles of stream; $395,880 for the construction of a passive treatment system involving a combination of a vertical flow pond, settling basin and aerobic wetland. This is the first acid mine drainage construction project in the overall restoration plan for Morgan Run; and $267,500 for the construction of a passive treatment system called “Mr. Frog” that involves a combination of a vertical flow pond, settling pond and aerobic wetland. This is the second acid mine drainage construction project in the overall Morgan Run watershed restoration plan. This system will restore 500 feet of an unnamed tributary and 1.5 miles of Morgan Run.

Clearfield County Solid Waste Authority – $25,000 for clean up one of nine illegal dump sites identified in the county that directly threaten surface and/or ground water. The site is in Pike Township and is approximately 8,000 square feet in size. It is located in the headwaters of Hogback Run, a cold water fishery and tributary to the West Branch.

Emigh Run/Lakeside Watershed Association Inc. – $122,260 for the relocation of the headwaters of Emigh Run that flow through deep mine refuse waste. The mine refuse was deposited directly into the stream by an abandoned deep mine operation. The stream relocation will divert stream flow away from the acid spoil piles using natural stream design techniques.

Mosquito Creek Sportsment’s Association Inc. – $143,500 for construction of two innovative alkaline-addition technologies using limestone sand to mitigate the effects of acid deposition in the Mosquito Creek watershed. One project will create a high-flow buffering channel paralleling Gifford Run to neutralize episodic acidification occurring during high-flow events without placing limestone sand directly in the stream channel. The second project will create a vertical flow limestone bed on Lost Run to test the efficiency of using limestone sand in vertical flow wetlands to eliminate the need for compost. Both of these projects are part of the Mosquito Creek Progressive Restoration Plan.

Parker Dam State Park – $600,000 to replace a campground restroom with a new shower house at the Huston Township park.

[b]Clinton[/b]

Kettle Creek State Park – $1.3 million to construct a shower house and sewage system at lower campground at Leidy park.

[b]Columbia[/b]

Columbia County Conservation District – $68,750 to repair an existing natural channel design project at the Kocher Memorial Park — a handicapped accessible nature park. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designed and constructed this project under a DEP Growing Greener Grant in 2000. Then, 1,800 linear feet of bed and bank were stabilized and the nature park was subsequently constructed with another Growing Greener Grant via DCNR. The project was one of the earliest natural stream channel designs in Pennsylvania and was considered a demonstration to encourage similar efforts in the commonwealth. In the past five years, several severe storms have impacted the structural integrity of rock veins and created bed aggregation contributing to continual degradation of the banks. The repair is to re-grade the banks and repair/replace the structures to attain stability and sediment transport.

Forest District 20 – $600,000 to construct a parking lot and access area at state Route 42 in Forest District 20.

[b]Crawford[/b]

Crawford County Conservation District – $96,299 to implement a natural stream channel design project on a tributary to Woodcock Creek. The project will rehabilitate 2,600 linear feet of stream bank.

[b]Cumberland[/b]

Kings Gap Environmental Education Center – $750,000 to repave the main road to the center.

[b]Dauphin[/b]

Capital Region Economic Development Corp. and Bethlehem Steel – $1 million to rehabilitate ISG Bethlehem, the former USX steel mill site.

Harrisburg – $150,000 for improvements to Wildwood Lake in Dauphin County.

Steelton – $246,200 to reclaim and restore the Steel Canal as part of the Steel Canal Restoration project.

Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority – $750,000 to rehabilitate the Crawford Station brownfield, a former power plant.

Washington Township Authority – $168,967 to update a wetland area. Washington Township in Dauphin County is the home of the largest operational constructed wetland treatment system for wastewater treatment in the state. The facility is currently under construction as part of a two-part project. This money funds Phase II, which comprises cleaning all accumulated solids and making other design changes.

West Hanover Township Water and Sewer Authority – $500,000 for sewer upgrades. The West Hanover Township Water & Sewer Authority owns and operates a 780,000-gallon-per-day wastewater treatment plant serving West Hanover Township. The plant is required to remover organics, suspended solids, ammonia-nitrogen, and phosphorus from the wastewater prior to discharging the treated effluent to a tributary of the Manada Creek. The Authority has chosen to replace the post-lime addition process with a vermicomposting process. Vermicomposting is a sustainable process that uses earthworms in a raised bed reactor to further treat the biosolids to a level that satisfies DEP criteria for “exceptional quality” without the addition of chemicals and the odors associated with the post-lime treatment process, or the energy input required by a heat-drying process.

Wiconisco Township – $69,900 to install a new technology for wastewater treatment plant. This technology uses two floating vegetative islands which regulates wastewater flow and treats nutrients by uptaking them through the plant roots and bacteria attached to the roots which are all suspended in the wastewater column.

[b]Erie[/b]

Millcreek Township School District – $400,000 to install approximately 15,000 square feet of porous pavement, a rainwater harvesting system to collect storm water for use in non-potable water applications (toilets), a one-quarter-acre wetland and a 2,000 square-foot green roof as part of the J.S. Wilson Middle School green building project.

Presque Isle State Park – $1.8 million to rehabilitate Marina Pond Bridge and replace Misery Bay Bridge at Presque Isle State Park.

[b]Fayette[/b]

Trout Unlimited, Chestnut Ridge Chapter – $107,267 to complete construction of a passive treatment system that will restore four miles of a high-quality stream.

Ohiopyle State Park – $545,950 for structural steel and bearing repairs to Ferncliff High Bridge (bike trail) at the park.

[b]Franklin[/b]

Franklin County Conservation District – $22,988 for stream bank fencing on the Conococheague Creek and Little Cove Creek Stream.

Shippensburg – $500,000 to implement a five-stage biological nutrient removal treatment process at the Shippensburg waste water treatment plant. In order to implement this new treatment process, a new 682,000-gallon tank will need to be constructed to augment an existing activated sludge tank. There will also be a substantial amount of new treatment equipment installed, including submersible mixers, blowers equipped with variable frequency drives, fine bubble diffusers and air piping, internal recycle pumps, and instrumentation and control equipment.

Washington Township – $82,800 for acquisition of approximately four acres off state Route 16 and adjacent to existing Happel’s Meadow for open space.

Waynesboro Borough – $183,500 for acquisition of approximately four acres off state Route 316 for open space and passive recreation.

[b]Greene[/b]

Ryerson Station State Park – $1 million for selective silt removal from a drained impoundment at the dam at the park.

[b]Huntingdon[/b]

Forest District 5 – $1.5 million to rehabilitate an existing district office in Forest District 5.

Huntingdon County Conservation District – $2,929 to clean up four or more dump sites identified in a previous grant.

[b]Indiana[/b]

Blackleggs Creek Watershed Association – $44,000 to add 2,000 tons of limestone to their existing limestone pond and to raise the water level another 1.5 feet to the maximum elevation in order to create more detention time and to generate more alkalinity. These ponds are too small, and room must be fully utilized to increase the detention time of the existing system.

[b]Lackawanna[/b]

Archbald Borough – $525,000 to reclaim approximately 115 acres of abandoned mine lands and make safe about 24 mine openings, reducing the amount of surface water entering the underground deep mines, thereby reducing the amount of acid mine drainage flowing into the Lackawanna River. The project is part of restoration efforts for future economic development as part of the Valley View Business Park.

Lackawanna State Forest – $1 million for a new office in addition to the district office in Lackawanna State Forest.

[b]Lancaster[/b]

Elizabethtown College – $40,100 to expand innovative storm water best management practices on campus as was done in earlier round of Growing Greener.

Lancaster Area Sewer Authority – $500,000 for sewer upgrades. The Lancaster Area Sewer Authority seeks to upgrade the activated sludge aeration system at its Susquehanna plant. The basic goals of this project are to upgrade and replace the diffuser, optimize the aeration process with additional blowers with those of the proper size, and create anoxic zones to obtain a certain degree of dentrification for the existing flows to the facility. The project will decrease nutrient load discharged to the Susquehanna River and decrease energy demands at the facility.

Lancaster County Conservancy – $113,800 to the Lancaster Conservancy for acquisition of approximately 28 acres off Tucquan Glen Road, adjacent to Lancaster County Conservancy’s Tucquan Glen Preserve for open space and habitat protection; and $150,000 to the Lancaster County Conservancy for acquisition of approximately 26 acres along the Susquehanna River and River Road for greenway and open space protection.

[b]Lebanon[/b]

Bethel Township – $375,000 for acquisition of approximately 50 acres off of Sherwin Williams Drive for passive recreation and open space.

Lebanon Valley Conservancy – $83,200 to the Lebanon Valley Conservancy for acquisition of approximately 101 acres near Camp Kiwanis Road for greenway and habitat protection.

Willows Senior Apartments – $712,278 for Willows Senior Apartments at a former steel mill site.

[b]Lehigh[/b]

Lehigh County Conservation District – $36,950 to restore 1,200 linear feet of a tributary to the Saucon Creek to improve fish habitat and reduce siltation pollution to the impaired Saucon Creek.

T-GM Ventures – $27,750 for work at 128-34 N. Eighth St. to convert a warehouse to condominiums and townhouses.

[b]Luzerne[/b]

Butler Township – $61,227 to create a sediment retention system on a portion of Oley Creek.

Earth Conservancy – $248,000 to continue the reclamation of a large tract of mine-scarred land (Preston/Huber Bank Reclamation), transforming unusable land into recreational areas and residential development.

Luzerne County Conservation District – $56,528 to establish a program to restore eroded sections of stream bank.

Pyrah Corp. – $50,000 for Sea Isle Sportswear, a former clothing plant.

Ricketts Glen State Park – $2.4 million for park development at the park. The work includes replacing a bathhouse and two comfort stations in beach, day-use, and organized group tent areas, including utilities; and developing trailhead parking, comfort stations and trails at the Lake Rose area.

[b]Mercer[/b]

Hermitage – $39,051 for Indian Run stream restoration. The city is concerned with the loss of property and potential safety issues with the degraded stream and has committed to paying for phase one data collection, analysis, design and permitting. This funding finances construction of the stream restoration to eliminate approximately 6,700 cubic feet of nonpoint source sediment pollution from the stream bank erosion, restore the aquatic habitat to enhance the biologic diversity of the stream, create a riparian buffer zone and produce short- and long-term educational experiences for Hermitage school students.

West Middlesex – $90,000 for Hogback Run channel improvements. Last year’s numerous extraordinary storms badly affected this section of stream causing nonpoint source erosion, flooding and safety concerns.

Winner Development – $1.1445 million for the Westinghouse plant, a former electric transformer manufacturing site.

[b]Monroe[/b]

Middle Smithfield Township – $357,000 to fund the conversion of the existing wastewater treatment plant to new technology to treat the existing 22,000 gallons per day. The township authority will install a double ditch process to allow automated and complete control, ensuring essentially a continuous flow. The system does not require secondary clarifiers or return sludge pumping.

Stroud Township – $250,000 for acquisition of the Glen Brook Golf Course consisting of approximately 221 acres along Hickory Valley Road and Glenbrook Road for continued use of active recreation and open space preservation.

[b]Montgomery[/b]

American Littoral Society = Delaware Riverkeeper Network – $39,200 to plan the removal/modification of an upstream dam and water intake structure to allow fish passage to upstream areas. Cross vanes and other structures would be used to stabilize the stream.

Center for Sustainable Communities – $212,220 for sustainable storm water work. The Center for Sustainable Communities and the Villanova University’s Urban Storm Water Partnership are combining resources to work on this project. The Initiative is an integrated program involving the construction of demonstration best management practices, research to describe their effectiveness and outreach to promote improved storm water management. The Growing Greener funds would be used to construct several demonstration best management practices on the property of the Pennypack Ecological Restoration Trust.

Montgomery County Conservation District – $23,504 to enhance wetland areas with native plantings, removing invasive plants and restoring floodplain. In the storm water detention basin, remove low-flow concrete channel and replace with meadows mixes. Work includes restoring eroded storm swale, now a gully, into bioretention.

Schwenksville Borough – $135,000 for acquisition of approximately three acres at the intersection of Centennial Street and Forest Lane for development of a park.

Spring-Ford Area School District – $10,215 to create planted buffer zones around two drainage swales and create a rain-garder at the drainage basin above the swales. As part of this project, the community will be educated on best management practices, nonpoint source pollution and overall watershed health.

Trout Unlimited, Southeast Montgomery County Chapter 468 – $50,000 to remove a dam on the main stem of the Pennypack Creek. Benefits would be to restore a more natural dynamic in terms of hydrology and sediment transport; improve aquatic and riparian habitats; and restore fish passage.

[b]Northumberland[/b]

Northumberland County Conservation District – $12,080 to stabilize and plant a riparian buffer for a high-priority erosion site in the watershed. The group wants to demonstrate “solutions” to assist local landowners on what can be done on their properties. This would be the first “on the ground” project for this group.

Shikellamy State Park – $740,000 to purchase two, new, inflatable dam bags at the park to replace those damaged in Ivan storm; and $260,000 to construct a temporary causeway and install two, new, inflatable dam bags at the park.

[b]Perry[/b]

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy – $426,000 for the acquisition of approximately 656 acres for open space, natural resource and watershed protection.

[b]Philadelphia[/b]

Friends Center Corp. – $242,726 to incorporate a variety of innovative storm water best management practices into their ongoing campus buildings and site renovations. Best management practices proposed include a 10,000-square-foot green roof system, rainwater cistern storage system and small bioretention system at their campus property located in downtown Philadelphia.

Haines Eastburn Stenton – $727,500 for neighborhood redevelopment in Philadelphia.

Mount Airy – $11,512 for neighborhood redevelopment.

Pennsylvania Horticultural Society – $92,189 for two separate projects: One project is a renovation of a schoolyard at a Philadelphia public school; and the other is a new urban park on a square block in an area of newly constructed residential infill. Both projects would capture and infiltrate storm water by retrofitting existing urban landscapes that are 100 percent impervious. Both projects also are in combined sewer areas.

Woodlands 58, LLC – $250,549 for Abrams Metals, a scrap yard to remediation and redevelopment project.

[b]Pike[/b]

Pomised Land State Park – $75,000 to construct a 10-kilowatt wind turbine at the park office; and $2.6 million to construct water and sewerage systems at the park to service Pickeral Point and Deerfield Campgrounds, complete with flush comfort/ shower facilities.

[b]Potter[/b]

Lyman Run State Park – $183,000 to build piers for future spillway bridge at Lyman Run State Park.

Potter County – $200,000 for half of the non-federal share of the rehabilitation of North Fork Dam, a flood-control facility.

[b]Schuylkill[/b]

CANDO Inc. – $2.22 million to build a water treatment plant to treat 1 million gallons daily from the Green Mountain Tunnel and sell the water to the Humbolt Industrial Park. The industrial park is in need of an additional one mgd of water to allow for expansion and the potential creation of 4,800 jobs.

Mahanoy City Sewer Authority – $428,600 for the installation of a Hydro International Grit King System for grit and grease removal as part of the Mahanoy City Sewer Authority $3 million in planned improvements. The system would be the first of its kind in the northeast region.

Weiser State Forest – $500,000 to renovate the existing Haldeman House for office and meeting facilities.

[b]Somerset[/b]

Laurel Hill State Park – $1.6 million to replace beach bathhouse/concession, comfort stations and Group Camp 1 Bathhouse at Laurel Hill State Park.

[b]Sullivan[/b]

Forest District 20 – $3 million to construct a new district forest office near Laporte.

[b]Tioga[/b]

Hills Creek State Park – $500,000 to replace pit latrine at campground with new flush facility with showers at Hills Creek State Park.

Leonard Harrison State Park – $1.2 million to replace the maintenance building, campground pit latrine and two pit latrines at overlook at the park. Campground restroom to have showers and all others are to be flush and connected into the DGS sanitary project for water and sewage.

Lycoming Creek Watershed Association – $29,500 to stabilize 260 feet of highly erosive stream bank with an estimated soil loss of more than 21 tons. The area will be graded to decrease the bank angles and toe of slope. Rip rap protection will be installed as well as riparian plantings.

Tioga County Conservation District – $19,485 to reduce sediment pollution by stabilizing a 300-foot reach of Catlin Hollow with vertical bank heights up to 18 feet. The stream bank will be stabilized in such a way that the stream will have access to its floodplain, and a riparian buffer will be established; and $14,616 to stabilize approximately 425 feet of stream through a combination of re-grading vertical banks and installation of log veins and rip rap in an effort to protect the toe of the slope until vegetation is established. Planting of a dense buffer is a major component of the project.

[b]Union[/b]

Union County Conservation District – $44,029 to provide the balance of funds needed to complete construction on a natural channel design project.

[b]Venango[/b]

Venango County Conservation District – $87,391 to plug 10 oil wells in Scrubgrass Creek Watershed to restore viability and sustainability to this cold water stream.

[b]Washington[/b]

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy – $20,200 for acquisition of approximately 64 acres for open space and natural resource protection.

[b]Wayne[/b]

Salem Township – $79,600 for payment for the acquisition of approximately 15 acres in the eastern corner of the township for a recreation complex including athletic fields and supporting facilities.

[b]Westmoreland[/b]

Donegal Township – $44,035 to protect Four Mile Run by implementing controls on a dirt and gravel road. The project will stabilize the road in order to prevent large amounts of sediment from entering the receiving stream during rain events.

Mount Pleasant Borough – $15,000 for a stream bank stabilization project in a municipal park. A total of 890 feet of stream bank along Shupe Run and unnamed tributary within the Jacob’s Creek Watershed will be restored using a combination of vegetative bioengineering, structural enhancement and riparian buffer plantings to decrease sediment loading to the stream.

North Huntingdon Township – $10,708 for construction of stream bank stabilization structures and a riparian buffer along Tinkers Run.

Saint Vincent College – $30,162 to finance modifications and improvements to repair and maintain the operation of the Monastery Run improvement project. Work includes repairs to an earthen dike, repair of a walkway, repair of bank erosion, and the installation of fencing to prevent muskrat damage and erosion.

Trout Unlimited, Forbes Trail Chapter – $11,014 to address mine discharge in Rock Run by implementing limestone sand dosing in the headwaters. The limestone will slowly dissolve and/or be carried down the stream to help combat a chronic acidification problem in the stream due to inadequate natural buffering.

Westmoreland Conservation District – $97,442 for a nature park and Donohoe Creek protection. The Westmoreland Conservation District proposes to address storm water problems that are causing degradation to an unnamed tributary within the Sewickley Creek Watershed. Three local businesses have agreed to improve the quality and reduce the quantity of their runoff by incorporating new innovative storm water best-management practices.

[b]Wyoming[/b]

Mehoopany Creek Watershed Association – $318,773 for natural stream design on a portion of Mehoopany Creek. The assessment and design have been completed.

[b]York[/b]

Northeastern York County Sewer Authority – $500,000 to upgrade the existing Mount Wolf Wastewater Treatment Plant from a trickling filter process to a Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor process. The upgrade would allow the existing facility to construct mechanisms to meet the more stringent effluent limits being implemented by the Chesapeake Bay Tributary Strategy.

York Butterfly LP – $707,625 for the Caterpillar plant, a former manufacturing plant.

York Redevelopment Authority – $112,500 for a brownfield project to convert the Graybill Building, a historic building, to a city market.

[b]MULTIPLE COUNTIES[/b]

[b]Berks/Bucks/Carbon/Chester/Luzerne/Montgomery/Schuylkill Counties[/b]

Park Region 4 – $1.2 million to rehabilitate 12 water tanks in State Park Region 4.

[b]Crawford/Venango Counties[/b]

French Creek Project of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council – $163,300 to initiate alternative storm water best management practices in the French Creek watershed in Crawford and Venango counties. The project will design and construct 10 to 15 alternative storm water projects, which will significantly decrease the amount of storm water discharged directly into French Creek. The BMP’s will also be used as demonstration sites for outreach.

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy – $87,999 to conduct education workshops and riparian restoration projects using minor mechanical engineering and vegetative stabilization on private, non-agricultural properties in four priority subwatersheds of the French Creek basin, specifically Conneautee Creek, LeBeouf Creek, West Branch French Creek and Conneaut Outlet.

[b]Statewide[/b]

Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts – $7,779,480 to the for farmers enrolled in Pennsylvania’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) in the 59 counties of the Susquehanna, Potomac and Ohio River Watersheds. The money will enable farmers to implement best management practices on their farms to reduce runoff nonpoint source pollution. Nearly all of Pennsylvania is enrolled in CREP except the eight counties in the Delaware River watershed. The commonwealth’s program is the nation’s largest.

Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation – $350,000 to provide a means for quick payment of funds needed for emergency repair of previously funded Growing Greener restoration projects. WPCAMR will act as an agent to provide quick pass-through of funds.

[b]CONTACTS:[/b]

Kate Philips (717) 783-1116

Kurt Knaus (DEP) – (717) 787-1323

Christina Novak (DCNR) – (717) 772-9101

 

136 Grant Announcement from the Eastern Coal Regional Roundtable 10/04/05 2005-10-25 10:45:08

I. Federal Grant Opportunities

a. U.S. EPA Region 3- Water Quality Cooperative Agreements

II. Non-Federal Grant Opportunities

a. Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation: Outdoor Classroom Grant Program

b. Yves Rocher Foundation: Women of the Earth Awards

c. Richard King Mellon Foundation- SW Pennsylvania

III. Conferences:

a. Potomac Coal Basin Task Force

I. Federal Grant Opportunities:

a. U.S. EPA Region 3- Water Quality Cooperative Agreements

Region 3 is soliciting proposals for Federal Assistance for Water Quality Cooperative Agreements under the Clean Water Act. Region 3 covers Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. These unique and innovative projects should address the requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Specifically the projects should advance strategies to implement watershed-based efforts, reduce wet weather flows, demonstrate collaborative innovative approaches to control or reduce pollution to protect and restore water quality on a watershed basis. The grants awarded will range from $30,000 to $400,000, with up to 15 projects selected. The funds may be used to conduct or promote the coordination and acceleration of investigations, training, demonstrations, surveys and studies. The projects include innovative wastewater treatment practices, efficiencies and training, watershed permitting, storm water programs, low impact development, and other NPDES issues in watersheds.

A full application is required. Any further questions, one can contact Patricia Iraci at 215-814-5727.

Deadline: November 3, 2005

More Information: http://www.epa.gov/region3/grants/pdf/EPA-R3WPD-05-03.pdf

II. Non-Federal Grant Opportunities:

a. Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation: Outdoor Classroom Grant Program

The Outdoor Classroom Grant Program, sponsored by Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation, International Paper and National Geographic Explorer, provides outdoor, hands-on science education to students in grades K-12. This school year, the program will award grants of up to $2,000 to at least 100 schools. In some cases, grants for up to $20,000 may be awarded to schools or school districts with major outdoor classroom projects. The grants can be used to build a new outdoor classroom or to enhance a current outdoor classroom at the school. All K-12 public schools in the United States (excluding Puerto Rico) are welcome to apply. Online requests may be submitted at any time. A watershed group could partner with the school to apply for this grant. If you apply between September and December, the application will be considered in January.

More Information: http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=pg&p=AboutLowes/outdoor/index.html

b. Yves Rocher Foundation: Women of the Earth Awards

The “Women of the Earth” Awards, sponsored by the Yves Rocher Foundation, provides financial support and recognition to programs conducted by women that are concerned with the protection or promotion of the plant world and aimed at reconciling humanity and nature. For the 2nd year in the United States, 3 women will be honored with the Terre de Femmes Award. Whether it is a simple project like creating a community garden or a program as large-scale as preserving coral reefs, any woman age 18 and above who is working within an organization and is conducting a program that benefits nature and humanity is eligible to compete. To do so, one must fill out the Terra de Femmes “Women of the Earth” Awards application form and provide a written and visual detailed description of her program, its accomplishments, funding requirements and long-term prospects, before October 31, 2005.

The winners will receive a cash prizes and a trip to Paris, France.

More Information: http://www.yvesrocherusa.com/shop_app/app_US/jms.jsp?&nav=topic&topicId=577&noFrame

c. Richard King Mellon Foundation- for Southwestern Pennsylvania

The Foundation was created in 1947 by Richard King Mellon (1899-1970), chairman of Mellon Bank, conservationist, and dominant figure in the financial, industrial, and civic life of Pittsburgh for many years. The Foundation makes grants for such purposes as, in the judgment of the Trustees, will be “in the public interest.” Priorities included regional economic development, the quality of life in southwestern Pennsylvania, land preservation, and watershed restoration and protection with an emphasis on western Pennsylvania.

REGIONAL FOCUS FOR PENNSYLVANIA

Conservation

· Land preservation

· Watershed protection and restoration

· Sustainable environments

FOCUS FOR SOUTHWESTERN PENNSYLVANIA

Human Services and Nonprofit Capacity Building

· Critical and strategic service providers

More Information: http://fdncenter.org/grantmaker/rkmellon/

III. Conferences

Potomac Coal Basin Task Force

Help Wanted!!

Task force forming on Mine Pools and AMD Problems

Please come to the first meeting of the

Potomac Coal Basin Task Force

Let your voice be heard! And pass this message onto a friend.

*Task force to include representatives from the North Fork of the Blackwater River, the North Branch of the Potomac, the Upper Youghiogheny River and those affected downstream.

*Come learn about Mine Pools and Acid Mine Drainage; the problems and the areas and streams most impacted!

*Network with other watershed groups and environmental activists!

*Get active in bringing the problem to the attention of the public.

*Learn valuable information you can take back to your organization and community!

When: October 8, 2005 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Where: Oakland, Maryland Public Library

Who: Watershed groups with an interest in the Potomac River Coal Basin.

DRAFT: Mine Pool Meeting Agenda

12:00 p.m. Sign-in and LUNCH (provided) – Be sure to specify that a vegetarian lunch is preferred when you RSVP.

Name tags, handouts. Meet other activists and concerned community members

Introduction of Organizations

Who we are:

-What groups are represented?

-Where are they located?

-What issues is your organization been tackling?

-Why does your group has an interest in Mine Pools/AMD?

– Locating groups and problem areas on wall map

1:00 p.m. Mine Pool Presentation by Northfork Watershed Project (PowerPoint)

1:30 p.m. Current State of Mine Pools across the Potomac Coal Basin

2:00 p.m. , 4:00 p.m. Open discussion, taskforce and capacity-building , strategies, task assignments, conclusion

1. Reaching out to public, media, and decision makers

2. Getting funding for remediation and revitalization

3. Plan second meeting

***If you have an interest in adding to the agenda please contact: Sandra Gardner or Janel Farron at 304-463-4068.

Please feel free to bring information about your organization. There will be a table for you to display any brochures or publications. Posters welcome!

Keep Updated with ECRR Grant Resources

 

135 The Schuylkill County Conservancy would like to introduce you to its new website 2005-10-25 09:44:44

On the website, you will find all types of useful information related to conservation. Browse through an extensive list of resources under the resources page. Also, membership information and a signup form are available online. Future updates will include information about projects, online versions of the newsletters, and relevant land conservation news in Schuylkill County. Please feel free to share comments or suggestions. Enjoy!

Visit: www.schuylkillconservancy.org

Source:

Tom Davidock

County Natural Resource Specialist

Schuylkill Conservation District

Phone: (570) 622-3742 EXT. 120

Fax: (570) 622-4009

Cell: (610) 823-4616

 

134 Chesapeake Bay Program Launches New Educational Resource 2005-10-25 09:35:11

Last week, the Chesapeake Bay Program launched Chesapeake Academic Resources for Teachers (ChART), a resource designed to help educators provide meaningful watershed educational experiences to their students. ChART provides educators with one place to find Bay-related lesson plans and activities, field studies and professional development opportunities.

Explore ChART at: http://www.chesapeakebay.net/chart/

Source:

Amy C. Handen

Watershed Coordinator

National Park Service

Chesapeake Bay Program Office

410 Severn Avenue, Suite 109

Annapolis, Maryland 21403

Phone: 410-267-5786

Fax: 410-267-5777

 

133 Governor Rendell honors six Pennsylvania environmental leaders 2005-10-12 16:41:45

Governor Edward G. Rendell honored six of Pennsylvania’s most remarkable environmental leaders during a state dinner held on their behalf Oct. 6 at the Governor’s residence. The honorees were recognized for their significant contributions in the environmental field and for the inspiration they have provided to others.

“These honorees have recognized the importance of preserving our greatest natural treasure,” said Governor Rendell. “Promoting the highest standards of environmental protection is vital to sustaining our quality of life in communities across Pennsylvania. These six individuals have each made contributions through education and outreach, research and, most of all, by not being afraid to stand up for what they believe in. They are to be commended for a job well done.”

Each honoree was presented with the official state gift, a symbolic expression of the leadership provided by those who are inspirational guiding lights to others. The gift, “Lighting the Way,” is a handcrafted reproduction of a wooden wall sconce, circa 1760, that hangs in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Handcrafted of Pennsylvania black walnut, it is awarded to those who have excelled in their respective areas and have made a difference in Pennsylvania on behalf of the citizens of our commonwealth.

Out of the six honorees, two were from the EPCAMR Region. Their profiles are below:

Maryruth Wagner – Bloomsburg, Columbia County

Maryruth Wagner is the District Manager of the Columbia County Conservation District. Under her guidance, the district hosts an annual education program for students in third through sixth grades to foster the development of a greater appreciation and understanding of our environment. She also leads the district in sponsoring the Susquehanna Valley Environthon for Columbia County middle and high school students.

Wagner is actively involved with the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts and the Pocono Northeast Resource Conservation and Development Council. She has participated in the Chesapeake Bay Program and the Chesapeake Bay Foundation in protecting our commonwealth’s waterways.

In 1997, she was instrumental in establishing the Catawissa Creek Restoration Association and subsequently in 1998, she helped to create the Fishing Creek Watershed Association. One of her proudest accomplishments was helping to create the Frank Kocher Memorial Park, which serves as a relaxing area where the community can enjoy fishing, kayaking, canoeing, swimming and picnicking. Due to her steadfast commitment to our environment, citizens are surrounded by the natural beauty that is Pennsylvania.

Dr. Mel Zimmerman – Montoursville, Lycoming County

Dr. Mel Zimmerman is a professor of biology at Lycoming College whose students have historically monitored trends in both biology and chemistry for local watersheds. He developed Lycoming College’s “Clean Water Institute” which has helped a number of watershed groups compile data and evaluate trends, needs and solutions. He was instrumental in helping DEP’s North Central Regional Office Team 5 by providing a forum for exchange with various partners.

He was extensively involved in the formation of the Susquehanna River Heartland Coalition for Environmental Studies. His expertise has been monumentally instrumental not only in beginning this group but also coordinating the participation of higher education facilities. He serves on the board of the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers and is also the chair of the Keystone Stream Team.

Dr. Zimmerman helped the North Central PA Conservancy accomplish a Rivers Conservation Plan for a portion of the western branch of the Susquehanna River. This tremendous effort involved numerous partnerships, including counties and municipalities. Dr. Zimmerman has generously shared his time, expertise and environmental ethic to help those interested in watershed work throughout Pennsylvania. He serves as an inspiration for every individual who wants to personally work toward creating a better environment for our commonwealth.

The Rendell Administration is committed to creating a first-rate public education system, protecting our most vulnerable citizens and continuing economic investment to support our communities and businesses. To find out more about Governor Rendell’s initiatives and to sign up for his weekly newsletter, visit his web site at: www.governor.state.pa.us.

 

132 Head of the US Mine Safety and Health Administration calls for Safer Coal Mining 2005-10-07 15:21:39

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (AP) – The acting director of the U-S Mine Safety and Health Administration says more improvements are needed in the coal industry.

In a speech prepared for a group of coal operators, David Dye says “the vast majority” of mining accidents are caused by human error, and miners have to be persuaded not to take risks.

So far this year, 15 coal miners have been killed on the job in the U-S. Kentucky leads the nation with six fatalities. Last year, 28 people died in coal mine accidents nationwide.

Dan Kane, who is the secretary-treasurer of the United Mine Workers of America, says coal operators need to give miners the tools needed to work safely. He also says regulators need to adopt and enforce regulations to keep miners safe.

SOURCE:

Gene Starr

News Director

WPPA-AM/WAVT-FM

P.O. Box 540

Pottsville, PA 17901

(W) 570-622-4440

(F) 570-622-2822

gstarr@pbcradio.com

 

131 DEP SECRETARY JOINS COALS PARTNERS AS NEW DUMP CLEANUP FUND IS ESTABLISHED 2005-10-07 15:06:28

Partners Commit Nearly $186,000 in Contributions, In-Kind Services Over Two Years

10/7/2005

SOURCE: Dan Spadoni

DEP North Central Regional Office

MOUNT CARMEL, Northumberland County , Environmental Protection Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty and 17 companies and communities today committed nearly $186,000 over two years to cleanup illegal dump sites under a new multi-county initiative called Clean Up Our Anthracite Lands and Streams, or COALS. The group made its first deposit at Union National Bank to help finance the effort that has been under way since April.

“Residents of Pennsylvania’s anthracite region contributed immeasurably to the strength of our nation,” McGinty said. “Our coal towns sacrificed and labored to power this country through two world wars and build the industrial strength of America. Now, Governor Rendell is determined to honor these contributions by helping to rebuild these communities.”

The funds deposited today are being administered by a partnership among the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy and PA Cleanways, a Greensburg-based environmental organization that focuses on dumping and littering education and cleanups.

COALS was developed after a December 2004 tour of illegal dumpsites on coal company and county properties. Using a multi-faceted approach, which includes recycling, education, enforcement and innovation, DEP staff has developed a coalition of committed partners to direct and fund the program. McGinty helped to launch COALS officially in April.

Between April 15 and June 23, DEP oversaw dump cleanups on Big Mountain Road, the Whaleback and Snake Road in Northumberland and Columbia counties. To date, 54.4 tons of tires and 125 tons of municipal waste have been removed at a cost of $16,310. A final fall cleanup at these same three sites is scheduled to begin Oct. 29.

“The education and enforcement components of the COALS program also are very important if we want to ensure that dumping does not recur once these sites are cleaned up,” McGinty said.

Enforcement efforts to bring illegal dumpers to justice as part of the COALS program have been under way since last spring. DEP already has issued 22 summary citations to responsible parties, which has resulted in 14 guilty verdicts and six others waiting court dates. In addition, DEP has issued three notice of violation letters to responsible parties.

State and local law enforcement agencies have been working with DEP, and the four local district justices have strongly supported the enforcement activities.

DEP’s Waste Management Program staff has begun meeting with 18 area municipalities in Columbia and Northumberland counties to explain COALS and enlist their support. The focus is on education, site evaluation, surveillance and recycling.

COALS has proved to be a successful model for others in Pennsylvania to follow. The department also is developing a similar program in its Northeast Regional Office to address the long-standing problem of large, illegal dumps that have become all too commonplace in the anthracite coal region.

For more information on waste management, visit DEP’s Web site at www.dep.state.pa.us, Keyword “Waste Management.”

# # #

EDITOR’S NOTE: Listed below are the major contributors in the COALS initiative and their financial contributions for 2005 and 2006:

· Mount Carmel Cogen Inc./Susquehanna Coal Co. — $25,000 (includes $15,000 cash and $10,000 for surveillance cameras that already have been purchased)

· Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy — $23,794 (as provide by DEP)

· Girard Estate — $10,000

· Pagnotti Enterprises Inc. (Jeddo Coal Co.) — $10,000

· Reading Anthracite — $10,000

· AQUA America — $3,000

· Blaschak Coal Corp. — $2,000

· Shamokin Filler Coal Co. Inc. — $1,500

· Eastern Industries Inc. — $1,000

· Louis DeNaples — $72,000 of in-kind services

· Waste Management of Central Pennsylvania — $24,000 of in-kind services

· Mount Carmel Borough — $2,500 of in-kind services

· Mount Carmel Area School District — $1,100 of in-kind services

Other partners providing volunteer support for the COALS initiative include the following: PA Cleanways, Habitat for Wildlife, Mahanoy Creek Watershed Association and Shamokin Creek Restoration Alliance.

 

130 DEP AUTHORIZES HAZLETON CREEK PROPERTIES LLC TO CONDUCT MINE RECLAMATION PROJECT 2005-10-06 12:52:15

250-Acre Site Will be Reclaimed for Commercial Development

10/5/2005

WILKES-BARRE , Environmental Protection Northeast Regional Director Michael D. Bedrin today announced that DEP has completed its review of Hazleton Creek Properties LLC’s “determination of applicability,” authorizing the company to operate under a general permit for a land reclamation project in Hazleton, Luzerne County.

The general permit regulates the processing and beneficial use of dredge material, cement kiln dust, lime kiln dust and coal ash by screening, mechanical blending and compaction in mine reclamation. Hazleton Creek Properties of Kingston, Luzerne County, is proposing to use the mixture to reclaim and remediate an abandoned industrial and mine site covering more than 250 acres in the city.

“DEP has strict standards that apply to the use of materials in mine reclamation,” Bedrin said. “Hazleton Creek Properties’ proposal meets all of the requirements needed to operate under this general permit.”

The general permit (Number: WMGR085) sets conservative chemical quality limits and requires sampling and testing of all materials at three distinct stages: Stage 1 occurs before the material is shipped to the site; Stage 2 takes place when the material arrives at the site; and Stage 3 occurs prior to placing the processed mixture at the site.

All incoming material must be visually screened for signs of contamination or unapproved waste, and any new source of dredge, ash or kiln dust must be approved by DEP before it can be shipped to the site.

The permit also requires groundwater and surface water monitoring and requires Hazleton Creek Properties to post a bond to cover the costs associated with water monitoring and removal of any waste not meeting Stage 3 testing requirements and limits.

The company still must obtain several other permits and approvals before reclamation work can begin, including a special industrial area agreement under the state’s Land Recycling Program to clean up three unpermitted landfills on the property and dispose of all containerized waste found during remediation, including any capacitors and drums.

The property was once part of the Hazleton Shaft Colliery that was abandoned in the 1940s. Hazleton Creek Properties proposed to use the regulated materials in the permit to supplement on-site soil and mine spoil to reclaim the site and construct a 20,000-seat amphitheater and other commercial development.

For more information on the remediation of abandoned industrial sites, visit DEP’s Web site at www.dep.state.pa.us, Keyword: “Land Recycling.”

CONTACT:

Mark Carmon

Phone: (570) 826-2511

[align=center][b]Please feel free to post a comment on this article by choosing the “comments?” link below.[/b] [/align]

EPCAMR is not responsible for these statements and reserves the right to filter any comments that are deemed inappropriate for this forum.

 

129 Grant Announcements from the Eastern Coal Regional Roundtable 2005-09-19 15:10:38

Please remember to visit The Eastern Coal Region Roundtable Funding Sources Archive for more grant opportunities relevant to the Appalacian Coal Fields.

The Eastern Coal Regional Roundtable (ECRR) was created through a partnership between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Office of Surface Mining (OSM). This site is a “meeting place” for watershed organizations working in eastern coal country. Their region includes nine states: AL, IN, KY, MD, OH, PA, TN, VA, & WV

 

128 The Anthracite Miners and Their Hollowed Ground 2005-09-19 13:35:30

“The Anthracite Miners and their Hollowed Ground” by Pennsylvania Artist Sue Hand will be unveiled at her Dallas studio beginning Saturday, September 17 in conjunction with the Dallas Harvest Festival.

Approximately two hundred fifty custom stretched hexagonal artists’ canvases have been painted in the style of historiated abstract expressionism with acrylic/collage. Hand chose the six-sided shape because the Wyoming Valley was “honeycombed” with mines. The hexagonal shape allows the paintings to fit together in various honeycomb patterns. Each composition is balanced on its point symbolizing the instability of the mining industry. The series began with collaged historical images related to various concepts involved with anthracite mining in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Some inclusions are actual newspaper articles and postcards; some were drawn from historical photographs or hand lettered from historical information. The paintings are filled with symbolism. The overall colors of the canvases are low chroma, which represent the colors of the earth, dust and coal. However, each canvas also includes areas of blue paint representing the Susquehanna River and the Knox Mine Disaster, which essentially ended deep coal mining in the Wyoming Valley. Spots of red paint on each composition symbolize the danger of the mining industry”¦the blood, sweat, and tears. Pieces of anthracite coal are embedded into each composition along with actual historical objects such as tools, rope, etc.

Hand spent five years researching the “land of anthracite” before beginning the actual painting process. It is her hope that this exhibit will honor the memory of some very special people, places and events that contributed to the historical fabric and greatness of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The public is invited to view this exhibit of historical importance at Hand’s Dallas studio, 35 Main Street, beginning Saturday, September 17, 9:00 , 6:00 and Sunday, September 18 from 1:00 , 6:00 (during the Dallas Harvest Festival). The exhibit continues through Thursday, September 22. Hours during the week are Monday & Wednesday 9:00 , 6:00 and Tuesday & Thursday noon , 9:00. For additional information, contact Heather Madeira, 675-5094.

Sincerely,

Heather Hand Madeira

Heather Hand Madeira

Sue Hand’s Imagery

35 Main Street

Dallas, PA 18612-1603

570.675.5094

hhmadeira@aol.com

 

127 New USGS stream gague to be installed on the Susquehanna 2005-09-19 12:53:54

BLOOMSBURG, Pa. (AP) – A team from the United States Geological

Survey is starting a pilot project in Columbia County with a new

kind of river level sensor.

It should help forecasters and state emergency officials better

deal with ice and debris jams.

The new gauges will be put on the East Bloomsburg Bridge over

the North Branch of the Susquehanna River starting today.

When operational, they devices will transmit real-time stream

flow and water velocity data to the existing USGS gauging

station near the Bloomsburg Airport.

From there, the readings go out to the National Weather Service

and the US Army Corps of Engineers, as well as the state

Department of Environmental Protection and the Pennsylvania

Emergency Management Agency.

USGS officials say by using both measurements, forecasters

and emergency officials will be better able to deal with ice and

debris jams that increase water levels while stream flows stay the

same.

The system should be up and running in three days after

installation and testing.

Gene Starr

News Director

WPPA-AM/WAVT-FM

P.O. Box 540

Pottsville, PA 17901

(W) 570-622-4440

(F) 570-622-2822

gstarr@pbcradio.com

 

126 W.Va. Native Nominated to Head of Federal Mine Safety Agency 2005-09-16 13:45:17

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) – A former director of Pennsylvania’s

Bureau of Deep Mine Safety has been selected by President Bush to

head the agency that oversees the safety of the nation’s mining

work force.

The White House announced today that Bush intended to nominate

Richard Stickler to assistant secretary of the U-S Department of

Labor, overseeing the federal Mine Health and Safety

Administration.

Stickler grew up in Marion County, West Virginia, and attended

Fairmont State College. He worked for Beth Energy Mines for 30

years as a shift foreman, superintendent and mine manager.

Gene Starr

News Director

WPPA-AM/WAVT-FM

P.O. Box 540

Pottsville, PA 17901

(W) 570-622-4440

(F) 570-622-2822

gstarr@pbcradio.com

 

125 Abandoned Mine Drainage Remediation Project in Bear Creek Underway 2005-09-15 10:05:03

Source: Andrew McAllister

Dauphin County Conservation District Watershed / Water Resource Specialist

The upper part of the Wiconisco Creek Watershed, which includes Bear Creek, lies in the extreme southwest section of the anthracite coalfields of Pennsylvania. From the mid-1800’s until the 1930’s, the region encompassing the Bear Creek Watershed and the upper half of the Wiconisco Creek Watershed were heavily mined using both strip and deep mining methods.

When mining activity in the Bear Creek Watershed ceased in the mid twentieth century, the complex of mine workings became flooded due to seepage from groundwater and also due in part to surface water finding its way down to the workings from the surface through “cropfalls”. Cropfalls or sinkholes are formed on the surface where the underlying tunnels have collapsed. The iron polluted mine water pours out in the creek and smothers the stream bottom with a thick orange sediment, resulting in the inability of Bear Creek to support aquatic life.

The Dauphin County Conservation District, the Wiconisco Creek Restoration Association, the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation and other organizations recognize the value in clean streams and are partnering to remediate the AMD impacts on Bear Creek.

The long-term goal of this effort is to restore Bear Creek to a healthier state by installing passive treatment systems to trap the iron sediment before it reaches the creek.

The broader positive impacts of AMD remediation efforts in the Bear Creek and Wiconisco Creek Watersheds are many. These positive impacts include improved fisheries, increased tourism, and an improved local economy.

Broad-based partnerships like those represented in the Bear Creek Project, continue to be the most effective way for addressing the widespread degradation caused by AMD in the Anthracite region.

Please see this webpage on the Dauphin County Conservation District Website for pictures and more information.

 

124 2006 PAEP Annual Meeting & Conference Planned 2005-09-15 09:31:01

[align=center]2006 Annual Meeting & Conference

“Career Development for Pennsylvania’s Environmental Professional”

[b] May 17, 18, 19 at the Ramada Conference Center State College, PA[/b]

[u][b]Mark your calendars!![/b][/u][/align]

The 2006 PAEP conference site is the newly renovated and expanded Ramada Inn and Conference Center in State College. The new conference center will serve as a wonderful venue for our conference, and the overnight room rate will be a reasonable $70.00/night.

With “career development” as our theme, our goal is to provide you with a track of topics at the 2006 Conference that will either give you some new tools to apply towards your work, or help you improve some of your existing skill sets; furthermore, we want a majority of these topics to have a universal appeal, regardless of which niche of the environmental profession you happen to work.

As a result of the recent decision by the Northeastern Pollution Prevention Roundtable to join PAEP as the “Pollution Prevention / Energy Efficiency (P2E2) Roundtable”, this conference will feature a “Pollution Prevention /Energy Efficiency” track. This new topical element will infuse new people and topics to the event, which will only serve to further enrich the PAEP conference experience for its members. For more info on the new partnership between NEPPRT and PAEP, go to http://www.paep.org/.

In addition to the sessions, the conference will feature a keynote speaker of worth, social / networking opportunities, tours of environmentally relevant sites in State College, vendor displays, and our Karl Mason Awards Banquet. The other attraction is, of course, State College itself!

If you have any specific suggestions regarding topics / speakers, or Karl Mason Award nominees, now is the time to share them as the Conference Committee will be determining the speaker list and finalizing the conference schedule over the next 2 months. Feel free to share your ideas / suggestions with any of the Conference Committee members listed below.

Thank you and we look forward to seeing all of you at the 2006 PAEP Conference!

Sincerely,

Eric Buncher Jerrold McCormick

PAEP President 2006 Conference Committee Chairperson

[hr]

[align=center]2006 Conference Committee Members

Amy Altimare, ASC Group, Inc.

John Burglund, Wallace & Pancher, Inc.

Ted Fridirici, Buchart Horn, Inc.

Jennie Granger, McCormick Taylor, Inc.

Deb Henson, KCI Technologies, Inc.

Shannon Miller, Greenhorne @ O’Mara, Inc

Jason Minnich, PaDEP

Joseph F. Musil, Jr., Urban Engineers, Inc.

Camille Otto, McCormick Taylor, Inc.

Brian Pancher, Wallace & Pancher, Inc

Jeffrey M. Prawdzik, Shaw Environmental, Inc.

Jim Ruth, PennDOT District 5-0

Tim Tuttle, Scranton Army Ammunition Plant

Elaine Farrell, Farrell Associates LLC [/align]

 

123 Efforts to transform a historical mining area into a park received a boost 2005-09-13 16:01:03

By Tom Venesky

The state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources awarded a $135,000 grant to Luzerne County to support the acquisition of 136 acres in Ashley Borough and Fairview and Hanover townships.

The land borders state Route 309 and will be used to provide public access to the Ashley Planes Heritage Park via an access road from state Route 309.

The site dates back to 1848 and was the primary means of transporting millions of tons of coal by rail from the floor of the Wyoming Valley, over Wilkes-Barre Mountain to White Haven.

The Ashley Planes sat dormant for nearly 50 years until 1998 when the Earth Conservancy proposed the creation of the park.

The entire site encompasses approximately 500 acres and much of it is owned by Earth Conservancy. The area is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places.

The park is in the planning stages and include a parking area, informational kiosk and a mile-long trail.

State Sen. Raphael Musto, D-Pittston, said he was pleased DCNR recognized the importance of land preservation through the grant.

“This park will one day be a great historic site in the Wyoming Valley. It will show visitors what was once a state-of-the-art transportation system, moving coal from the valley floor to markets on the East Coast,” he said.

Development of the Ashley Planes Heritage Park is linked to the Huber Breaker reclamation project in Ashley. Planners hope to renovate the breaker and connect it to the Ashley Planes as a tourist attraction.

Merle Mackin, director of the Luzerne County Convention and Visitors Bureau and a member of the Huber Breaker Society Board of Directors, said the funding will benefit numerous anthracite sites in the region.

“We’re trying to get all the anthracite area attractions in the county developed, so we can put together a tour from Eckley, where the miners lived, to the breaker, where the coal was processed, to the Ashley Planes where it was transported,” Mackin said. “It would show the public the mining process from start to finish.”

©The Citizens Voice 2005

 

122 Audenreid Mine Tunnel Treatment leads to Catawissa Creek Watershed Restoration 2005-09-13 15:43:54

[hr]

Please visit The Audenried Blog for more articles and progress to date.

[hr]

Nearly 36 miles of the Catawissa Creek in Schuylkill County will be cleaned up thanks to a new treatment facility.

The Audenreid Mine Tunnel Discharge just outside of Sheppton is the largest abandoned mine drainage area within the Catawissa Creek Watershed, contributing 85% of the creeks pollution.

The $2-million dollar passive treatment system consists of 3 large circular concrete tanks that are filled with limestone. The limestone removes dangerous aluminum and makes the waters less acidic, which in essence filters pollutants and replaces clean water into the stream.

Craig Morgan, District Manager of the Schuylkill Conservation District says cleaning up this portion of stream will be beneficial not only to Schuylkill County wildlife, but to residents as well”¦.

Nearly $1.5-million dollars of the $2-million dollar project cost came from the Department of Environmental Protection, through the Growing Greener Program.

The project, conceived by the Catawissa Creek Restoration Association 5 years ago, will treat the Audenreid Discharge and improve the Catawissa Creek Watershed aquatic habitat once it is complete, removing the creek from DEP’s list of impaired waterways.

Gene Starr

News Director

WPPA-AM/WAVT-FM

P.O. Box 540

Pottsville, PA 17901

(W) 570-622-4440

(F) 570-622-2822

gstarr@pbcradio.com

 

121 Free GIS Mapping Support to AML Impacted Local Governments 2005-08-29 17:07:56

The National Fish & Wildlife Foundation has approved an award of $40,000 in federal funds under the Chesapeake Bay Small Watershed Grants Program supported by the Office of Surface Mining to the Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation to support our public outreach efforts to local governments in the Coal Region of Northeastern PA and to provide FREE GIS Mapping that is focused on abandoned mine land reclamation, watershed restoration, economic redevelopment, and AMD remediation.

The Luzerne Conservation District is providing matching funds in terms of space and housing for the EPCAMR created position of a Municipal GIS Technician for the 1 year grant funded position under the grant. A brand new 44″ wide color plotter was requested under the grant and has been purchased by EPCAMR and will be heavily used during the course of the project for producing professionally colored maps for local governments that will show various layers of land use, abandoned mine land acreage, stream miles impacted by abandoned mine drainage (AMD), watershed boundaries, and other thematic areas of interest to the local municipalities.

Rob Lavelle, a May 2005 graduate from The Pennsylvania State University, with a Bachelor of Science in Geography with a considerable amount of GIS experience, who is originally from Jeannette, PA, a southwestern coalfield community in PA’s Bituminous Region, jumped at the opportunity to get a job a few months after graduating, to gain some real world practical experience in GIS with a leading non-profit organization in the field of abandoned mine reclamation, in EPCAMR, and at one of the most pro-active Conservation District’s in Northeastern PA. His salary will be $22,000 that is allowable under the grant. Rob will be making the transition from the soft coal region to the hard coal region in the coming months and EPCAMR and the LCD are hoping to introduce him to the Wyoming Valley and the surrounding coal field communities over the next year.

20 workshops are going to be conducted over the course of the year that will showcase some of the available data, information, layered themes, and land use data, that will be especially important to appointed officials that are in charge of Planning, Land Development, and Comprehensive Land Use Planning, Regional Planning, and Watershed Restoration, especially the Planning Commissions. EPCAMR will be looking for Host Municipalities that must have a considerable amount of abandoned mine lands and waterways impacted by AMD to allow 2 hour workshops that are currently being developed by EPCAMR. Those municipalities will be given first priority on the production of the FREE GIS Maps. Contact Rob Lavelle, EPCAMR GIS Municipal Outreach Technician for details at 570-674-3409. More details of the scope of work for the project can be found on the EPCAMR Municipal GIS Website.

 

120 Federal funding in a tug-of-war 2005-08-29 17:02:08

By MIKE FAHER and JOE GORDEN

THE TRIBUNE-DEMOCRAT

It seems like a simple equation: Mining companies across the nation pay a fee for each ton of coal they produce, and that money helps pay for abandoned-mine cleanup.

But a shifting coal industry – along with a strong dose of Washington politics – has thrown the federal Abandoned Mine Land Program into disarray. And that has big implications in this area, where those working to remediate abandoned mines and polluted discharges say they cannot be successful without receiving federal funding many claim Pennsylvania has earned.

“Without the AML fund, we’re not going to be able to get it done. I really don’t think so,” said Tom Grote, who directs Kiski-Conemaugh River Basin Alliance and Kiski-Conemaugh Stream Team.

The fund sprang from mining legislation passed by Congress in 1977. It levies 35 cents on each ton of surface-mined coal and 15 cents per ton for underground mines. But the law also says that 50 percent of fees collected in each state should go back to that state – not necessarily to states that have the biggest abandoned-mine problems.

So while Pennsylvania has nearly a quarter of a million acres of abandoned-mine land, its federal remediation allocations do not even come close to keeping pace because the state’s coal industry has stagnated.

At the same time, Wyoming produces the most coal and gets the most money from the federal fund. But the state has no serious abandoned-mine problems.

For fiscal year 2005, Wyoming received nearly $30 million from the cleanup program, while Pennsylvania got $23.5 million.

Wyoming officials have used millions from the fund to pay for projects unrelated to mine cleanup, while Pennsylvania still needs billions to handle an abandoned-mine problem created before the 1977 law went into effect.

Grote said he understands that Wyoming officials are loathe to abandon the gravy train, especially since their own mining companies pay the most into the AML fund.

The situation has created a rift in Washington.

“The reason this fund exists is to clean up the worst mine lands,” said U.S. Rep. John Peterson.

Peterson has introduced legislation that would allocate the fund’s money to states “based on their number of abandoned mines that present a public health and safety risk.”

The Venango County Republican argues that Wyoming has no special entitlement when it comes to the AML fund.

Much of the coal mined there leaves the state and is mined on federal land, he said.

And he joined others in saying that the coal surcharge feeding the fund actually is passed on to people across the nation.

“You and I, as electricity buyers, pay for it,” Peterson said.

Peterson and Wyoming officials agree on one thing: The AML program’s structure is flawed.

U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin, R-Wyoming, said her home state still is owed more than $400 million that Congress has failed to appropriate from the abandoned-mine fund. Cubin has introduced a bill that she says will redirect the money toward the most-dangerous mine problems.

But she also decries the fact that contributions from Wyoming companies make up 40 percent of the federal fund, and Cubin has said Peterson’s bill unfairly penalizes her state.

“If cleaning up abandoned mines in a national problem, we ought to have a national solution,” Cubin said in a June statement. “One state shouldn’t be asked to pick up almost half of the check.”

U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D-Johnstown, has signed onto both the Peterson and Cubin bills because, he says, a compromise is necessary.

To make matters worse, the fund itself – even with its current structural problems – teeters on the edge of existence.

After much debate, Congress has extended the fund until June 30. Cubin has said such a move “just extends a broken program.”

Peterson now hopes to reach some sort of compromise with his colleagues when Congress reconvenes next month.

And he still expects to bring more cleanup cash to Pennsylvania.

“Our bottom line is that we will have measurably more money to spend on cleanup,” Peterson said.

Murtha hopes that will be the case. And he said the fund must receive a long-term renewal.

“That way,” Murtha said, “we can plan.

 

119 Environmentalists criticize meeting on proposed change to mining rule 2005-08-25 12:43:00

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. , Some environmental activists are concerned that their opposition to changes in a federal mining regulation are not being seriously considered by the U.S. Department of the Interior as it seeks input in a series of public meetings.

An existing federal rule that requires a 100-foot buffer zone around streams in areas where strip mining is conducted should remain in place or be expanded, several attendees said Monday in Knoxville during the first of four meetings planned this week in Eastern coal-mining areas.

The U.S. Office of Surface Mining proposed easing the federal buffer zone rule in January 2004, saying current policy is impossible to comply with during mountaintop removal mining.

The current rule says mining cannot disturb land within 100 feet of a stream unless a company can prove it will not affect the water’s quality and quantity. The proposed change would require coal operators to minimize only “to the extent possible” any damage to streams, fish and wildlife by “using the best technology currently available.”

The meetings seek comment on how officials should conduct the environmental impact statement for the proposed change, according to OSM officials.

But about 50 people who attended the meeting complained about its format, saying that holding informal group discussions was a way of suppressing their opposition to the rule change.

“We understand that there will be no official transcript from this meeting and instead of people having the chance to give public comments, people will be divided into small groups to talk to each other about the stream buffer zone,” Ann League, a board member of Save Our Cumberland Mountains, said in a written statement. “We want to be able to stand up and make comments to (officials), not sit around and chit-chat with each other.”

Federal officials said Monday’s session was not technically a public hearing.

“This is a meeting, it’s not a hearing,” said David Hartos, a physical scientist for the OSM. “We invited folks to come in and tell us what their issues are. … We want to interact. We’re here to improve. We’re not trying to suppress any speech or anything like that.”

But activists weren’t convinced.

Chris Irwin, a University of Tennessee law student and one of the organizers of Mountain Justice Summer, criticized the format as “hopelessly complex, designed to make it harder for people.” Axel Ringe called the meeting format another example of the Bush administration’s dismissal of environmental concerns.

Hartos told attendees that their concerns would be seriously considered. “I can assure you it does not go into a black hole,” he said.

The next three meetings are scheduled for Tuesday in Hazard, Ky., Wednesday in Charleston, W.Va., and Thursday in Pittsburgh.

,,,

Information from: The Knoxville News Sentinel, www.knoxnews.com

 

118   FREE SUSQUEHANNA BASIN STREAMSIDE CLEANUP TRAINING ACADEMY WORKSHOPS 2005-08-22 12:14:03

SRBC News Release for August 17, 2005

CONTACT: Mattie Buskirk, SRBC Marketing and Communications Specialist – (717) 238-0423, ext. 224

[b]SRBC Teaches Steps To Organize a Cleanup Event[/b]

HARRISBURG, Pa. , The Susquehanna River Basin Commission (SRBC) today announced that it will conduct several workshops through the Susquehanna River Basin Streamside Cleanup Training Academy. The workshops are part of SRBC’s on-going efforts to help non-profit organizations, municipalities and county conservation districts conduct streamside cleanup projects in the Susquehanna basin. Funding for these workshops is provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and by PPL Corporation.

The workshops will be held from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. on the following dates, and at the following places:

“¢ September 29 , Best Western, 101 East Walnut St., Lock Haven, Pa.

“¢ October 5 , Hometown Hotel, 108 Hellam St., Wrightsville, Pa.

“¢ October 6 , Williamston Inn, Leisure Dr., Towanda, Pa.

Workshop registration materials and additional information are available at http://srbc.net/sc-training.htm. [b]The registration deadline is September 15, 2005[/b].

Workshop participants will receive a free sample kit of materials to use during their cleanup.

“The training academy is an essential component of our overall streamside cleanup program. Not only do we teach groups how to conduct successful cleanup events, they also learn how to sustain the cleanups by working within their communities to prevent reoccurring litter problems,” said Tom Beauduy, SRBC Deputy Director.

“The hallmark of the Susquehanna basin streamside cleanup program is the public-private partnership that funds and supports the overall initiative. The generous donations from DCNR and PPL Corporation, along with funds from the Department of Environmental Protection, are central to the ongoing partnership effort that is helping local communities to appreciate the importance of keeping our waterways clean.”

In order to provide guidelines for organizing a successful streamside cleanup event, the workshops will focus on several key issues including:

“¢ How to raise funds and obtain donated services for a cleanup

“¢ How to recruit volunteers and plan for their safety

“¢ How to dispose of and recycle items collected during a cleanup

“¢ How to highlight the education and community outreach benefits of the cleanup, to potential participants

“¢ How to monitor the cleanup sites and dissuade future dumping there

Susan Auman of the Buffalo Creek Watershed Alliance, Linn Conservancy, said of her past experience at a workshop: “The information presented in the SRBC workshop was extremely valuable. Why re-create the wheel when you have the chance to learn from people with extensive experience in Streamside Cleanups?”

“The workshop had a lot of useful information,” said Michelle Kirk, Program Administrator, Watershed Alliance of Adams County. “I was surprised at how much I learned. I thought a cleanup meant going out and picking up trash, but there are a lot of little things that you don’t think about that the workshops include. Definitely a worthwhile program!”

SRBC and the PPL Corporation (PPL) first partnered in streamside cleanup efforts in 1999, and their efforts were enhanced to include funding and training sessions for local cleanup events. This program is called the Susquehanna River Basin Cleanup Training Academy and Assistance Program. The Pennsylvania Departments of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) and Environmental Protection (DEP) and Buchart Horn, Inc. have joined the partnership.

Source:

SUSQUEHANNA RIVER BASIN COMMISSION

1721 North Front Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102-2391

www.srbc.net

 

117 Schuylkill to get money to protect waterways 2005-08-08 16:25:09

Schuylkill will receive nearly $55-thousand dollars in grant money for maintenance to unpaved roads where pollution from erosion, sedimentation and dust impacts local waterways.

The grant is part of $3.5-million dollars in funding the State Conservation Commission is awarding through the Dirt and Gravel Road Program. The program implements environmentally friendly maintenance to dirt and gravel roads which have been identified as sources of dust and sediment pollution.

More than 17-thousand miles of public unpaved roads have been inspected and more than 1,200 worksites totaling 600 miles have been completed since the program began.

Source:

Gene Starr

News Director

WPPA-AM/WAVT-FM

P.O. Box 540

Pottsville, PA 17901

(W) 570-622-4440

(F) 570-622-2822

gstarr@pbcradio.com

 

116 Abandoned Mines Can Be Reclaimed at No Cost to Taxpayers 2005-08-08 16:05:25

Pennsylvania has over 5,000 abandoned mine sites encompassing more than 189,000 acres, many of them leaching acid runoff into the streams and rivers of the Commonwealth. The estimated cost of cleanup of these sites is $15 billion. By reusing the heaps of refuse coal that litter Pennsylvania’s landscape, Penn State researchers may have provided a low-cost solution for two pressing environmental problems.

A new book published by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection highlighting the results of twenty years of research by scientists at Penn State’s Materials Research Institute, proves the beneficial uses of fly ash produced in Pennsylvania’s cogeneration power plants for controlling acid drainage, and for backfilling abandoned and working coal mines, water-filled mines and rock pits.

In places such as the anthracite coal mining region of Eastern Pennsylvania, homes are threatened by collapsing underground mines, while underground coal fires have burned in parts of the state for decades. In addition, water-filled surface pits are dangerous attractions to rock climbers and swimmers, resulting in frequent injuries and death. Remediation efforts to reclaim these mine sites and end the threat of acid runoff, dangerous collapses and rock pit accidents have been slow and costly.

Coal Ash Beneficial Use in Mine Reclamation and Mine Drainage Remediation in Pennsylvania is a joint project of the PA DEP and Penn State Materials Research Institute. Dr. Barry E. Scheetz, Dr. William B. White, and Dr. Caroline M. Loop, a former Penn State graduate student now a consultant in Greenville, North Carolina, are the researchers whose work forms the core of the book, along with contributions by DEP staff and engineers on other beneficial uses of coal ash. The book aims to provide peer-reviewed research results for the scientific community, government agencies, environmental groups, and the general public.

Currently more than 50 percent of electric power in the state of Pennsylvania is generated in coal-fired power plants. Traditionally, the coal ash was deposited in huge landfills and slurries near the power plants, leaching highly corrosive acids into the surrounding land and water. But in recent decades coal ash has been put to use to fill and reclaim abandoned mines, a practice that has raised considerable controversy over alleged contamination of the water table. The Penn State researchers and DEP monitors conclude that the use of fly ash in mine remediation is not hazardous when applied correctly. A committee of the Pennsylvania legislature noted that 3,400 acres of abandoned mine land has already been reclaimed at no cost to taxpayers, and 88 million tons of acid bearing coal refuse and countless culm piles have been removed from the Pennsylvania landscape through the use of coal ash.

In Pennsylvania cities such as Pottsville, where underground mining generations ago has left active cropfalls – collapsing vertical pits that can drop off hundreds of feet – within sight of residential streets, the use of a stabilizing concrete material made of fly ash may be the only affordable way to halt the dangerous collapses. In Clearfield County, waste piles of acid leaching rock, capped by a hardened layer of fly ash and waste lime, effectively cut off the drainage of contaminated water into the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. This new book’s timely information will be widely used to help Pennsylvania and the rest of the nation solve two pressing environmental problems.

The book is available in CD format by contacting:

Barry Scheetz

107 Materials Research Laboratory Bldg.

University Park, PA 16802

e-mail se6@psu.edu

Print copies are available through:

State Book Store

400 North Street

Harrisburg, PA 17120

The book is also available online through the EPA website at www.dep.state.pa.us

[color=black] [/color]

 

115  New poll: “Local History in Schools?” 2005-08-08 10:45:34

Does this need to be initiated in Eastern Pennsylvania?

Taken from Pittsburgh Live – Richard Robbins: ‘ Teaching local history in Westmoreland County schools was the No. 1 priority of a small gathering of historical preservationists who met this summer under the auspices of the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh.

The nonprofit Young Preservationists also held workshops at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg in eight other western Pennsylvania counties, including Indiana County and Washington County. The concluding workshop will be held in Braddock Sept. 20.

The results of the meetings will be posted on the organization’s Web site, www.youngpreservationists.org

Dan Holland, of Pittsburgh, the moderator for the Westmoreland County brainstorming session, said decisions about what to preserve in a community and what to let go should be made with the best possible information in hand.

“There is a lot of misinformation” about historic preservation, Holland said. Heading the list was the idea that communities have little say-so when it comes to locating new developments.

Holland acknowledged the tension between development on one hand and preservation on the other, and the challenge posed by the region’s many municipal governments.

There are some 500 units of government in the Pittsburgh region. This number tends to discourage regional planning and cooperation, and it has potential negative consequences for traditional downtowns, Holland said.

Thomas W. Headley, executive director of Westmoreland Heritage, said during the brainstorming session that “something” needs to be done to help Jeannette, once a national leader in glass-making. Preserving a portion of the county’s remaining beehive coke ovens also should be a priority, Headley said.

Alex J. Graziani, of Smart Growth Partnership of Westmoreland County, said the county’s preservation record has been mixed. He insisted, however, that county leaders “now get it.”

“I think the county really knows the economic opportunities associated with historical preservation,” Graziani said.’

EPCAMR Staff would like your opinion, or if you know of any way that your local school district is teaching 0 871 22 admin 1 english 1 0 0 0 0 0

Edit Edit Edit Inline Edit Copy Copy Delete Delete 113 Clean Coal-to-Oil plant gets over last hurdle 2005-08-05 15:12:57 The final piece is now in place for a Schuylkill County company to begin construction of the nation’s first clean coal-to-liquid fuel plant.

U.S. Senators Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter have announced that the United States Senate has approved language in the Energy bill that authorizes financing for the $612 million dollar plant developed by WMPI Proprietary LLC, a coal and energy company based in Schuylkill County.

This language allows a portion of funds already appropriated to the Department of Energy and awarded to WMPI, through a Clean Coal Power Initiative (CCPI) competitive grant to be used to fund a federal loan guarantee for WMPI’s coal-to-diesel project.

WPPA/T-102 News spoke with John Rich, President of WMPI, who said that the funding for the project is complete and ready to move forward. Rich estimates that it will take approximately 30 months to construct the facility that will turn waste coal into high quality-zero sulphur diesel fuel. The company projects that 1,600 jobs will be created at the Schuylkill County plant alone.

Rich recognized Senators Santorum and Specter, and state Representative Bob Allen, for their invaluable support in moving the project forward.

The project is the first of its kind in the United States, and has the potential to dramatically reduce our country’s dependence on foreign oil.

Source:

Gene Starr

News Director

WPPA-AM/WAVT-FM

P.O. Box 540

Pottsville, PA 17901

(W) 570-622-4440

(F) 570-622-2822

gstarr@pbcradio.com

 

112 A New Publication Available from Trout Unlimited on AML 2005-08-05 14:42:25

[i]”Restoring the Wealth of the Mountains: Cleaning up Appalachia’s Abandoned Mines”[/i] This report is not intended to recount or bemoan the woes of the coalfields, but rather to examine closely one of the region’s foremost problems while trying to fix it. Within it’s 28 pages are several full color photos, historical elements, treatment technologies, successful case studies and legislative recommendations Download the Report here

 

111 Abandoned Mine Land Program is being debated on Capitol Hill 2005-08-05 14:20:25

[i]Do you know that the Abandoned Mine Land Program is being debated on Capitol Hill?[/i] This is key to cleaning up your stream and community. [u]Be a part of the solution![/u]

The Eastern Coal Regional Roundtable needs your support immediately. This is your chance to meet face-to-face with Members of Congress who make key decisions about your hometown rivers and watersheds.

The ECRR is bringing member groups to Washington D.C. to participate in the [b]River Lobby Day on September 12-13[/b]. We need you to attend, your voice is important on the Abandoned Mine Land Fund issue to both other watershed groups and your congressional representatives. This two day session will involve training workshops and time to meet with your congressional representatives.

Date: September 12-13, 2005

Where: Washington D.C.

Time: September 12th

9-12am: Abandoned Mine Land Message Training

12-5pm: Workshops

September 13th

9am-?: Meeting with Representatives

Workshops consist of the following topics: (1)Communicating with Legislators, (2) Words that work with the public, and (3) Taking river conservation to Congress

There is an excellent opportunity to meet the ECRR and other watershed groups across the Eastern Coal Region, while learning how to educate your congressional representatives on the Abandoned Mine Land Program.

[b]Please do not let this issue slide; we need to spread the importance with your help![/b]

You are urged to attend. We need to know by August 15, 2005 if you would like to attend. We are looking into possible scholarships. Please contact Meredith Ballard at 304-345-7663 or info@easterncoal.org ASAP. More details are available once you contact the Eastern Coal Regional Roundtable.

Those of you a far distance away, we are working on travel stipends. We are particularly interested in people from Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, & Ohio. But everyone is welcome!

Source: Eastern Coal Region Round Table

 

110 Luzerne County about to get a little Greener 2005-08-01 14:13:59

By BRETT MARCY bmarcy@leader.net

HARRISBURG , Luzerne County is set to receive $1.75 million in new state money to use at its own discretion for top-priority projects that protect or clean up the environment.

Only Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and the Philadelphia suburbs will get larger chunks of $90 million set aside for counties by last week’s passage of Gov. Ed Rendell’s Growing Greener II initiative that allows the state to borrow up to $625 million for environmental programs.

“This gives the counties a little bit more control,” said Chuck Ardo, a Rendell spokesman. “The counties will submit projects that are high on their list of priorities that could or should be funded through Growing Greener II.”

In essence, it’s a way for counties to sidestep the lengthy grant application process required for most Growing Greener projects. As long as the project meets the funding requirements, it should be approved for funding from the county’s allocation of $1.75 million , or about $290,000 over the six years of the initiative.

The county has not submitted its priorities list to the state, but Commissioner Todd Vonderheid said there are plenty of projects that could benefit from the extra cash. He said the commissioners would work with the county’s state lawmakers to firm up a list of priorities.

“The state has thrown us $600 million. If we don’t get our fair share, it’s our fault,” Vonderheid said. “They’ve given us the tools. Now we’ve got to use them.”

One way to ensure Luzerne County gets its “fair share” would be to use a portion of the state money to create a new position in the county administration, he said. The new county administrator would be charged with overseeing the county’s environmental and recreational resources, and applying for state grants to improve them.

Some of the Growing Greener money could be used for projects that are already partially funded, or are in line for state aid, officials said. Also, the new influx of money could help pay for the cleanup of additional mine-scarred sites that haven’t yet been targeted for state funding.

“Mine reclamation is important for more than just aesthetic reasons,” Vonderheid said. “There are the environmental issues with abandoned mines and there are the safety issues.”

More than one-third of Growing Greener II’s funding, $230 million, will go to the Department of Environmental Protection for projects near and dear to the hearts of the region’s residents , abandoned mine cleanup, acid-mine drainage cleanup and sewerage outflow problems.

Any one of those problems would cost more than $1 billion to resolve, said state Sen. Raphael Musto, D-Pittston Township.

“In Northeastern Pennsylvania, we’re living with the problems that were created years ago,” said Musto, minority chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

“I would like to see more … I tried to get Gov. Rendell’s full $800 million he proposed, but it just couldn’t be there. I’m satisfied with what we got.”

Once voters approved the borrowing of the money, lawmakers began haggling on how to spend it. While Northeastern Pennsylvania’s delegation lobbied hard for the abandoned mine cleanup and related issues, lawmakers in the sprawling Philadelphia suburbs pushed for open space preservation money.

“My argument to my colleagues in the urban areas is that my county cannot compete economically if we don’t clean up these environmental issues,” said state Rep. John Yudichak, D-Nanticoke. “It really is a lifeline. This comes down to economic survival.”

In the end, both sides claimed victory. While the Northeast should benefit greatly from the $230 million allotment to DEP, the Philadelphia suburbs will receive help through the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which will get $217.5 million to spend on improvements to state parks, forests and open space preservation.

Other statewide benefits include $80 million to the Department of Agriculture for farmland preservation and $50 million to the Department of Community and Economic Development for downtown revitalization projects.

Northeastern Pennsylvania’s needs may be far more than Growing Greener II can address, but it’s a start, Vonderheid said.

“It’s a drop in the bucket, but it’s a drop in the right direction,” he said.

——————————————————————————–

As part of the $625 million Growing Greener II environmental program, $217.5 million will be funneled to local and state parks to pay for maintenance needs and improvements. Here’s a look at some of the projects planned for state parks in Northeast Pennsylvania:

Ricketts Glen State Park , This park encompasses more than 13,000 acres with a lake and 22 named waterfalls. The park needs water and sewer upgrades at a cost of $5.1 million.

Frances Slocum State Park , Located in the Back Mountain, this park also includes a 165-acre lake and a large public pool. The park needs upgrades to the lake’s dam and boat launch ramps, improvements to the shoreline, campsite drainage and leveling, and repairs to the sewage treatment plant. Estimated cost is $1.6 million.

Nescopeck State Park , One of the newest state parks, it includes 3,000 acres and is primarily used for environmental education. The park needs work, including the removal of invasive plants, restoring native species of plants and additional resources for managing rare plant species in the park. Total cost is estimated at $170,000.

Archbald Pothole State Park , A 150-acre park, it is named for a 38-foot pothole that formed during the Wisconsin Glacial Period, around 15,000 years ago. The park needs repairs to its trail at an estimated cost of $8,000.

Lackawanna State Park , This 1,411-acre park features the 198-acre Lackawanna Lake as its centerpiece. Repairs to the campground and daytime use areas are needed, as well as lake dredging and pool improvements at a total cost of $3 million.

Tobyhanna State Park , This park needs dramatic improvements to its daytime use areas and restroom facilities, which are more than 50 years old. Total cost is $2.4 million.

Hickory Run State Park , This 15,700-acre park was once run by the National Park Service as a recreation demonstration area. Most of its facilities were built in 1938 and 1939 and need substantial repairs at a cost of $6.6 million.

Lehigh Gorge State Park , A popular tourist destination for people looking to many outdoors activities year-round, this park was never fully developed. Improvements would cost an estimated $7.9 million.

Source: Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

 

109 Site of worst anthracite mine disaster all but forgotten till now 2005-08-01 13:34:06

Saturday, July 16, 2005

By Michael Rubinkam, The Associated Press

PLYMOUTH, Pa. — The nation’s worst anthracite mining disaster is commemorated by a historical marker, a long-forgotten folk ballad and not much else.

Motorists zooming down a busy roadway near Wilkes-Barre have little idea they are passing by ruins where a fire in 1869 killed 110 men and boys, most of them Welsh immigrants — an event that led to passage of the first mine safety law in coal-rich Pennsylvania.

Preservationists have started a campaign to increase public awareness of the former Avondale mine. They’d like to see a garden, interpretive signage and a self-guided walking tour at the site.

Meanwhile, two historians are working on a book that will argue the fire was not accidental — the finding of the official coroner’s inquest into the disaster — but was deliberately set by radical unionists bent on punishing the strike-breaking Avondale miners.

The blaze consumed the wooden coal breaker built atop the mine shaft, along with every other building in the mine workings. Trapped underground with no other escape route, the miners asphyxiated. Two rescuers also were killed.

More than 135 years later, relics and ruins abound at the site, which is nestled on a steep slope between an abandoned railroad bed and U.S. Route 11: a stone wall, massive timbers with circa-1800s iron nuts, bolts and washers, thick cables that lowered men into the mine and hoisted out coal.

Until last year, the site had been completely obscured by trees and scrub. Workers have since cleared the brush, allowing ATV riders, joggers and bicyclers who use the railroad bed to see the ruins for the first time. A memorial service held last September drew well over 100 people, including victims’ descendants, in what organizers said would be an annual ritual.

And Thursday night, activists formed the Avondale Preservation Society, which plans to apply for nonprofit status, raise grant money and acquire the property, said co-chairman Joe Keating, who began researching the Avondale disaster 10 years ago. The land is currently owned by the Earth Conservancy, a nonprofit group that reclaims old mine lands.

“It’s our roots. We don’t have to live in the past but we should talk about our history,” said Robert Hughes, regional coordinator of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, who is involved in the Avondale effort.

Other U.S. mine disasters have killed hundreds of workers, but Avondale was the worst to hit a mine for anthracite — a hard coal found only in eastern Pennsylvania.

The Sept. 6, 1869, fire prompted the Pennsylvania General Assembly to pass laws that required mines to have more than one opening; governed ventilation; and forbade breakers from being placed atop mine shafts.

History records that a spark from a ventilating furnace at the bottom of the shaft set fire to the wooden planks lining the shaft. The flames traveled more than 200 feet to the surface and engulfed the breaker, a structure that broke and sorted coal by size.

Promoting a more sinister alternative are Robert Wolensky, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, and Keating, co-authors of a forthcoming book on the disaster. Both believe the fire was arson.

Although there is no physical evidence to prove sabotage, they say there is a strong circumstantial case that militant unionists were behind the blaze.

The Avondale mine had just reopened after a three-month strike; miners from the Hyde Park section of Scranton, 30 miles to the north, had voted to go back to work over the objections of their counterparts in the Wilkes-Barre and Pottsville areas, who wanted the mine shut down until owners met their demands.

A mining engineer for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad, which operated the Avondale mine, testified at the coroner’s inquest that he thought the fire was deliberately set. Miners also expressed doubt that a spark could have traveled so far. Newspapers in New York and Philadelphia reported the fire was “incendiary” in nature, Wolensky said.

“It was a terroristic act,” said Wolensky, who grew up in nearby Swoyersville and attended Thursday night’s meeting. “Whether they knew they were going to asphyxiate everybody, I don’t know.”

 

108 Only 71 days until expiration of the Abandoned Mine Land Fund 2005-08-01 09:36:38

Please inform your members! For an update to the most recent news on the “Road to Reauthorization” please visit ECCR Reauthorization News Site

 

107 Pennsylvania Wins the 2005 Canon Envirothon 2005-08-01 09:31:18

With an overall score of 578.50 out of a possible 700 points, Pennsylvania won the 2005 Canon National Envirothon! A five member team from Penncrest High School, located in Media, Delaware County, represented Pennsylvania at the 18th annual Canon Envirothon. The Penncrest team also received high station score awards for the following stations: Soils/Land Use with a score of 81; Wildlife with a score of 98.5; Forestry with a score of 85; and Aquatic Ecology with a score of 91 and tying with Texas. In addition they had the highest score in the Oral Presentation with 186.67 out of a possible 200 points. California received the high score at the current issue station with a score of 81, one point above the Pennsylvania team. The stations are based on a possible 100 points. Pennsylvania has won 10 of 18 past Canon National Envirothon.

Each of the team members received a $5,000 Canon Envirothon scholarship, medallions, and plaques. The advisors received a Canon DV camcorder.

Teams that placed in the top 10 include:

First – Pennsylvania – 578.50

Second – Virginia – 542.10

Third – Delaware – 536.40

Fourth – Texas – 518.20

Fifth – Wisconsin – 503.60

Sixth – New Jersey – 536.17

Seventh – Ohio – 529.17

Eighth – Connecticut – 524.50

Ninth – New York – 519.50

Tenth – Minnesota – 518.83

If you would like more information, please visit the Canon Envirothon web site at www.envirothon.org. For photos and a complete listing of all awards visit www.envirothon.org/media/photoalbum/winners_05.htm.

[u][b]Congratulations Pennsylvania Envirothon Team![/b][/u] Source:

Lorelle Steach, Program Coordinator

Pennsylvania Envirothon, Inc.

702 West Pitt Street, Suite 3

Bedford, PA 15522

Phone: 814/623-7900 ext. 111

Fax: 814-623-0481

106 New On-line Watershed Discussion Board 2005-08-01 09:30:34

EPA’s Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watershed launched a new on-line Watershed Discussion Board. This forum offers watershed practitioners a platform to exchange ideas, so that innovative solutions and ideas can be easily shared in (near) real-time cyberspace. EPA hopes to engage people from around the country in these interactive, on-line discussions. The Forum currently includes the following six categories:

Community Involvement

Smart Growth/Low Impact Development

Source Water Protection

Stormwater Best Management Practices

Sustainable Financing

Watershed Planning Tools

Please visit the Watershed Forum Webpage and join in! Share your expertise so that others can learn from your experiences. Anyone can view the discussion, but one must register to post messages and receive customized updates.

Source:

Amy C. Handen

Watershed Coordinator

National Park Service

Chesapeake Bay Program Office

410 Severn Avenue, Suite 109

Annapolis, Maryland 21403

Phone: 410-267-5786

Fax: 410-267-5777

 

105 Work to Treat Mine Tunnel Water Proceeds 2005-07-14 10:27:03

Source: MARK KATCHUR – The Standard-Speaker

USA – Three underground tanks – part of a system that will treat polluted water rushing out of the Audenreid mine tunnel – could be set in place this week. About 1,000 feet of piping must still be laid to connect the mouth of the tunnel to the tanks, which will help remove aluminum from the highly acidic water.

The treatment system will catch the water before it flows into Catawissa Creek, where the aluminum now makes 36 of 41 miles unsuitable for fish, the flies they eat and other aquatic life.

One member of the Catawissa Creek Restoration Association is pushing for the project’s engineer and contractor to meet a December deadline to complete work on the system.

Jim Gotta has monitored progress since construction began in April. A member of the association’s oversight committee, he visits the area – about two-and-a-half miles east of Sheppton – three times a week, then reports back to other association members.

Gotta even put together a papier-mache model of the treatment system, which he carried in the back of his van on a trip to the tunnel last week. He uses it to show others how the process will work.

“We’re proud of what we’re doing,” Gotta said.

The association is one of a half-dozen groups that have joined together to clean the 8,500 gallons of water that, every minute, flows from the Audenreid mine tunnel, which accounts for about 85 percent of Catawissa Creek’s pollutants.

One of the partners, the Schuylkill County Conservation District, solicited bids on a contract to build the treatment system earlier this year.

However, the lowest bid, submitted by contractor James T. O’Hara of Moscow, was $2.2 million, about $1 million higher than what the Catawissa Creek Restoration Association had expected.

“Luckily, we were able to locate funds to cover the rest of the cost,” Gotta said.

The contract stipulates that work must be completed by December.

“If it’s not done by then, it’s not the end-all,” Gotta said. “I think it can happen (by December), but the work activity has to increase to make it happen.”

Much excavation work is yet to be done, Gotta said. Because the system is gravity-fed, the tanks must be at least 4 feet below the level of the tunnel.

But last week, some areas in front of the tunnel where the pipes will be laid were still considerably higher than the mouth, as much as 20 feet in spots, Gotta estimated. Crews must place a basin at the mouth to collect water and divert it into three pipes leading to the tanks.

About 1,000 feet away, base rock set in circles showed where the three tanks – each 120 feet in diameter and 12 feet deep – will be built.

Concrete could be poured this week, weather permitting. Heavy rains halted work at the site Thursday and Friday, and Gotta is worried more storms could cause further delays.

The pipes from the tunnel leading to the tanks will actually cross underneath Catawissa Creek, as well as a gas pipeline.

When ready, the tanks will contain baseball-sized limestone, which will separate aluminum from the water and increase its pH level to around 7, or neutral, over a two-hour period. A stream’s pH must be around 5.5 for brook trout to survive.

When water reaches the top of the tanks, a drain valve will trigger, releasing the water into a settling pond where aluminum will drop out, before it is redirected to Catawissa Creek.

The treatment system is passive, meaning that little or no human involvement will be necessary.

“The project’s going to get done – there’s no question about that – and the system will work,” Gotta said.

Bloomsburg University scientists plan to visit the site before and after the tunnel discharge is treated, to see how wildlife is affected.

Trout swim and feed in a mountain stream near the Audenreid mine tunnel until it meets the Catawissa Creek.

The tunnel runs three miles through the mountainside that straddles the Luzerne/Schuylkill County border.

It was constructed 85 years ago to lower the groundwater level of the Jeanesville mine basin, which lies between McAdoo and Hazleton.

Workers from the state Department of Environmental Protection collapsed the mouth several years ago for safety reasons, but water still finds its way through.

It seemingly appears from nowhere in a swirling pool near where the tunnel opening once was. Just feet from the discharge, however, it rushes forcefully downhill across rocks in the bed it carved out. Last week, following heavy rains, the flow was especially heavy.

The tunnel and soon-to-be nearby treatment system is on land owned by Butler Enterprises and leased to Paragon Adventure Park, a 4,000-acre facility for all-terrain vehicles.

A road leading to the site from near Route 924 passes through Blue Nob Rod and Gun Club property.

Along that road is the Green Mountain mine tunnel, which along with the Oneida #3 tunnel in Eagle Rock, releases water into Catawissa Creek and contributes to its pollution. The Catawissa Creek Restoration Association is seeking funds to treat water from the minor discharges.

A few years back, Gotta helped oversee construction of a $250,000 system that treats polluted water from the Oneida #1 mine tunnel, also in the Eagle Rock development where he lives.

The system worked fine until the remnants of Hurricane Ivan in the fall of 2003 wiped out an earthen dam built to redirect water from the tunnel.

For the Audenreid mine tunnel work, the association and its partners had secured $1.4 million through the state’s Growing Greener program and the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water initiative.

Rettew Associates is the engineer on the project. Also involved is the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, which is responsible for implementing a plan for the 152-square-mile Catawissa Creek Watershed.

Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission and Susquehanna River Basin Commission will help monitor water quality and assist with educational and outreach activities.

Catawissa Creek begins at the southernmost tip of Luzerne County and flows for five miles before it reaches the Audenreid mine tunnel.

It then continues on for 36 miles through northern Schuylkill County and Columbia County before emptying into the Susquehanna River.

 

104 Registration deadline approaching for the Abandoned Mine Drainage Treatment Conf 2005-07-12 17:44:56

Registration deadlines are fast approaching for the [b]Abandoned Mine Drainage Treatment Conference[/b] being held in Pittsburgh[b], August 16, 17, & 18[/b] with a free (to registered participants) workshop on passive treatment design on the 15th.

The conference will have a decidedly technical format with experts from across the country giving two days of presentations on active and passive mine water treatment technologies and a day of presentations on resource recovery. The event promises to provide something for everyone and is geared toward those with a technical understanding of the subject material. More information including the technical agenda is available at http://www.treatminewater.com/. You can also register for the conference online and book your room reservation with the Sheraton Station Square.

Putting on the [i]”˜best ever’ [/i]Conference on Mine Water Treatment has been a collaborative effort among several organizations and agencies that are all passionate about cleaning up our waterways from AMD. This conference will advance everyone’s working knowledge on the current technology of mine drainage treatment and resource recovery.

Registration has been heavy and participation is limited, especially for the Passive Treatment Workshop. If you intend to register, [u]please don’t procrastinate.[/u] [b]Deadline for reduced registration fee is July 25th.[/b] [b]Sheraton Station Square Hotel reservations at the conference room rate is guaranteed only through July 15th. [/b] All registrations can be made via the website.

 

103 $625 Million PA Environmental Initiative Passed: Summary 2005-07-12 17:19:55

Amendment A to House Bill 3 Amends Title 27 Pa.C.S. (Environmental Resources) to implement $625 million environmental borrowing approved by voters at May 2005 primary election.

[b]Borrowing Authorized [/b]

Authorizes the Commonwealth to borrow up to $625 million over six years. Funds borrowed shall be deposited into the Growing Greener Bond Fund.Governor shall submit annual allocation plan for bond proceeds as part of annual budget.

[b]Allocation of Bond Proceeds [/b]

$230 million to Department of Environmental Protection for watershed protection, acid mine drainage remediation and mine cleanup, oil and gas well plugging, advanced energy projects, flood protection, geological hazard mitigation and brownfields remediation.

At least $60 million for acid mine drainage abatement and mine cleanup.Up to $10 million annually to PA Energy Development Authority for advanced energy projects.Up to $5 million annually to DCED for brownfields remediation.$217.5 million to Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for improvements to State park and State forests, community park and recreation grants and open space preservation. (Requires county approval prior to acquisition of additional State park or State forest land, except interior lands of existing State park or State forest lands.)At least $100 million for improvements to State park and State forests.$90 million for open space conservation.$80 million to Department of Agriculture for farmland preservation.$50 million to Department of Community and Economic Development for Main Street and downtown redevelopment related to smart growth.$27.5 million to Fish and Boat Commission for capital improvements to existing lands and facilities. PFBC shall annually submit report detailing the projects to be funded to respective Senate and House of Representatives Game and Fisheries Committee.$20 million to Game Commission for capital improvements to existing lands and facilities. PGC shall annually submit report detailing the projects to be funded to respective Senate and House of Representatives Game and Fisheries Committee. PGC may not utilize funds received for additional land purchases.[b]County Environmental Initiatives [/b]

$90 million from the amounts allocated to various agencies shall be available for projects designated by counties.Each county shall be provided with annual funding amount according to its class as determined by the Secretary of the Budget.Counties shall consult with county conservation district to designate projects eligible to be funded under DEP, DCNR, PDA and DCED allocations.Designated projects shall be reviewed by applicable state agency to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, regulations and procedures.Applicable state agency shall consider a county’s recurring environmental and conservation funding levels to ensure project supplements existing efforts.Within first six fiscal years of effective date of act, each county shall receive the following amounts:First, Second and Second-A Class – $2.7 millionThird Class – $1.75 millionFourth and Fifth Class – $1.39 millionSixth, Seventh and Eighth Class – $1 millionIf county fails to designate projects in amounts equal to annual funding allocation, remaining funds shall be allocated to other eligible projects.[b]Environmental Stewardship Fund [/b]

Requires utilization of up to $60 million annually for debt and principal payments.Up to $20 million in FY ’05-’06 and $30 million in FY ’06-’07 to HSCA.Up to $10 million annually for historic preservation tax credit/grant program ( requires enabling legislation ).Up to $2.5 million annually to reimburse General Fund for sales tax holiday for energy efficient appliances ( requires enabling legislation ).Adds “council of governments” as eligible entity to receive moneys from ESF.Authorizes DEP to utilize ESF moneys to develop state water plan (Act 220) as well as addressing regional priorities in major watersheds and compliance with Chesapeake Bay agreements.Raises administrative expense limitation for DEP, DCNR and PENNVEST from 2% to 2.5% and for grant recipients from 2% to 5%.Clarifies that $4/ton disposal fee applies to municipalities or municipal authorities that operate disposal facilities. Retroactive to July 9, 2002.May receive an annual transfer from the Alternative Fuels Incentive Fund as determined by the Secretary of the Budget. Such amount shall ensure sufficient funds are retained to properly implement the Alternative Fuels Incentive Act.Sunset on $4/ton disposal fee repealed ( sunsets June 30, 2012 ).[b]Hazardous Sites Cleanup Fund (HSCA[/b])

Up to $20 million in FY ’05-’06 and $30 million in FY ’06-’07 to HSCA.[b]Reporting [/b]

Requires each state department and agency receiving funds to publish at least annually a report of all projects funded by that department or agency. Such report shall also be made available on the department or agency’s publicly accessible world wide website.Requires each county designating projects under county environmental initiative program to publish at least annually a report of all projects. Such report shall also be made available on the county’s publicly accessible world wide website.[b]Repeals[/b]

27 Pa.C.S. §6304 ( Sunset on $4/ton disposal fee ).27 Pa.C.S. §6110 ( Related to environmental infrastructure grants ).Act 2 of 1971 §602.3(a.1) ( HSCA trigger ).Source: Jan Jarrett, PennFuture, 717-214-7927

 

102 Only 84 days until September 30, 2005 AMRF expiration date! 2005-07-07 12:56:18

For the most current information on the AML Reauthorization Campaign please visit www.AMLCampaign.org
Pennsylvania is being largely left out on a rare opportunity to both protect and restore the environment and create badly needed jobs in the state’s coal-mining counties. It will take action by Congress and the President to change that, say members of a statewide alliance of environmental groups, watershed associations, conservancies, and conservation districts that have joined a nation-wide campaign to speed up efforts to reclaim old abandoned mines and thousands of miles of streams impacted by abandoned mine drainage, more commonly known as AMD.

“Funding for AMR”. Read more about the problem and watch videos online.

Information on the Abandoned Mine Land Trust Fund from the Office of Surface Mining

The Surface Mining Law (Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977) provides for the restoration of lands mined and abandoned or left inadequately restored before August 3, 1977. Production fees of 35 cents per ton of surface mined coal, 15 cents per ton of coal mined underground and 10 cents per ton of lignite are collected from coal producers at all active coal mining operations. The fees are deposited in the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, which is used to pay the reclamation costs of abandoned mine land projects. The fund consists of fees, contributions, late payment interest, penalties, administrative charges, and interest earned on investment of the fund’s principal. From January 30, 1978, when the first fees were paid, through June 30, 2004, the fund has collected $7,013,239,421 and fund appropriations totaled $5,493,809,291.

SMCRA is up for Reauthorization
Reclamation efforts in the coalfields across the country depend on this tax on coal. This tax on coal mining corporations is justified because for decades they paid nothing back to the communities and lands that they scarred. Mining operations only last for so many years, but the hazardous effect it has on the land and water continue for decades afterwards, causing health and safety issues for those who live near former mines. Millions of Americans live less than a mile from a dangerous mine site. There are 3.2 billion dollars worth of high-priority abandoned mines left to be cleaned-up and only 1.6 billion dollars left in the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) fund. Please show your support by writing a letter to inform your legislator of the importance to continue this funding. Here is a Sample Letter to Educate your Legislator and the Contact Information for Eastern Coal Region US House of Representatives & US State Senators

 

101 GOVERNOR RENDELL ANNOUNCES BUDGET AGREEMENT 2005-07-06 12:33:50

By Nate Collins

Shortly after 10:00 p.m. Monday night, Governor Ed Rendell held a press conference to announce an agreement has been reached on the budget.

He explained this budget was possible thanks to a surging economy, allowing revenue estimates to be adjusted because of a larger than expected surplus.

He noted that most of the Medicaid cuts have been restored, caps will be lifted off all prescription drugs, caps will be lifted for hospital access for women and children and there will be no increases in co-pays.

The Legislature was cooperative and helping achieve these goals, Governor Rendell stated.

He further offered that investments in education and workforce development were “significantly increased.” Head Start will receive additional funding and for the first time, Pennsylvania will have foundation funding.

The Governor commented that he also expects approval for Growing Greener II and the cap on the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program to be lifted. Lifting this cap, he said, will increase economic development and create more construction jobs.

The Governor then offered that he expects the budget to be adopted Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. He added that all parties compromised to make this budget a reality.

When asked if the legislator pay raise was included in the budget, Governor Rendell said no, adding that he has not seen a pay raise bill yet. We couldn’t do a pay raise with serious cuts to the Medicaid in this budget, he added.

With Medicaid cuts coming from the federal government, he said, the Medicaid funding will be an ongoing problem. He noted that Pennsylvania lost $337 million in federal funds this year and may lose up to $500 million next year.

Governor Rendell offered that he will meet with providers and advocates about future cuts because we will face funding issues for years to come.

Additional specific expenditures the Governor noted include a 10% increase for community colleges and the expansion of adultBasic (which he said was possible because of the settlement with the Blues).

Funding for the State Police is included in the budget, he said, adding that he will assess the need for more troopers, which may include a SWAT team to help Philadelphia address gun violence.

Governor Rendell concluded by explaining that a cut to the corporate net income tax and removal of the net operating loss cap are not included in the budget, but it does include a continuing phase out of the corporate stock and franchise tax.

 

100 Interested in Preserving the Avondale Mine Disaster Site? 2005-07-06 12:28:04 Join some of Northeastern PA’s most ardent volunteer supporters of

historical preservation, mine reclamation, oral and cultural history

recollections, and knowledge on Anthracite Mining Region History on

DATE:

JULY 14, 2005

PLACE:

Plymouth Township Municipal Building

925 W. Main St., Plymouth, PA (Off Prospect St.)

TIME:

5:00 PM – Pre-Tour the site with Joe Keating and Other Members of the Anthracite Living History Group

6:00- 9:00 PM – A Gathering of Friends and Volunteers Who Are Committed and Need Your Support for the future Preservation of the Avondale Mine Disaster Site

See the Flyer for More Details and the Agenda

 

99 Live News from EPCAMR on your Desktop 2005-07-05 18:47:03

EPCAMR is proud to announce a new web service…EPCAMR NewsFlash via RSS. This previously under-utilized service has been gaining more popularity and can be a very useful tool to keep you updated in the day-to-day happenings of the EPCAMR and AMD/AML Related News. The technology that allows transmission directly to your computer is known as RSS or Really Simple Syndication. If you have Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox Internet Browsers (others may also apply), you will notice an orange icon in the address bar. This is the link to the news feed, click on it and follow the instructions to add the link to your browser.

The EPCAMR RSS Reader is adapted from the RSS Reader from www.rssreader.com and is ad ware free. The program runs under Windows 98/NT/Me/2000/XP/2003 Operating Systems.

 

98 CAC to Hold Regional Meeting in Hazleton/Wilkes-Barre 2005-06-17 09:59:06

Source: DEP Daily Updates

HARRISBURG (June 13) — The Citizens Advisory Council (CAC) to DEP will hold this year’s regional meeting in the Northeast region of the Commonwealth on June 21- 23. The meeting includes public hearings in Hazleton on Tuesday evening, June 21, and in Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday evening, June 22 and Thursday morning, June 23.

The public hearings will provide an opportunity for residents and organizations in Pennsylvania’s Northeast corner to comment on environmental issues in their area and on the work of DEP.

“Our annual regional meetings allow us to learn firsthand what environmental issues are affecting Pennsylvanians in their own backyards,” said CAC Chairperson Walter Heine.

In addition to the public hearings, CAC members will visit local areas of environmental interest, such as the Waymart Wind Farm, Jeddo Mine Tunnel and several CAN DO and Earth Conservancy redevelopment sites.

CAC is a nonpartisan group of 18 citizen volunteers appointed by the Governor, Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. The DEP Secretary also serves as a member. The Council is legislatively charged with reviewing all environmental legislation, regulations and policies affecting Pennsylvania, and also reviewing DEP’s work and making recommendations.

 

97 Health Care Plan Reached by Mine Workers Association 2005-06-15 17:04:05

By Josh Krysak , Uniontown Herald-Standard

An agreement reached between the United Mine Workers of America and the Bituminous Coal Operators Association will allow some health plan beneficiaries to breath a little easier, as coverage was extended through the end of the year.

UMWA President Cecil Roberts announced that the two agencies had reached an agreement that would maintain coverage at current levels for all beneficiaries from the 1993 health care plan for mine retirees.

“This is good news for our retirees who are covered by the UMWA 1993 Benefit Fund,” Roberts said Tuesday. “Their health care benefits were on the brink of being drastically reduced in the very near future. With this agreement we have been able to extend the time they have full benefits through the end of the year.”

According to a press release from the UMWA, the beneficiaries of the 1993 fund will receive a one-time hardship payment of $3,350 from the UMWA 1974 Pension fund and then transfer $3,000 of that money toward their health coverage allowing current benefits to remain in tact through the end of the year.

“We are certainly pleased that President Roberts was able to come to this agreement with the association,” said Ed Yankovich, president of UMWA District 2. ” This is not a long-term solution but it does give us more time to continue efforts toward a congressional solution. And now, the money for health care doesn’t have to come out of the retiree’s pockets. ”

This is the second year in a row that area UMWA officials averted a potential crisis in health coverage after working to secure an additional year’s worth of funding for miners for prescription drugs in 2004.

In 2001, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services began a trial offering of prescription coverage through the UMWA Health and Retirement Funds, providing more than $100 million in coverage over the past three years for miners. The trial coverage was scheduled to expire last June.

The prescription coverage is an extension of the Medicare prescription drug program, and the Bush administration will increase funding by 150 percent through 2005 for UMWA beneficiaries. As of now, no long-term measure is in place to continue to cover the retired miners.

In 2004, Roberts said that at the UMWA’s top priority was protecting pensioners’ health-care plans.

Local representatives were pleased with the prescription coverage extension, praising lawmakers for averting a nationwide crisis that could have cost benefits for nearly 50,000 workers.

Yankovich said Fayette County will be particularly affected if any health coverage is cut or reduced as the agencies continue to scrapple over the benefits, because the county has one of the largest populations of UMWA beneficiaries in the nation. He said he is hopeful a more long-term solution through ongoing legislation can be reached.

Last year, Roberts announced that the CARE 21 legislation (Coal Accountability and Retired Employees Act for the 21st century), which was introduced in 2002 and passed by the House of Representatives but never made it to the Senate floor before session ended, was being rejuvenated. The legislation is slated to be piggybacked onto a bill extending the abandoned mine reclamation program and could provide a long-term solution for the health care crisis facing the nation’s miners.

Roberts said that if passed, the bill would fulfill the 1992 Coal Act promise of the federal government to provide lifetime health-care benefits to retired mine workers.

The legislation would also lift restrictions that mandate the transfer of funds for just certain beneficiaries and would allow the government to transfer funds to offset the Combined Benefits Fund’s deficit to prevent a cut in coverage.

“This legislation will allow us to keep the promise to retired coal miners and their dependents while continuing to ensure the money is there to clean up the nation’s abandoned coal mines, ” Roberts said in 2004.

“It is a win-win solution for retired miners and America’s coalfield communities, he explained.”

On Tuesday, Yankovich said the CARE legislation is still working its way through congress as legislators work to move the bill forward to provide miners with a permanent benefit solution.

“We certainly appreciate the efforts of Senator Arlen Specter and Congressman John Murtha, who continue to push for this and clearly recognize the need for a long-term solution,” Yankovich explained.

 

96 State Congressman Wants to Divert More Federal Money to PA for Mine Clean-up 2005-06-13 17:25:57

Saturday, June 11, 2005

BY BRETT LIEBERMAN – The Patriot News, Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON – The whipping winds, whiteouts and falling rocks make driving Wyoming’s state Highway 28 a nasty winter experience.

To make it safer, Wyoming officials plan to use $2 million from a federal Abandoned Mine Lands fund.

Wyoming, which has had no hazardous abandoned mines designated for cleanup since 1982, similarly tapped the mine fund in recent years for $7.8 million to build a hospital, $12 million for a high school and $18 million to construct a geology building.

With more than 4,600 high-priority abandoned mine sites waiting to be cleaned up across Pennsylvania at a projected cost of more than $1 billion, some lawmakers are crying foul over how the money has been distributed and over millions of dollars spent on unrelated projects.

“We think it somewhat got hijacked and we have to get it back,” said U.S. Rep. John Peterson, R-State College.

Peterson has introduced legislation to shift how federal money is allocated in the Abandoned Mine Lands program, which is due to expire Sept. 30.

The largest abandoned mine problems are in states such as Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky. Still, Wyoming gets the lion’s share of the money because the system pays out based on current mining levels instead of need. Wyoming receives $30 million a year from the program.

Pennsylvania receives about $25 million in federal money each year to clean up the worst abandoned mines. But the money is a drop in the bucket.

Through last Sunday, the state has received $665 million since 1980 to clean or pay for work on 456 of the more than 5,000 mines labeled Priority 1 or Priority 2 sites – the most dangerous.

Those totals don’t include most of the quarter million acres of abandoned mine lands, which includes deep mines, strip mines, non-coal mines and quarries across the state that don’t qualify as Priority 1 or 2 sites.

In addition to safety concerns for the 1.6 million people who live within a mile of an abandoned mine, acid runoff has left at least 3,000 miles of waterways sterile or polluted. Among them is the Susquehanna River’s west branch above Sunbury.

“It’s some of the most beautiful country in the East and the streams are sterile,” said Tom Rathbun, a spokesman for the state’s Office of Mineral Resources Management.

Rathbun put the cost of cleaning up all the mines, quarries, acid runoff and other contaminated sites at $15 billion statewide.

Fifty-two percent of available money goes to actual reclamation. Peterson’s bill would direct money away from states such as Wyoming that don’t have a need and use the money for unregulated projects, to where it’s needed.

It’s projected to mean $1 billion for Pennsylvania and would clean up existing high-priority sites that litter the state within 25 years.

Peterson cited the need to address environmental hazards left from the days of King Coal and the safety hazard that last year killed 35 people nationwide, including two in Pennsylvania. So far this year, three people have died in accidents while trespassing abandoned mine sites in Pennsylvania, authorities said.

Under Peterson’s proposal, states such as Wyoming would lose hundreds of millions of dollars. A competing proposal by U.S. Rep. Barbara Cubin, R-Wyo., backed by some Western interests, would steer an estimated $1.2 billion to states such as Wyoming.

While cutting money for abandoned mine emergencies, drinking water contamination and other programs that clean acid mine drainage, it would leave a $566 million shortfall in Pennsylvania after 25 years, according to analysis by the federal Office of Surface Mines.

Cubin’s office did not return phone calls, but she defended her bill in a news release when she introduced it.

“This is money Wyoming could use to build schools or roads or save for a rainy day. Wyoming has lived up to its end of the [Abandoned Mine Lands] bargain and Congress needs to do the same,” Cubin said.

“Wyoming mined coal currently pays for almost half of the [Abandoned Mine Lands] program. Wyoming money shouldn’t be used to clean up Eastern problems,” Cubin said.

Peterson said Cubin’s argument punishes Eastern states for the bad environmental practices of the past.

His bill would also increase money to the Combined Benefit Fund, which provides health benefits to retired coal miners.

Peterson had hoped to negotiate a compromise with Cubin, but there’s been no progress, he said.

During recent meetings in Washington, Gov. Ed Rendell discussed the issue with Cubin.

Peterson’s bill, which has the backing of environmental groups including Trout Unlimited and the Pennsylvania Audubon Society, has 16 co-sponsors, including U.S. Reps. Tim Holden, D-Schuylkill County, Todd Platts, R-York, Bill Shuster, R-Blair County, and six other Pennsylvania lawmakers.

He and Cubin sit on the House Resources Committee, which has jurisdiction over the abandoned mine issue.

“It’s going to be a struggle,” Peterson said.

WHY YOU SHOULD CARE:

· 1.6 million people live within one mile of an abandoned mine in Pennsylvania.

· Acid runoff has left at least 3,000 miles of Pennsylvania waterways sterile or polluted. Among them is the Susquehanna River’s west branch above Sunbury.

· Three people have died in accidents while trespassing on abandoned mine sites in Pennsylvania this year.

· The state has put the cost of cleaning up all the mines, quarries, acid runoff and other contaminated sites at $15 billion.

Jeanne Clark

Director of Communications

Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future (PennFuture)

412-258-6683 (direct dial)

412-736-6092 (cell)

www.pennfuture.org

 

95 Don’t Forget to Register for the 2005 Minewater Treatment Conference 2005-06-13 17:18:15

This year’s conference on abandoned mine drainage is being held in Pittsburgh, August 16, 17, & 18 with a Free workshop on Passive Treatment Design on the 15th. The conference will have a decidedly technical format with experts from accross the country giving two days of presentations on active and passive mine water treatment technologies and a day of presentations on resource recovery. More information is available at www.treatminewater.com. You can also register for the conference online.

Putting on the conference has been a collaborative effort among ,a href=http://www.treatminewater.com/sponsors.htm>several organizations and agenciesthat are all passionate about cleaning up our waterways from AMD. We think this conference will present an excellent opportunity to advance everyone’s working knowledge on the state of art in mine drainage treatment and resource recovery.

A limited number of scholarships are available to members of Pennsylvania watershed groups to help defray costs. Apply online. Since the decision to attend may depend on receiving an award, we will notify applicants before the registration deadline.

We hope to see you at the conference,

2005 Minewater Treatment Conference Planning Committee

 

94 State Debates How to Divvy Up Environmental Cash 2005-06-13 16:59:15

Decisions on how to spend $625 million might not come till fall.

The Morning Call

June 4, 2005

By Shira R. Toeplitz

HARRISBURG: It could be a while before Pennsylvania voters see the results of last month’s successful $625 million bond referendum for new environmental programs.

That’s because state lawmakers and the Rendell administration are still trying to figure out which projects they want to fund and whether the state or county governments will decide how the money is spent, before the new bonds are even issued.

And with the state’s budget deadline less than a month away and thorny questions about health care for the needy still unsolved, both sides agree any resolution to the funding questions might have to wait until this fall.

Two-thirds of Keystone voters signed off on the environmental program, dubbed “Growing Greener II,” during the May 17 primary. The money will pay for open space and farmland preservation, watershed protection and abandoned mine cleanups.

Currently counties compete for Growing Greener grants by applying with specific projects in mind. Under some of the proposed plans, counties would receive block grants according to their need, which would be determined by lawmakers.

“My concern is how you go about dividing it between the counties,” said Rep. Jennifer Mann, D-Lehigh, who sits on the House Environment Committee.

“Maybe there is a lot of value in having the local communities have input in how that money is spent,” Mann said. “But how are we going to go dividing it up among counties? In some cases, it has little to do with population.”

Originally started under former Gov. Tom Ridge in 1999, the first Growing Greener programs doled out $645 million to counties through competitive grants. Some lawmakers don’t want that to change.

Richard Fox, a senior aide to Sen. Raphael J. Musto, D-Luzerne, said his boss is “pleased with the way the program is run now” and doesn’t see “any need for significant change in how the grants are distributed.” Musto is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Environmental Committee.

House Majority Leader Sam Smith, R-Jefferson, said Senate leaders were pushing to let county governments have more control of the funds.

“I see some benefits to [distributing the funds through the counties],” said Smith. “I’m open-minded to it, but I’m not sold.”

Patrick Henderson, a senior aide to the Senate Environment Committee Chairwoman Mary Jo White, R-Venango, said White “wants to make sure Harrisburg does not set up the priorities.” White is “exploring a menu of uses, but then letting the counties decide what’s a priority to them,” he said.

Senate Major Leader David Brightbill, R-Dauphin, is thinking about distributing half of the money through a formula that determines the environmental needs of counties. For example, the formula might calculate the number of acres versus abandoned mines, his chief of staff, Erik Arneson, said.

However the money is distributed, voters and county officials will have to wait until after summer recess to see which projects get funding while lawmakers hold off on the lengthy discussions.

The Rendell administration “doesn’t see any reason to wait,” spokeswoman Kate Philips said. “We’re also not putting any deadline on it either.”

Fox agreed.

“I don’t see any disadvantages to waiting,” he said. “I think it’s important to make sure that the legislation is done right.”

Environmental activists, meanwhile, said they want to see the money doled out as soon as possible.

“Quite frankly, if this was a legislative pay raise, this would be done by June 30,” said John Hanger, president and chief executive officer of the environmental group PennFuture. “This should be treated just as importantly as a legislative pay raise.”

 

92 Peterson Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Accelerate Clean-up of Hazardous AML Sites 2005-06-13 15:47:13

June 9, 2005

PA Congressman, John Peterson, today released a statement on his proposed legislation (H.R. 2721) to reauthorize the collection fee on each ton of coal mined in the US. to reclaim thousands of hazardous abandoned coal mine sites. Peterson’s bill would strategically direct more funding to hard hit Appalachian states where past coal mining has had its biggest impacts, and less to states having few remaining problems, such as western states like Wyoming. Peterson’s bill is in stark contrast to one earlier introduced by Wyoming Congresswoman Barbara Cubin and West Virginia Congressman Nick Rahall which de-emphasizes the long standing problems and hazards of past coal mining practices. The Cubin-Rahall bill would actually steer even more money to Wyoming.

For Immediate Release:

[i]Cubin-Rahall bill Steers More Than $1.2 Billion to Non-Reclamation “Rainy Day” Projects in Wyoming while Neglecting Mine Reclamation Needs of Historic Coal States[/i]

[b]Washington[/b] – U.S. Congressman John Peterson (R-PA/5) was joined by a bipartisan coalition of 16 House Members from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Tennessee and Maryland to introduce legislation that would reauthorize the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) program and speed up the reclamation of thousands of hazardous abandoned coal mines across the country.

The bipartisan bill would greatly reduce the health, safety and environmental hazards of abandoned coal mines left over from decades of coal mining that took place before Congress passed mining reforms in 1977. Abandoned mines are commonplace throughout Appalachia, particularly in states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia where the majority of America’s coal was mined throughout the industrial revolution and two world wars.

Under the current AML program, mine reclamation dollars are raised through a per-ton fee on coal and are allocated to states based on their current level of coal production. As a result, the majority of funds are directed to states like Wyoming which only recently began mining coal as the industry moved west. Since Wyoming has been certified since 1982 to have no abandoned mine problems, the state has used the millions of dollars they receive from the AML program for building construction, road paving and other miscellaneous projects. Consequently, only 52 percent of AML program funding is currently being used to clean up hazardous abandoned mines. At the same time, states like Pennsylvania and West Virginia are still decades away from completing reclamation work on thousands of hazardous abandoned coal mines. At least 40 people have been killed and many more injured at abandoned mines in Pennsylvania alone over the past 15 years. More than $1 billion is still needed to clean up the 4,600 mines that are dangerous or environmentally harmful, and more than 1.6 million Pennsylvanians live less than a mile from a dangerous mine. Over 3,000 miles of streams and rivers in the Commonwealth are polluted with acid mine drainage. Many of these same hazards exist throughout Appalachia.

Under the Peterson bill, future AML funding would be directed to areas that need it, providing reclamation dollars to states based on their number of abandoned mines that present a public health and safety risk. By refocusing the AML program on its intended purpose of cleaning up abandoned coal mines, the Peterson proposal would clean up all high-priority mine sites in 25 years instead of the 50-60 years that is estimated under the current AML program.

According to Peterson, “This common sense legislation simply asks that the AML program be used for its intended purpose of cleaning up abandoned coal mines, and not to pave roads or fund other ‘rainy-day’ projects. This proposal will greatly improve states’ ability to clean up hazardous abandoned mines in a timely manner. Families in Pennsylvania and throughout Appalachia have lived for too long with the health, safety and environmental hazards resulting from abandoned coal mines, and this bill will finally refocus the AML program on mine reclamation.”

The Peterson bill would raise the minimum state AML program grant from $2 to $3 million, benefiting Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and several other ‘minimum program’ states. In addition, the bill increases funding for the 17,000 retired mine workers covered under the Combined Benefit Fund (CBF) by removing the $70 million cap which currently exists on the amount of interest transferred annually into the fund.

The bill also makes interest earned on the account available for transfer as needed, including $76 million in “stranded” interest from prior years. Under Peterson’s proposal, Wyoming would be fully reimbursed for the $465 million in fees paid into the AML program by companies that mine coal in Wyoming, fulfilling a commitment made under the current AML program. This is despite the fact that 96 percent of Wyoming’s coal is mined on federal land, and 93 percent of the coal mined in Wyoming is sold in other states where American consumers – not Wyoming producers – end up paying the fee.

While the Peterson bill would re-focus the AML program on cleaning up high-priority abandoned coal mines, a competing proposal, the Cubin-Rahall bill, would continue to neglect current mine reclamation needs in favor of maintaining and increasing the ‘rainy day’ fund for Wyoming.

In addition to protecting the multi-million dollar funding stream which currently flows to Wyoming, Cubin-Rahall creates an entirely new $1 billion pot of money for nonreclamation projects, the vast majority of which would also end up in Wyoming. At the same time, Cubin-Rahall bill would cut $120 million from the Federal operations budget which is used for abandoned mine emergencies, drinking water contamination, watershed cooperative agreements, supplemental grants to minimum program states, and the Clean Streams Initiative which is used to clean up acid mine drainage in streams, rivers and

watersheds across the country.

According to an analysis by the U.S. Office of Surface Mining (OSM), Cubin-Rahall would steer more than $1.2 billion in non-reclamation funding to Wyoming over the next 25 years, while leaving a shortfall of more than $1 billion for priority mine reclamation projects in states like Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kansas and Oklahoma. After 25 years, Pennsylvania would still need $566 million and West Virginia would still be $256 million short of completing high-priority mine reclamation projects under the Cubin-Rahall proposal.

The Peterson bill, which would clean up all current high-priority abandoned mines within the next 25 years while saving the program several billion dollars, has already been endorsed by Trout Unlimited and the PA Audubon Society. A similar bill introduced by Peterson last year was endorsed by the Bush Administration, Pennsylvania’s Democratic Governor Ed Rendell, and numerous organizations including the PA Environmental Council.

According to Peterson, “This bill represents the combined efforts of a broad coalition of interests and ideologies – all coming together to do what is necessary to clean-up and reclaim abandoned mines before these sites cause even more damage to our citizens’ health and communities. As this discussion moves forward, we will have to decide whether the Abandoned Mine Lands program is going to be used for abandoned mine reclamation, as was originally intended, or whether it will continue to be a multi-million dollar slush fund for Wyoming.”

In their new endorsement, the PA Audubon Society stressed the importance of mine reclamation, citing our “unique responsibility and cost-effective opportunity to take a leadership role in abandoned mine reclamation, while simultaneously contributing to the survival of imperiled bird populations.” The endorsement continued, “We are particularly pleased that you have acknowledged the need to finish the job of repairing the enormous problems that remain in states like Pennsylvania that fueled this country’s industrial past. To that end, we wholeheartedly agree with your recommendation to distribute funds to states based upon their historic production.”

H.R. 2721, the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program Extension and Reform Act of 2005, was officially introduced by Peterson and a bipartisan coalition of House Members on Thursday, May 26th.

Please go to the [b]NEW[/b] website www.AMLCampaign.org, which supplies background information for the reauthorization effort.

Submitted by:

Bruce Golden, Regional Coordinator

Western PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation

Donohoe Center, RR 12 Box 202B, Greensburg, PA 15601

http://AMRClearinghouse.org

724-837-5271 bruce@wpcamr.org

 

91 No Cost Contract for Clean Fill / Quarry Reclamation 2005-06-06 10:59:28

DEP is exploring opportunities to link clean fill disposal needs to abandoned quarry restoration. The idea is to direct unpolluted overburden towards a local need to reclaim an abandoned quarry. There is a no cost contract currently under development by DEP to facilitate the process.

Kenneth Reisinger, has been asked by the DEP waste program to see if the Districts had potential candidates for consideration such as quarries next to schools, highways, or quarries that have been a problem for local government or land owners. Overall there are a lot of things to work through yet but DEP would like to see what immediate needs are out there and how those needs may be met. If you have any candidate areas to suggest, just drop Ken an email with the situation including the location. It would also be helpful to know the property owner so they could be contacted for permission.

 

89 Residential Development, Access to Funds are Hurdles to Saving Open Space. 2005-05-23 11:15:11 Source: Times Leader, BRETT MARCY bmarcy@leader.net

HARRISBURG , Sprawl is on the horizon.

It’s been slower coming to Northeastern Pennsylvania than some other areas of the state, but rampant suburban development will arrive. And the region may not be ready for it, environmentalists say.

In areas of the Back Mountain, such as Dallas Township, huge tracts of farmland and wooded hills have already been gobbled up by residential development.

“The pressure is coming, and it’s coming from a lot of different areas,” said Robert Hughes, regional coordinator for the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation and an environmentalist. “The Back Mountain areas, that’s no longer the back mountain. It’s sprawl.”

Luzerne County is just now beginning to experience the consequences of rampant residential growth , strained municipal services, overcrowded schools and the loss of green spaces for recreation, farming or simply to look at.

Environmentalists saw a glimmer of hope last week when voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot question allowing the state to borrow up to $625 million for environmental programs in Gov. Ed Rendell’s proposed Growing Greener II initiative.

Among the stated goals for Growing Greener II are open space preservation, abandoned mine cleanup, acid mine drainage cleanup and improvements to state parks.

Local officials hope to tap into that new pool of money, but it won’t be easy.

Officials in townships in suburban Philadelphia and elsewhere have worked feverishly in recent years to raise money for environmental initiatives.

In Chester County, more than 20 of the county’s 73 municipalities have passed ballot questions, raising their local earned income tax specifically to preserve open space.

“Time is against us. There’s considerable pressure for development. It’s the critical issue of our day,” said Clifford Lee, chairman of the open space committee in East Nottingham Township, Chester County. “It’s not something that you want to be on the sidelines when it happens.”

East Nottingham residents approved an earned income tax increase for open space preservation, and the township hopes to buy the development rights to 2,900 acres to keep the land forever undeveloped.

Also in Chester County, East Bradford Township residents approved a 0.25 percent increase in earned income tax, which has allowed the township to build a $400,000 open space fund since 2000. The township has used that money as leverage to borrow $12 million. The money has gone to preserve more than 1,000 acres of open space.

“I think we did this just in the nick of time,” said Jack Stefferud, chairman of the East Bradford open space review board.

He warned officials in Northeastern Pennsylvania not to wait until it’s too late to think about saving precious farmland, woodland and open fields. Plus, he said, having local money in-hand will sweeten the pot when municipalities apply for Growing Greener grants.

“If you want to play the game, you’ve got to come to the table with your own money,” Stefferud said. “If you don’t, you’re out of the game.”

Luzerne County has been willing to pony up significant money for other environmental programs in recent years, including its farmland conservation program and the recent purchase of 3,000 acres of land from Theta Land Corp., according to county planning commission Director Adrian Merolli.

In the Theta land purchase, the county kicked in $4 million and the state gave about $1.2 million. Merolli said the county’s share was key to gaining state dollars.

“I think the state did it because they saw the county was serious,” he said.

Some municipal officials say they’d like to pay for some of the costs of improving and preserving the environment, but the financial pressures are too great.

Dallas Township supervisor Chairman Philip Walter said he has watched as acre after acre of farmland disappears in his township, but he said there isn’t much that can be done about it.

“The fact is that most of these things have gotten so far out of hand that we haven’t got into it,” Walter said. “There was a lot of open space and a lot of farms here, and now all of a sudden the farms are gone.”

He said his taxpayers are strapped as it is with rising school district and county taxes. They simply could not bear a tax increase at the township level, he said.

Instead, Walter said municipalities in the region have come to rely on private environmental groups, such as the North Branch Land Trust, which promotes open space preservation in Luzerne, Wyoming, Susquehanna, Columbia, Bradford and Sullivan counties. The group works with private landowners to gain the development rights to open land.

Rich Koval, a land protection specialist and naturalist for the North Branch Land Trust, said he isn’t surprised by the reluctance of local officials to commit local taxpayer dollars toward open space preservation.

“It hasn’t been sold up here yet,” Koval said. “Even though we’re seeing a lot of sprawl, it’s not like the southeast … There’s some old politics here, and it’s a tough sell.”

Perhaps, but Luzerne County’s recently adopted open space master plan could be the beginning of a new era of environmental activism. Merolli said the county is considering offering incentives to municipalities that raise money for open space preservation.

“We know that it’s coming,” Merolli said of suburban sprawl. “We’re just trying to stay ahead of the curve.”

——————————————————————————–

Brett Marcy, the Times Leader’s Harrisburg correspondent, may be reached at (717) 238-4728.

 

88 A GREEN LANDSLIDE 2005-05-19 18:44:30

Source: Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future – PennFuture Facts

Pennsylvania added a new page to its conservation history yesterday when voters approved the Growing Greener bond by a healthy majority. As of this writing (with 99 percent of the precincts reporting), 60 percent of the voters said “Yes” to Growing Greener. That is a robust majority by any political calculation, and it shows how deeply Pennsylvanians value their natural heritage .

Governor Rendell and legislators from both parties who supported the bond question were told by the voters, “Good job!” The voters also made it plain to all legislators that they expect them to implement immediately what the voters mandated. The voters want the Commonwealth to spend $625 million to preserve farmland and natural areas, clean up the damage left behind by unregulated coal mining, and restore polluted streams. And they want the details worked out before the legislature takes its summer break.

Growing Greener passed in 46 of the Commonwealth’s 67 counties, and a look at the vote is something of a political geography lesson. Voters in Philadelphia’s suburban ring counties – Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery – gave Growing Greener an overwhelming 77 percent approval. The “Yes” votes trounced the “No” votes in Delaware and Montgomery counties 79 percent to 21 percent, in Chester County by 76 percent to 24 percent, and in Bucks by 73 percent to 27 percent. Philadelphia’s “Yes” vote came in at 75 percent to 25 percent “No.”

Southeastern Pennsylvanians, both Republicans and Democrats, are clearly alarmed at the rate that farmland and natural areas are disappearing and concerned over their access to clean water. When given a chance, they overwhelmingly support strong environmental protection policies.

The other area of the state that delivered “Yes” votes in the 70 percent range were mining-scarred Luzerne and Lackawanna counties. A significant amount of Growing Greener will go to restore land ruined by coal mining companies that long ago went out of business, and to clean up streams polluted by acid mine discharges. Here again, the voters were crystal clear in their desire for a better environment that will attract new businesses and jobs.

Voters in Monroe and Pike counties in the Poconos are feeling the pressure of fast growing development and also gave Growing Greener solid support. 73 percent of Monroe’s voters said “Yes,” as did 65 percent of Pike County’s voters. In the Lehigh Valley, another region straining under intense development pressure, Northampton and Lehigh counties came in with “Yes” votes in the mid-60 percent range.

Even many voters in Pennsylvania’s conservative “T” – the counties between the metropolitan areas of the east and west plus the northern tier – said “Yes” to Growing Greener. Voters in Blair, Clearfield, Clinton, Fulton, Northumberland, Bradford, Susquehanna, Tioga and Wayne all delivered majorities for Growing Greener. Voters in Centre County, in the heart of the “T” said “Yes” by 66 percent.

In Lancaster County, a majority voted for Growing Greener even as they shot down a library tax, and in Lebanon 53 percent of the voters showed they care about farmland preservation and stream restoration that will be possible with Growing Greener funding.

In the southwest, another area looking for help in cleaning up damage from mining, Fayette and Greene counties both delivered majorities for Growing Greener, and Allegheny County voters favored the bond by 61 percent.

Growing Greener lost by small margins in the northwestern counties of Crawford, Warren, McKean, Venango, Elk, Cameron, and Clarion and in Westmoreland in the southwest. It also lost in a swath starting in Bedford County stretching to the northeast in Huntingdon, Mifflin, Juniata and Snyder counties. But the real story even in these counties, where the measure was not expected to do well, was how small the margin against Growing Greener turned out to be.

Pennsylvanians are ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work with Growing Greener. Our legislators in the Pennsylvania House and Senate should quickly pass implementing legislation that honors the voters’ green mandate

[i]PennFuture Facts is a biweekly publication designed to be a brief, informative and interesting look at a topical environmental and/or economic issue in Pennsylvania. Please visit our website for more information about PennFuture, http://www.pennfuture.org.

PennFuture Facts is available for reprint in newspapers and other publications. Authors are available for print or broadcast interviews. For more information, please contact us at 717-214-7920, or info@pennfuture.org.

Citizens for Pennsylvania’s Future

610 N. 3rd Street

Harrisburg, PA 17101[/i]

 

87 Local officials urge voters to OK measure that would help clean up mine lands 2005-05-19 13:29:39

Posted on Fri, May. 13, 2005

Giving it the “green” light: Environmental ballot issue

By BRETT MARCY bmarcy@leader.net

HANOVER TWP. , Tens of thousands of acres of drab, mine-scarred land could one day give way to community parks, new commercial and industrial development and vast, wide open spaces.

And it is within the power of the electorate to free the money necessary for the transformation.

That was the message from state and Luzerne County officials huddled Thursday at an office building in the Hanover Industrial Estates built on an abandoned coal lands.

Officials urged voters to approve a statewide ballot question that would allow the state to borrow $625 million for environmental improvements and conservation.

The referendum for Gov. Ed Rendell’s proposed Growing Greener II initiative will appear on the ballot Tuesday, and proponents are making their last-minute appeal to the voters.

“I want to stress that point to the voters of Northeastern Pennsylvania: They can make history on May 17 by making the largest investment in Pennsylvania’s environment,” said state Rep. John Yudichak, D-Nanticoke, who was joined by state Rep. Thomas Tigue, D-Hughestown.

As he spoke, Yudichak noted that the ground on which he stood was once an unsightly 15-acre abandoned mine site. Growing Greener dollars helped pay to reclaim the land.

Mericle Commercial Real Estate Services constructed a $4 million, 133,000-square-foot office building and parking lot on the spot. The building now houses four companies and about 130 employees.

“If we are going to continue to reclaim the thousands and thousands of acres of abandoned mine land in Northeastern Pennsylvania, we need the Growing Greener initiative,” Yudichak said. “It’s that important to the quality of our lives, to the quality of our economic future.”

About 9 percent of the county’s area is abandoned mine land, according to the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation. That amounts to 43,926 acres of mine-scarred land, stretching across 45 of the county’s 76 municipalities.

Robert Hughes, the coalition’s regional coordinator, said environmental groups around the state have banded together to push for the passage of the Growing Greener II ballot question.

Of the $625 million that would be borrowed for Growing Greener II, about $100 million would go toward abandoned mine clean-up, he said.

“We only get $25 million a year in federal money, and that goes in no time,” Hughes said of the state. “This is an additional shot in the arm for all of our projects.”

Abandoned mines are undoubtedly one of the county’s most pressing environmental and economic concerns, but they are not the only projects in the county that would be funded through the initiative, said Adrian Merolli, director of the Luzerne County Planning Department.

A related issue, Merolli said, is the ongoing problem of acid mine drainage that continues to pollute the county’s rivers and streams, such as Solomon Creek, which is known for its orange tint caused by the mine drainage.

Growing Greener money could also be used to preserve farmland and open space, as well as fund flood protection programs. He also suggested the state Legislature expand the proposed program to include funding for stormwater management projects.

That is why municipalities around the county have given overwhelming support for the ballot question, according to John Blake, director of the Northeastern Pennsylvania office of the governor.

“We in Northeastern Pennsylvania have been victimized in a very serious way by our industrial legacy,” Blake said. “Despite the fact that we built this country on the back of our labor, when the industry met its demise, we were left with acres and acres of waste coal land . . . These are areas that need investment.”

Andy Benyo can attest to that. Benyo is the chairman of the board of supervisors in Hazle Township, where he estimates 3,000 acres of land remain scarred by decades of strip mining.

“We could probably use all that money ourselves,” Benyo said of the proposed Growing Greener II initiative. “It’s a shame . . . You go outside this area, anywhere that didn’t have this strip mining taking place, and you don’t see what we see here. You see the beauty of the land.

“We need this,” he said of the ballot initiative. “We need it extremely badly.”

 

86 Strategies for Implementation Using Integrated Watershed Planning Workshop 2005-05-11 15:11:05

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are cooperating on the development of a technical training program for those involved in the design, review, and implementation of watershed-based plans in support of activities funded under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act As part of this effort, WEF’s Watershed Training Task Force has developed a workshop entitled “Strategies for Implementation Using Integrated Watershed Planning.”

The agenda for the workshop is attached. The Task Force will be conducting a pilot test of the workshop on Saturday, June 25, 2005 at the Hyatt Regency Philadelphia from 12:30-7:30pm. We are currently recruiting workshop reviewers. If you are interested in participating or are aware of Section 319 grant recipients that could benefit from participation, please contact WEF’s Greg McNelly by e-mail as soon as possible. Reviewers will be expected to stay for the entire workshop and provide meaningful analysis and feedback at its conclusion.

This is a free afternoon/evening workshop on June 25, 2005 on technical

tools for watershed planning. It is put on by Water Environment Federation (WEF) to aid in developing a new course. Attendees will provide WEF feedback on the pilot training and then, if they are interested, they can attend the WEF TMDL Conference technical sessions for free also ( WEF can only cover one night’s lodging , however). – Stuart Lehman, EPA NPS Program- Washington, DC

Limited travel assistance is available to state and local officials,

watershed groups, and Section 319 grant recipients. A few complimentary registration to WEF’s TMDL 2005 Conference registrations are also available for workshop reviewers that wish to stay for the conference, which runs from June 26-29, 2005. See WEF’s Website for more information about TMDL 2005.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:

Avinash S. Patwardhan, Ph.D., P.H.

Chair, WEF Watershed Training Task Force

CH2M HILL

One Harvard Circle

West Palm Beach, FL 33409

Phone: (561) 515-6548

Fax: (561) 515-6502

E-mail: apatward@ch2m.com

 

85 Growing Greener II COMMENTARY: Vote to Protect Verdant Spaces 2005-05-11 14:06:43

Source: Times Leader

ON MAY 17, voters in Pennsylvania will have an historic opportunity to approve an environmental bond issue that will address three of the Commonwealth’s most urgent environmental problems — acid mine drainage, the loss of working farmland and open space and cleaning up our rivers and streams.

These are not rural or suburban, western or eastern, Republican or Democratic problems. They are problems for all of us to solve and now you can help.

As former environmental agency secretaries who served four governors, we know first-hand the challenges these issues present to Pennsylvania.

And the cost of this initiative is small compared to its potential benefits. In fact, Gov. Rendell and leadership in the Senate and House said they will not propose any increases in taxes or fees to pay for this bond issue.

Severely polluted water from abandoned coal mines is Pennsylvania’s number-one source of water pollution — over 2,200 miles of streams are sterile and unusable and more than 220,000 acres of abandoned mines need to be reclaimed.

These scars from past mining not only damage our environment, they often make our more rural areas of Pennsylvania unattractive for economic development.

Pennsylvania has made tremendous progress cleaning up thousands of acres of abandoned mines and hundreds of miles of streams thanks to a variety of state and federal programs, the modern coal industry and local watershed groups. But much more remains to be done.

The proposed bond issue builds on the progress we’ve made and would accelerate the pace of cleanup to the benefit of hundreds of communities in our coal fields.

Between 1960 and 1990, our 10 largest urban areas grew by 13 percent, but the amount of land we live on grew by 80 percent. In the process, hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland and open space permanently disappeared.

While Pennsylvania created the largest farmland preservation program in the United States and incentives for protecting open space, a significant portion of the funding for the farmland preservation program is coming to an end this year.

The Growing Greener bond issue will restore this funding and help stem the loss of thousands of acres of valuable open land.

The longer we wait to preserve farmland and open space the more expensive it gets.

Pennsylvania’s streams need more help recovering from a variety of other environmental insults. Over 13,200 miles of streams are impaired by water pollution of different types. Natural buffers along streams have been cut down and property damage has increased from flooding because natural floodplains have been eliminated.

To help solve these problems, local watershed groups, county conservation districts, businesses and local governments have partnered with state and federal agencies to promote watershed restoration projects that help eliminate nutrient runoff from farms, plant stream buffers, lower flooding potentials and restored streams that have not seen a fish in 125 years.

The bond issue on the ballot will help to dramatically expand support for projects like these in watersheds all across Pennsylvania.

The environmental problems we outline here affect every one of us because we all need clean water, farmland to grow our food and a clean, healthy environment to promote economic opportunity for our children.

While we’ve made tremendous progress in restoring our environment over the last 35 years, we’re not done yet.

As former environmental agency secretaries who served Democratic and Republican governors, we encourage you to vote “yes” on the environmental bond issue on May 17.

By voting, you have the opportunity to make a real difference in the future of thousands of communities all across Pennsylvania, and a cleaner environment for us all.

——————————————————————————–

This article was signed by: Clifford L. Jones, secretary of environmental resources – 1979-1981 under Gov. Thornburgh; Peter S. Duncan, secretary of environmental resources – 1981-1983 under Gov. Thornburgh; Nicholas DeBenedictis, secretary of environmental resources – 1983-1987 under Gov. Thornburgh; Arthur A. Davis, secretary of environmental resources – 1987-1995 under Gov. Casey; John C. Oliver, secretary of conservation and natural resources – 1995-2003 under governors Ridge and Schweiker; David E. Hess, secretary of environmental protection , 2001-2003 under governors Ridge and Schweiker.

 

84 May 17 Growing Greener ballot question will help to improve PA’s Environment 2005-05-02 09:44:38

[u][b]Attention Voters[/b][/u]

The May 17 Growing Greener ballot question will help to improve Pennsylvania’s environment:

“Do you favor authorizing the Commonwealth to borrow up to $625,000,000 for the maintenance and protection of the environment, open space and farmland preservation, watershed protection, abandoned mine reclamation, acid mine drainage remediation and other environmental initiatives?”

[align=center]- – – – – – – – – -[/align]

This bond will preserve working farms and natural areas, clean up streams and rivers, take on serious environmental problems at abandoned mines and contaminated industrial sites, shore up key programs that are dangerously short of funds, and revitalize communities across the Commonwealth.

Learn more at the.[url=http://www.growinggreener2.com]Growing Greener II Website[/url].

 

80 RiverFest 2005 Set For May 7th 2005-04-08 13:36:39 Saturday, May 7th The Lackawanna River Corridor Association (LRCA), will hold RiverFest-2005. RiverFest encompasses a day-long series of activities including: Canoe-A-Thon – now in it’s fourth decade, the Fourth Annual River Regatta and Eighth Annual Duck-A-Thon.

An exciting new Finish Line site will be located near the new Scranton High School on Olive Street. The new site will connect RiverFest 2005 festivities directly to downtown Scranton. RiverFest means a full day of family fun starting with the well known Canoe-A-Thon, then River Regatta and finally Duck-A-Thon. RiverFest has become a traditional celebration, a rite of spring and an opportunity for the entire community to return to the River in early spring and have fun.

LRCA Board member Jim Frankowski is co-chairing RiverFest 2005 with Thomas McLane, president of McLane Associates Architectural Firm, Scranton.

This year’s Canoe-A-Thon will again feature a 12-mile course and an eight-miler. Launch site for the 12-miler is at Maslyar Park, also known as Laurel Street Park, Archbald. The eight-mile run starts in Mellow Park, Blakely. Rental canoes and kayaks are available at Mellow Park only.

The Fourth Annual River Regatta is a tongue-in-cheek event with entries from the ridiculous to the sublime. Dr. Barry Minora is chairing this event. He notes that entrants need only follow the barest minimum of maritime decorum to enter history.

Duck-A-Thon is pure fun. “Ducks” take to the River and a make mad dash for the finish line. Chance holders wait word to see if they hold the winning duck ticket. Tickets for Duck-A-Thon are available weekends at The Mall at Steamtown, at Everything Natural, Clarks Summit or from any LRCA Board member.

Registration forms and all additional information are available by calling the LRCA offices at 570-207-7608, or visit the Association’s website at www.lrca.org. Interested participants, sponsors or volunteers can also email the LRCA at lrca@epix.net.

 

79 Grant Announcements from the Eastern Coal Regional Roundtable 2005-04-08 12:50:58 April 4, 2005

Non-Federal Funding Opportunities:

      Joyce Foundation: Ohio Only
      McKnight Foundation: KY & TN
      Conservation Fund
    Patagonia

Federal Funding Opportunities:

    EQIP-USDA

Non-Federal Funding:

JOYCE FOUNDATION: FOR OHIO ONLY

The Joyce Foundation is committed to improving public policy through its grant program. Accordingly, the Foundation welcomes grant requests from organizations that engage in public policy advocacy. Federal tax law prohibits private foundations from funding lobbying activities. The Foundation may support organizations engaged in public policy advocacy by either providing general operating support or by funding educational advocacy such as nonpartisan research, technical assistance, or examinations of broad social issues. The Foundation encourages grant applicants to describe the nature of advocacy activities in their grant applications and reports, so the Foundation can ensure that it is in compliance with federal tax laws. For further information on the relevant federal tax laws, grant applicants should consult their tax advisors. Protecting the natural environment of the Great Lakes region has been a long-time commitment of the Joyce Foundation. The Foundation supports the development, testing, and implementation of policy-based, prevention-oriented, scientifically sound solutions to the environmental challenges facing the region, especially those that center around water.

The Joyce Foundation accepts letter of inquiry. More Information: http://www.joycefdn.org/seekingagrant/seekingmain-fs.html

DEADLINE: April 15th

THE MCKNIGHT FOUNDATION: ONLY KENTUCKY AND TENNESSEE

The McKnight Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life for present and future generations and to seek path to a more secure and humane world. The environment program seeks to maintain and restore a healthy environment in the Mississippi River Basin. The overarching goal is to maintain and restore the River by directly increasing land and water protection and restoration, expanding the capacity of other organizations to do this work, and transforming systems that impede progress. The foundation supports the 10 state corridor of the Mississippi Basin. A major objective is too improving water quality.

Letter of Inquiry Deadline: April 15th

More Information: http://www.mcknight.org/environment/guidelines.aspx

CONSERVATION FUND: International Paper Environmental Awards

International Paper, in partnership with The Conservation Fund, recognizes the efforts of people across the country working to protect the future of America’s outdoor heritage.

Each year, the partners honor two individuals whose work demonstrates that a healthy environment and a healthy economy are mutually supportive. The $10,000 awards are provided by The International Paper Company Foundation. You must nominate someone for this award.

Nomination Form:http://www.conservationfund.org/pdf/ip%20conservation%20partner.pdf

DEADLINE: April 15th

More Information: http://www.conservationfund.org/?article=2331

PATAGONIA: Environmental Grants

Patagonia funds only environmental work. We are most interested in making grants to organizations that identify and work on the root causes of problems and that approach issues with a commitment to long-term change. We look for programs with a clear agenda for change and a strategic plan for achieving the organization’s goals. Because we believe that true change will occur only through a strong grassroots movement, our funding focuses on organizations that build a strong base of citizen support. We fund work that:

      is action-oriented
      builds public involvement and support
      is strategic
      focuses on root causes
      accomplishes specific goals and objectives
    takes place in communities in which we do business

We support small, grassroots activist organizations with provocative direct-action agendas. We look for innovative groups that produce measurable results, and we like to support efforts to force the government to abide by its own – our own – laws. We help local groups working to protect local habitat, and think the individual battles to protect a specific stand of forest, stretch of river or indigenous wild species are the most effective in raising more complicated issues in the public mind, particularly those of biodiversity and ecosystem protection. Because we’re a privately held company, we have the freedom to fund groups off the beaten track, and that’s where we believe our small grants are most effective. Most grants are in the range of $3,000 to $8,000.

If you are interested send proposals to Lisa Pike at:

Patagonia, Inc.

PO Box 150

Ventura, CA 93002

DEADLINE: April 30th

More Information: http://www.patagonia.com/enviro/grants_app.shtml

Federal Opportunities:

Environmental Quality Incentives Program: Natural Resource Conservation Service

The Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) was reauthorized in the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (Farm Bill) to provide a voluntary conservation program for farmers and ranchers that promotes agricultural production and environmental quality as compatible national goals. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist eligible participants install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land.

EQIP offers contracts with a minimum term that ends one year after the implementation of the last scheduled practices and a maximum term of ten years. These contracts provide incentive payments and cost-shares to implement conservation practices. Persons who are engaged in livestock or agricultural production on eligible land may participate in the EQIP program. EQIP activities are carried out according to an environmental quality incentives program plan of operations developed in conjunction with the producer that identifies the appropriate conservation practice or practices to address the resource concerns. The practices are subject to NRCS technical standards adapted for local conditions. The local conservation district approves the plan.

EQIP may cost-share up to 75 percent of the costs of certain conservation practices. Incentive payments may be provided for up to three years to encourage producers to carry out management practices they may not otherwise use without the incentive. However, limited resource producers and beginning farmers and ranchers may be eligible for cost-shares up to 90 percent. Farmers and ranchers may elect to use a certified third-party provider for technical assistance. An individual or entity may not receive, directly or indirectly, cost-share or incentive payments that, in the aggregate, exceed $450,000 for all EQIP contracts entered during the term of the Farm Bill.

This program is run through state offices, so contact your state USDA office. There is a significant pot of money set aside for this program, and they are very willing to give it to landowners. This is an excellent opportunity to preserve stream banks and land near rivers.

State Application: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/EQIP_signup/2005_EQIP/index.html

More Information: http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/eqip/

As always all funding announcements and more can be found at the Eastern Coal Regional Roundtable website: www.easterncoal.org

REMINDER: Targeted Watersheds Grants & Water Quality Cooperative Agreements are due soon, more information at www.easterncoal.org, archives!

 

77 The Latest News Releases from OSM 2005-03-31 10:28:05

For the latest news releases from the Office of Surface Mining, Please visit http://www.osmre.gov/ocnews.htm

 

76 Pennsylvania Awarded $21.2 Million to Reclaim Dangerous Abandoned Mine Lands 2005-03-29 16:20:27

(WASHINGTON) – Interior Secretary Gale Norton today announced that the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining has awarded Pennsylvania a grant of $21.2 million to help reclaim dangerous abandoned mine lands.

The Office of Surface Mining estimated last year that in Pennsylvania almost $1.04 billion worth of high-priority problems remain and more than 1,649,959 Pennsylvanians are living less than a mile from a dangerous abandoned mine site. Thousands more live every day with the environmental impacts of abandoned, un-reclaimed coal mines.

The Abandoned Mine Land program, which provides grants to states to reclaim abandoned mine sites, was scheduled to expire September 30.

Congress extended the program through June 30. “The Abandoned Mine Land program has made thousands of Americans living in the coalfields safer, but the job is not finished,” said Norton. “Even after 25 years of extraordinary national effort, we still have almost $3 billion worth of high-priority hazards to health and safety waiting to be cleaned up. ”

“Our Administration remains committed to reauthorizing AML fee collection authority,” said Norton. “We are working with Congress now to bring reform to the AML program, speed up the elimination of high priority health and safety abandoned coal mines and to provide for the expedited payment of unappropriated balances to certified States and Tribes.”

High-priority AML problems threaten public health and safety and could cause substantial physical harm to persons or property. They include clogged streams and stream lands, dangerous highwalls, impoundments, piles, embankments and slides, hazardous or explosive gases, hazardous water bodies, underground mine fires, surface burning, portals and vertical openings, subsidence and polluted drinking water.

The Office of Surface Mining (OSM) collects fees on current coal mining to fund reclamation of coal mine sites abandoned before 1977.

“The grants we’ve just awarded will give Pennsylvania’s reclamation program some of what it needs to continue working on this enormous problem,” said Norton. “Our administration is working to better protect the people of Pennsylvania and eliminate these serious dangers decades sooner.”

The AML Program award will provide the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) funding for the following AML

activities:

Non-Emergency Administrative Costs ($2,768,291); Non-Emergency Non-Water Supply Project Costs ($13,841,420); Non-Emergency Water Supply Project Costs ($1,449, 070); Appalachian Clean Stream Initiative Costs ($874,180); and Ten Percent Set-Aside Acid Mine Drainage Program Costs ($2,360,697).

Pennsylvania’s FY 2005 grant performance period is January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2007, with the utilization of 111 full time equivalents.

-OSM-

High resolution photos of AML problems are available online at www.osmre.gov.

 

75 Pennsylvania Awarded $8.9 Million to regulate coal mine reclamation 2005-03-29 16:19:42

OSM funds programs to protect people and environment during coal mining

(WASHINGTON) – Interior Secretary Gale Norton today announced that the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining has awarded Pennsylvania

$8.9 million in funding for the state’s regulation of active coal mines.

“This grant, combined with state matching funds, will support Pennsylvania’s program to inspect active coal mines and enforce Surface Mining Act requirements to protect people and the environment during mining and ensure prompt land restoration afterward,” said Norton.

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, the law that regulates coal mining throughout the country, established a coordinated effort between the states and the federal government to prevent abuses that characterized surface coal mining in the past. The Law gives states authority to regulate active coal mining and also fund reclamation of abandoned mine problems. The OSM grant, together with state matching funds, will cover costs of salary and fringe benefits for 246 Pennsylvania employees involved in the regulation of active coal mines.

The total budget for the state’s Surface Coal Program is $17.8 million dollars for the period October 1, 2004 through September 30, 2005.

Information about coal mine reclamation is available online at www.osmre.gov

-OSM-

 

73 Rural Abandoned Mineland Program (RAMP) Update from NCAMR 2005-03-03 12:05:29

The National Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (NCAMR) has been working on the wording for an update revitalize the Rural Abandoned Mineland Program (RAMP) in the event that the AML Trust Fund is not re-authorized or in addition to the AML Trust Fund.

Please use our poll attached to this article to show how strongly you would support this legislation.

Below is the wording: Title: Rural Abandoned Mine Program Act of 2005 (Draft)

Section: — There is to be created a stand along reclamation program called the Rural Abandoned Mine Program (RAMP). The purpose of this program is to reclaim and restore land and water impacted by abandoned coal mining prior to 1977.

Purpose: — The purpose of the program shall be limited to the restoration of land and water resources and the environment previously degraded by effects of coal mining practices including measures for the conservation and development of soil, water, woodland, fish, and wildlife, recreation resources, and agriculture productivity (priority #3 under Reclamation Act of 1977).

Funding: — Although there is no current inventory of Priority #3 sites at present, it is estimated that approximately $30 billion is needed to reclaim these environmental problems impacting our nation. To implement the program, there is authorized to be appropriated, from the general funds, to Secretary of Agriculture such sums as may be necessary. The Secretary of Agriculture shall utilize the services of the Natural Resources Conservation Service to implement this program.

Eligible Lands and Water: — Land and water eligible for the reclamation or drainage abatement expenditures under this title are those which were mined for coal or were affected by such mining, waste banks, coal processing, or other coal mining processes prior to August 3rd, 1977 and for which there is no continuing reclamation responsibilities under state or federal law.

Reclamation of Rural Lands: —

(a) In order to provide for control and prevention of erosion and sedimentation damages from mined lands, and to promote the conservation and development of soil and water resources of unreclaimed mined lands and lands affected by mining, the Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to enter into agreements of not more than ten years with landowners, residents, and tenants, and individually or collectively, determined by the Secretary to have control for the period of the agreement of lands in question therein; providing for land stabilization, erosion, and sediment control, and reclamation through conservation treatment including measures for the conservation and development of soil, water woodland, wildlife, and recreation resources and agriculture productivity of such lands. The Secretary of Agriculture shall make such agreement with owners, including owners of water rights, residents, or tenants of the lands in question.

(b) The land owner, including the owner of water rights, residents, or tenant shall furnish to the Secretary of Agriculture a conservation plan setting forth the proposed land uses and conservation treatment which shall be mutually agreed by the Secretary of Agriculture and to the landowner, including owner of the water rights, residents, or tenant to be needed on the lands for which the plan was prepared. In those instances where it is determined that the water rights or water supply of a tenant, landowner, including owner of water rights, resident, or tenant have been adversely affected by surface or underground coal mine operation which has removed or disturbed a stratum so as to significantly affect the hydrologic balance, such plan may include proposed measures to enhance water quality or quantity by means of joint action with other affected landowners including owners of water rights, residents, or tenants in consultation with appropriate State and Federal agencies.

(c) Such plans shall be incorporated in an agreement under which the landowner, including owner of water rights, resident, or tenant, shall agree with the Secretary of Agriculture to effect the land use and conservation treatment provided for in such plan on the lands described in the agreement in accordance with the terms and conditions thereof.

(d) In return for such an agreement by the landowner, the Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to furnish financial and other assistance in such amounts and subject to such conditions as the Secretary of Agriculture determines are appropriate in the public interest for carrying out the land use and conservation set forth in the agreement. Grants made under this section, depending on the income-producing potential of the land after reclaiming, shall provide up to 80% per centum of the cost of carrying out such land uses and conservation treatment on not more than one hundred and twenty acres of land occupied by such owner, including water rights owners, residents, or tenant or’ on not more than one hundred and twenty acres of land which has been purchased jointly by such landowners, including water rights owners, residents, or tenants under an agreement under the enhancement of water quality or quantity or on land which has been acquired by an appropriate State or local agency for the purpose of implementing such an agreement; except the Secretary of Agriculture may reduce the matching cost share where he determines that (1) the main benefits to be derived from the project are related to improving the offsite esthetic values, or other offsite benefits, and (2) the matching share requirements would place a burden on the landowner which would probably prevent him from participating in the program: Provided that, however, that the Secretary of Agriculture may allow for land use and conservation treatment on such lands occupied by any such owner in excess of such one hundred and twenty acre limitation up to three hundred and twenty acres, but in such event the amount of the grant to such landowner to carry out such reclamation on such lands shall be reduced proportionately. Not withstanding any other provision of this section with regard to acreage limitations, the Secretary of Agriculture may carry out reclamation treatment projects to control erosion and improve water quality on all land within a hydrologic unit, if the Secretary determines that treatment of such lands as a hydrologic unit will achieve greater reduction in the adverse effects of past surface mining practices than would be achieved if reclamation was done on individual parcels of land.

(e) The Secretary of Agriculture may terminate any agreement with a landowner including water rights owners, operator, or occupier by mutual agreement if the Secretary of Agriculture determines that such termination would be in the best interest, and may agree to such modification of agreements previously entered into herein as he deems desirable to carry out the purposes of this section or to facilitate the practical administration of the program author1zed herein.

(f) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary of Agriculture, to the extent he deems it desirable to carry out the purposes of this section, may provide in any agreement herein under for (1) preservation for a period not to exceed the period covered by the agreement and an equal period thereafter of the cropland, crop acreage, and allotment history applicable to the land covered by the agreement for the purpose of any Federal program under which such history is used as a basis for an allotment or other limitation on the production of such crop; or (2) surrender of any such history and allotments.!

(g) The Secretary of Agriculture shall be authorized to issue such rules and regulations as he determines are necessary to carry out the provisions of this section.

(h) In carrying out the provisions of this section, the Secretary of Agriculture shall utilize the services of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

 

71 Governors and Tribal Leaders Invited To Nominate Projects for Watershed Grants 2005-02-23 12:24:19

News Brief- EPA’s latest development for release: (Washington, D.C. – February 18, 2005)

[align=center]Contact: Enesta Jones 202-564-7873/ jones.enesta@epa.gov[/align]

To further protect and restore the country’s waterways, the Bush Administration is calling on the nation’s governors and tribal leaders to apply for the third round of EPA’s watershed grants. The Targeted Watersheds Grant Program was first proposed by the president in 2002 to protect America’s waterways. In its first two years, EPA awarded nearly $30 million in grants to 34 watershed organizations across the country. For fiscal year 2005, Congress has approved $18 million for grants to support community-based approaches and activities to help local water resources — $8 million of which will go directly to grants in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Today’s notice announces the beginning of the 2005 process for the $10million targeted for watershed nation-wide watershed grants.

“Our Targeted Watersheds Grant Program is a shining example of cooperative conservation and environmental innovation,” said EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water Ben Grumbles.

The 34 watersheds already in the program cover more than 110,000 square miles of the nation’s lakes,rivers, and streams. They represent varied landscapes from the forests of Maine to the tropics of Hawaii;from the sparsely populated areas in Alaska to highly urbanized watersheds of the East Coast. Funds are already going toward restoration and protection projects such as stream stabilization and habitat enhancement, implementing agricultural and stormwater best management practices, and working with local municipalities and homeowners to promote sustainable practices and strategies. The selected organizations were chosen to receive the awards because their projects were the most likely to achieve environmental results quickly. Nominations by the country’s governors and tribal leaders for the third year of grants competition will be due to EPA on or before May 19, 2005. The agency will then evaluate and rank each submission based on a set of criteria outlined in today’s notice. Final selections of the watershed grantees will be announced in late summer. To access the Federal Register notice and other information about the Targeted Watersheds Grant Program go to: http://www.epa.gov/owow/watershed/initiative/.

 

69 Bush Plan Could Drain Effort to Clean Up Waters 2005-02-14 18:13:45 Source: Bustillo & Weiss, LA Times (2/9/2005)

For the second straight year, President Bush is proposing to slash federal assistance to modernize aging sewer plants and prevent polluted runoff from tainting rivers and beaches, despite the Environmental Protection Agency’s own estimate that billions of dollars are needed to clean up the nation’s waters. The clean water cuts are by no means the only environmental funding reductions in the Bush spending plan.

The EPA budget would be reduced by roughly 5.6% overall. Energy Department funding for efficiency and renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power would be cut by about 4%. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration budget would be trimmed by 8.3% despite the White House’s recently announced action plan to better safeguard and rehabilitate the oceans. The cuts include a 38% reduction to the National Ocean Service, which works on ocean preservation and exploration, and a near 12% drop in funding to the National Marine Fisheries Service, which works to curb overfishing.

For the complete story visit: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-enviro9feb09,0,4835115.story?coll=la-home-nation

 

68 National Assoc. Of Abandoned Mine Land Programs Conference CFP 2005-02-14 18:08:53

The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) is issuing a first call for papers to be presented at the 27th annual conference of the National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs (NAAMLP). The conference is scheduled for September 18-21, 2005 at the Holiday Inn in Bristol, Virginia. With the assistance of the NAAMLP and the Interstate Mining Compact Commission, DMME looks forward to an exciting and highly informative conference. Download the CFP Application Here…

 

67 Using PA’s “Citizen Capital” To Cleanup Our Abandoned Mine Legacy 2005-02-14 17:56:31

By Bruce Golden, Regional Coordinator, Western PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation

(Note: These remarks were presented as testimony this week by Mr. Golden before the Green Ribbon Commission chaired by Rep. Bill Adolph (R-Delaware) and Sen. Mary Jo White (R-Venango) in Harrisburg.)

Chairman White, Chairman Adolph, and distinguished members of the Green Ribbon Commission, thank you for inviting me to speak before you about one of Pennsylvania’s most chronic environmental problems, acid mine drainage.

My name is Bruce Golden, Regional Coordinator of the Western PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, a non-profit group whose mission is to advance the cause of abandoned mine reclamation in western Pennsylvania.

Working in concert with county conservation districts, we see ourselves as a helping hand for those groups grappling with local problems caused by past mining practices. In existence for over 20 years, we are a recognized leader in this cause. Our sister organization, the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, is performing similar services in the anthracite coal region.

Years ago, before regulations protected the environment, extensive coal mining occurred throughout much of Pennsylvania. Mining operators minimized costs but in ways that turned out to be disastrous to the environment. Throughout coal country, rust-colored, lifeless waters are testament to a century’s worth of unregulated mining. Acid mine drainage (AMD) is the culprit. Characterized by its acidity and metal content, streams affected by AMD are generally not suitable for drinking or recreation.

We’ve inherited well over 4,000 miles of these seriously degraded waterways, now Pennsylvania’s single worst water pollution problem.

In spite of the magnitude of this problem, a truly remarkable phenomenon is happening in Pennsylvania: AMD impacted watersheds are being transformed into usable and desirable resources.

This renaissance of sorts is not just the story of environmental improvement, but one of the passionate people acting at the local level in partnership with government, business, industry, academia, non-profit organizations and foundations to bring about meaningful change.

It’s also the story of the success of passive treatment systems that have been instrumental in the treatment of AMD. I’ll illustrate with a two examples.

In Somerset and Cambria Counties, a local coalition known as the Stoneycreek River Improvement Project did what many thought next to impossible: in less than 8 years a virtually lifeless AMD impacted river now has 22 species of fish including reproducing trout. The upper reaches of the Stonycreek River are considered to be one of the best reclaimed trout fisheries in America.

Using passive treatment, that fishery extends to downtown Johnstown. People there are now looking to the river for economic growth from tourism, fishing, and white water rafting. Nature has tremendous resiliency given a chance: with only a partial cleanup, the Stoneycreek has made an amazing comeback. This astounding success was only possible through the dogged determination of over 55 active local partners dedicated to the project.

A similar story comes from the heavily mining-impacted watershed adopted by the an href=http://www.srwc.org/>Slippery Rock Creek Watershed Coalitionin Venango, Butler, Mercer, and Lawrence Counties.

Collectively their 12 passive treatment systems process 500 million gallons of AMD per year, enough water to supply 3 cities the size of Punxatauny. They remove enough iron and aluminum annually to construct 200 small pickups. In 11 miles of streams where fish, absent for 100 years, are back and reproducing.

The environmental success is equaled by the success of people and partners who have bought into the process and become involved at many levels. As proof that these projects take on lives of their own, I’ve given you a publication called “Accepting the Challenge” produced by the Slippery Rock Watershed Coalition that eloquently develops this topic. I urge you to examine this very approachable work.

I could go on and on about the successes that are being achieved throughout the Commonwealth by the people comprising more than 150 watershed groups and their partners. The energy and creativity released on projects is often something to behold. These are action-oriented people on a mission to improve their environment. If we could bottle this determination, energy and enthusiasm, we’d make a fortune.

I’d now like to turn to the technologies involved with treating AMD. First a little background. The most common way of treating AMD is to capture it as it exits the mining environment, then neutralize the acids and precipitate the metals as sludge. So-called active treatment methodologies directly add chemicals to the AMD on an ongoing basis in treatment facilities. Although effective, active treatment has not been widely used for legacy AMD problems because of high operations costs.

In contrast, passive treatment mimics nature’s way of treating AMD by using constructed wetlands and ponds, but still uses the strategy of neutralizing acids and precipitating metals.

Since the mid 1990s, passive treatment technologies have taken center stage in our AMD reclamation efforts. This still emerging technology has advanced substantially over the past decade. We better appreciate both the capabilities and limitations of passive treatment.

For instance, operations and maintenance are more important than originally thought, and we know we have to budget for those costs. We also appreciate that passive treatment may not always be the best alternative for every situation. Sometimes active treatment or a combination of active and passive methods makes for the most cost effective solution.

Other innovative approaches to the problem are being explored. For example,

· resource recovery looks to the metals in AMD for their potential economic value;

· in-situ treatment technologies have promise in treating AMD within the mining environment;

· waste streams from other industries may have value in treating AMD;

· marketing mine pool water as a resource to water intensive industries such as the power industry is something we’ve already started to do.

We commend DEP’s leadership role in encouraging these and other innovative approaches in dealing with AMD.

Now let’s turn to funding. Plain and simple, without adequate funding, we stop dead in our tracks.

The people behind these projects have worked very hard and have been very fortunate to obtain the funding necessary for their projects. Funding has come from a variety of sources, but without doubt the standout player has been the existing Growing Greener program.

Without Growing Greener much our successes would simply not have happened. And Growing Greener has been a wonderful catalyst for multiplying value. On average, for every Growing Greener dollar spent, another dollar was matched by project partners.

Pennsylvania is now the recognized leader in its approach to the dealing with AMD. And Growing Greener is the envy of many other states. I like to think of our approach as a triangle, with the sides representing people, technology, and funding. Each of the sides is dependent on the other two. And sufficient quantities of each are needed to make it all work. It’s a winning formula.

In formulating a game plan on how we go about dealing with the abandoned mine reclamation problems in Pennsylvania, it’s useful to examine the magnitude of the problem. Simply put, it’s big, real big. Many billions of dollars will be needed to fully address the problems statewide.

We need to be in this for the long haul. Realistically, even with optimistic estimates of costs and generous funding, it will take many decades to put this behind us (or behind our children and grandchildren). The decisions made in the upcoming months will help decide how many decades it may take.

In the triangle I referenced earlier, funding will always be the element in the shortest supply dictating the rate of progress. From our standpoint we need and can use all the funding that comes our way. The Governor’s Growing Greener II proposal, therefore, merits our support.

I’ll finish with these recommendations.

· The Commonwealth has a treasure in “citizen capital”. Take advantage of the tremendous energy and opportunity to leverage resources that exists with watershed groups and their partners by funding worthy local reclamation projects.

· Continue to invest in new, improved and innovative technologies.

· Protect the investments we make with reclamation projects by providing funds for operation and maintenance. [As a rule of thumb, we use 4% of the construction costs to estimate annual OM&R costs.]

· Work smarter. Strategically apply available resources to projects that will get the greatest bang for the buck. Many watershed groups have completed or are in the process of doing comprehensive watershed assessments that serve as a guide to their reclamation efforts.

· Be patient, but with a sense of urgency. Recognize the magnitude of the problem. Fund at the highest levels possible. Avoid “feast or famine” funding cycles.

I’d like to close with a passage from “Accepting the Challenge” which provides a fitting summary:

“Pennsylvania has the largest inventory of abandoned mine problems in the entire US. No one government agency, business, or concerned group of individuals can hope to restore the entire state. Only through cooperative partnerships, statewide concern, and the innovation of improved treatment techniques will this unfortunate legacy be resolved.”

Bruce Golden can be contacted at the Western PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation at 724-837-5271 ext. 136 or by bruce@wpcamr.org.

1/28/2005

 

66 Available Scholarships – Need More Minorities to Apply 2005-02-14 17:25:27

Even if you do not have a college-aged child at home, please share this with someone who does. Though there are a number of companies and organizations that have donated money for scholarship use to minorities, a great deal of the money is being returned because of a lack of interest.

Help to get the word out that money is available. Our youth really could use these scholarships. Click on the links to get to the website that has the grant. If this doesn’t work you will have to type in the Web site address manually or cut and paste.

1) BrainTrack’s Financial Aid Section http://www.braintrack.com/financial-aid-articles

2) Student Inventors Scholarships http://www.invent.org/collegiate/

3) Student Video Scholarships http://www.christophers.org/vidcon2k.html

4) Coca-Cola Two Year College Scholarships http://www.coca-colascholars.org/programs.html

5) Holocaust Remembrance Scholarships http://holocaust.hklaw.com/

6) Ayn Rand Essay Scholarships http://www.aynrand.org/contests/

7) Brand Essay Competition http://www.instituteforbrandleadership.org/IBLEssayContest-2002Rules.html

8 ) Gates Millennium Scholarships (major) http://www.gmsp.org/nominationmaterials/read.dbm?ID=12

9) Xerox Scholarships for Students http://www2.xerox.com/go/xrx/about_xerox/about_xerox_detail.jsp

10) Sports Scholarships and Internships http://www.ncaa.org/about/scholarships.html

11) National Assoc. of Black Journalists Scholarships (NABJ) http://www.nabj.org/html/studentsvcs.html

12) Saul T. Wilson Scholarships (Veterinary) http://www.aphis.usda.gov/mb/mrphr/jobs/stw.html

13) Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund http://www.thurgoodmarshallfund.org/sk_v6.cfm

14) FinAid: The Smart Students Guide to Financial Aid scholarships http://www.finaid.org/

15) Presidential Freedom Scholarships http://www.nationalservice.org/scholarships/

16) Microsoft Scholarship Program http://www.microsoft.com/college/scholarships/minority.asp

17) WiredScholar Free Scholarship Search http://www.wiredscholar.com/paying/scholarship_search/pay_scholarship_search.jsp

18 ) Hope Scholarships & Lifetime Credits http://www.ed.gov/inits/hope/

19) William Randolph Hearst Endowed Scholarship for Minority Students http://www.apsanet.org/PS/grants/aspen3.cfm

20) Multiple List of Minority Scholarships http://gehon.ir.miami.edu/financial-assistance/Scholarship/black.html

21) Guaranteed Scholarships http://www.guaranteed-scholarships.com/

22) BOEING scholarships (some HBCU connects) http://www.boeing.com/companyoffices/educationrelations/scholarships

23) Easley National Scholarship Program http://www.naas.org/senior.htm

24) Maryland Artists Scholarships http://www.maef.org/

26) Jacki Tuckfield Memorial Graduate Business Scholarship (for AA

students in South Florida http://www.jackituckfield.org/

27) Historically Black College & University Scholarships http://www.iesabroad.org/info/hbcu.htm

28 ) Actuarial Scholarships for Minority Students http://www.beanactuary.org/minority/scholarships.htm

29) International Students Scholarships & Aid Help http://www.iefa.org/

30) College Board Scholarship Search http://cbweb10p.collegeboard.org/fundfinder/html/fundfind01.html

31) Burger King Scholarship Program http://www.bkscholars.csfa.org/

32) Siemens Westinghouse Competition http://www.siemens-foundation.org/

33) GE and LuLac Scholarship Funds http://www.lulac.org/Programs/Scholar.html

34) CollegeNet’s Scholarship Database http://mach25.collegenet.com/cgi-bin/M25/index

35) Union Sponsored Scholarships and Aid http://www.aflcio.org/scholarships/scholar.htm

36) Federal Scholarships & Aid Gateways 25 Scholarship Gateways from

Black Excel http://www.blackexcel.org/25scholarships.htm

37) Scholarship & Financial Aid Help http://www.blackexcel.org/fin-sch.htm

38 ) Scholarship Links (Ed Finance Group) http://www.efg.net/link_scholarship.htm

39) FAFSA On The Web (Your Key Aid Form & Info) http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/

40) Aid & Resources For Re-Entry Students

http://www.back2college.com/

41) Scholarships for Study in Paralegal Studies http://www.paralegals.org/Choice/2000west.htm

42) HBCU Packard Sit Abroad Scholarships (for study around the world http://www.sit.edu/studyabroad/packard_nomination.html

43) Scholarship and Fellowship Opportunities http://ccmi.uchicago.edu/schl1.html

44) INROADS internships http://www.inroads.org/

45) ACT-SO bEURoe “Olympics of the Mind” B Scholarships http://www.naacp.org/work/actso/act-so.shtml

46) Black Alliance for Educational Options Scholarships http://www.baeo.org/options/privatelyfinanced.jsp

47 ) ScienceNet Scholarship Listing http://www.sciencenet.emory.edu/undergrad/scholarships.html

48) Graduate Fellowships For Minorities Nationwide http://cuinfo.cornell.edu/Student/GRFN/list.phtml?category=MINORITIES

49) RHODES SCHOLARSHIPS AT OXFORD http://www.rhodesscholar.org/info.html

50) The Roothbert Scholarship Fund http://www.roothbertfund.org/schol

APANA stands for Asian Pacific American Network in Agriculture, a department-wide employee organization in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Note: Ideas/comments and news items related USDA Asian employees are welcome.

2004-2006 Office Bearers

Ram Chandran, President 202-694-5446 chandran@ers.usda.gov Kris Murthy, Vice President 202-690-5646 Kris.Murthy@fsis.usda.gov Sylvia Magbanua, Treasurer 202-720-6488 smagbanua@nass.usda.gov Sheila Sankaran, Secretary 202-694-5010 ssankaran@ers.usda.gov

 

64 PA Environmental Professionals 2005 Annual Meeting and Conference 2005-01-19 14:18:03

“The Environmental Profession….Past Accomplishments, New Challenges, Everybody’s Future”

When: May 12th & 13th, 2005

Where: Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel Scranton

700 Lackawanna Avenue, Scranton PA 18503, US

Telephone: (570) 342-8300 Fax: (570) 342-0380

For more information or make a presentation follow this link.

The Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel, conveniently located in the heart of downtown Scranton, offers an impressive blend of amenities: Historic site, appealing guest accommodations, captivating Grand Lobby, Four star cuisine.

There will be your choice of Technical Tours or Golf on Wednesday Afternoon May 11th, 2005 with a very special reception that evening in honor of the dedicated PAEP Board of Directors

Please make your hotel reservations early, at the Special Conference Rate of $89.00 per night.

To make reservations at the Radisson call 570-342-8300 or 1-800-333-3333 and ask for: PA Association of Environmental Professionals.

Or you can go on our website and in the special promotional code type ENVIR

 

63 Governing Green Workshop Annapolis February 4, 2005 2005-01-19 13:37:56

Elected officials invited to bring staff. The Center for Chesapeake Communities in collaboration with the City of Annapolis will sponsor the first in a series of ‘Governing Green’ workshops for local government officials — elected and appointed here in Annapolis. Scheduled for February 4th- 8am to 5pm.

This first workshop will focus on innovative, practical, and cost effective strategies for integrating environmentally sensitive programs into municipal government. Annapolis’s unique community land trust, citizen engagement, green procurement and low impact development guidelines will serve as a models for this workshop. Mayor Moyer, numerous staff and community leaders will participate. A full agenda is available. All will share their experience, and answer questions in a series of panels and presentations,

Since the workshop will be held at Annapolis City Hall participation will be limited. Download the Brochure. Registration is $100. However elected officials can bring a staff guest for single enrollment. For further information E-mail gallenbay@aol.com or call the Gary Allen Executive Director of the Center at 410 267 8595 or register by sending check or purchase order to 229 Hanover Street, Suite 101 Annapolis, MD 21401

 

62 Anti-coal zealots’ opposition to clean-energy law misplaced 2005-01-19 13:17:04

Posted on Tue, Dec. 28, 2004

In attacking certain coal investments, they actually attack the environment.

By Kathleen McGinty

Pennsylvania now proudly boasts one of the most far-reaching and ambitious renewable-energy measures in the nation. Yet, during final debate on the issue in the waning days of the 2003-04 legislative session, some were willing to sacrifice real environmental progress in their apparent determination to kill the measure simply because it dared to mention coal along with wind and solar energy. Fortunately, progress won the day.

Gov. Rendell recently signed into law a clean-energy portfolio standard that ensures that in 15 years, 18 percent of all of the energy generated in the state will come from clean, efficient sources. The plan, sponsored by Sen. Ted Erickson (R., Delaware) and Rep. Chris Ross (R., Chester), promises dramatically to cut pollution, improve public health, encourage investments in advanced technologies, promote economic development, and cut energy costs.

Tier I of the two-tiered standard requires that 8 percent of electricity sold at retail in the state come from traditional renewable sources such as wind power, low-impact hydropower, geothermal energy and biomass energy.

Tier II of the standard requires 10 percent of our electricity to be generated from distributed generation systems, large-scale hydropower, municipal solid waste, and generation from pulping and wood manufacturing by-products. It also promotes conservation, and (horrifying to some) waste-coal cleanup and integrated coal gasification technology.

In attacking these specific kinds of coal investments, environmentalists actually are attacking the environment. Here’s why:

When acid mine drainage is the state’s leading water pollution problem, opposition to cleaning up and beneficially using the waste-coal piles that contribute to this crisis is anti-environment.

When communities suffer socially and economically because of blighted and scarred abandoned mine lands, opposition to returning these sites to clean, productive use is anti-environment.

When conventional coal-fired power plants are a leading source of air pollution in Pennsylvania, opposition to the new technologies that waste-coal facilities use to reduce air emissions and capture harmful pollutants is anti-environment and anti-public health.

When coal gasification facilities are 40 percent more efficient than traditional coal power generation and therefore that much cleaner, opposition to coal gasification is anti-environment, anti-public health and anti-climate stability.

Being anti-coal is not the same as being pro-environment. Anti-coal, anti-mining zealots fail to recognize – or, more precisely, choose to ignore – the fact that not a single windmill ever has been constructed without iron ore that was mined somewhere to make the frames. Solar panels that provide alternative energy sources to power machines and heat our homes are made from silicon, which comes from sand that, again, was mined from a beach somewhere in the world.

There are 8,529 acres of unreclaimed refuse piles with 258 million tons of waste coal in Pennsylvania. More than 2,200 miles of streams are impaired by polluted mine drainage. There are few uses for waste coal except electricity generation. More to the point, there simply aren’t enough available resources to address this multibillion-dollar problem.

Coal gasification offers one of the most versatile and clean ways to convert the energy content of coal into electricity, hydrogen, and other energy forms. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the environmental benefits stem from the capability to cleanse as much as 99 percent of the pollutant-forming impurities from coal-derived gases.

Waste-coal boilers, using circulating fluidized bed (CFB) combustion technology, cut mercury and dioxins by about 80 percent and 99 percent, compared with conventional bituminous coal boilers. For more than 30 years, the Department of Environmental Protection has collected information so that it can get estimates for all pollutants. These data show that emissions of nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide are substantially lower in CFBs than in pulverized coal-fired boilers.

Altogether, Pennsylvania’s clean energy standard portfolio will avoid 9,044,615 tons of carbon dioxide, 78,462 tons of sulfur dioxide, and 21,398 tons of nitrogen oxides each year. Surface waters and rural communities will enjoy additional benefits from reclaimed lands.

Many in the environmental community expressed concern in the last presidential election that fundamental ideologies were displacing facts and science in national environmental policy-making. They may be correct. But if they truly want to fix the problem, they need to start by looking in the mirror.

——————————————————————————–

Kathleen McGinty is secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

 

61 NYS DEC Stream Bioassessment Workshops for 2005 2005-01-02 21:31:10

[b]Benthic Macroinvertebrate Identification[/b]

August 22 – 26, 2005

NYS DEC Pack Demonstration Forest

Warren County, NY

[i]Classroom instruction on benthic macroinvertebrate anatomy, ecology, and character interpretation as well as field and lab work will occur however, the emphasis will focus on lab work utilizing dissecting microscopes and aquatic keys to properly identify organisms. [/i]

[b]Stream Bioassessment Institute 2005 [/b]

August 15 – 19, 2005

NYS DEC Pack Demonstration Forest

Warren County, NY

[i]Daily instruction precedes teams working together in the field performing a bioassessment. Data collecting utilizes well-established protocols for physical, chemical, biological, and bacteriological collecting. [/i]

Each five-day program takes place in the Southern Adirondack Park among numerous streams, lakes, and wetlands.

Fees: $600.00 per program, which includes all workshop materials, food, and lodging. Complete information is available at: www.hudsonbasin.org then click on workshops.

Each program is limited to 16 participants and early registration is recommended.

 

60 Audenreid Mine Tunnel Discharge Kickoff 2004-12-31 18:12:59

You’re Invited to help us kick off the construction of the Audenreid Mine Tunnel DischargeRemediation Project

The Catawissa Creek Restoration Association, EPCAMR and the Schuylkill Conservation District would like to invite you to celebrate the commencement of the Design and Construction of a Passive Treatment System for the Audenreid Mine Tunnel Discharge.

Date: January 6th, 2004

Time: 11:00am

Where: Schuylkill County Agriculture Center

The Audenreid Mine Tunnel Discharge is located within the Catawissa Creek Watershed approximately 2 miles East of the town of Sheppton in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. The Audenreid Mine Tunnel Discharge is the largest abandoned mine drainage (AMD) discharge within the Catawissa Creek Watershed and the second largest discharge in the entire anthracite region. The design and construction of a passive treatment system for the Audenreid Mine Tunnel Discharge will effectively treat the discharge and restore 36 miles of water quality of the Catawissa Creek.

The Schuylkill Conservation District, in partnership with the Catawissa Creek Restoration Association, received a 1.4 million dollar Growing Greener grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection through Section 319 of the Federal Clean Water Act administered by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Join us for this event to learn more about the project, celebrate its commencement, and meet the partners responsible for making it possible.

Project Partners:

Catawissa Creek Restoration Association, Schuylkill County Conservation District, Columbia County Conservation District, Butler Enterprises, Paragon Adventure Park, Blue Knob Rod & Gun Club, East Union Township, Department of Environmental Protection, Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Office of Surface Mining, Susquehanna River Basin Commission, Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service, PA Fish & Boat Commission, Hedin Environmental, and RETTEW

For more information, contact Tom Davidock at the Schuylkill Conservation District (570) 622-3742 ext. 120

 

59 Grant Applications Invited for Banrock Station Wines Wetlands Conservation Prog 2004-12-13 13:00:07

Deadline: January 15, 2005

The Banrock Station Wetlands Conservation Program, a partnership project of Banrock Station Wines and the Conservation Fund http://www.conservationfund.org, provides grants of $1,000 to $5,000 to nonprofit groups that are planning and implementing wetlands conservation and/or restoration projects at the local level.

The goals of the program are to educate key audiences about the importance of wetlands; support action-oriented wetlands conservation projects across America; create partnerships between public, private, and nonprofit organizations to leverage resources for wetlands protection; showcase Banrock Station-supported success stories, bringing visibility to effective conservation; and link Banrock Station’s resources with wetland projects that address critical community issues.

Grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations and public agencies that focus on action-oriented work such as wetland acquisition, restoration, habitat improvement, environmental assessments, education, ecotourism, etc.

Program guidelines and an online application form are available at

the Conservation Fund Web site. RFP Link:

http://www.conservationfund.org/?article=2831

 

58 Applications Invited for Five-Star Restoration Matching Grants Program. 2004-12-13 12:52:38

Deadline: March 1, 2005

The National Association of Counties, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the Wildlife Habitat Council, in cooperation with other sponsors, seek applications for the Five-Star Restoration Matching Grants Program.

The program, which is open to any public or private entity, provides modest financial assistance on a competitive basis to support community-based wetland, riparian, and coastal habitat restoration projects that build diverse partnerships and foster local natural resource stewardship through education, outreach, and training activities.

The “stars” in “Five-Star” are the partners, funders, and/or participants necessary to complete the project, including schools or youth organizations; local or tribal governments; local businesses or corporations; conservation organizations or local citizens groups; state and federal resource management agencies; and foundations or other funders.

Projects must therefore involve diverse partnerships of ideally five organizations that contribute funding, land, technical assistance, workforce support, and/or other in-kind services.

Award amounts range between $5,000 and $20,000, with the average grant amount roughly $10,000.

See the NFWF Web site for program guidelines, application procedures, and an FAQ.RFP Link: http://nfwf.org/programs/5star-rfp.htm

 

53 Welcoming Columbia County, PA to the GIS Community 2004-10-12 09:24:33

Columbia County, PA now has an ArcIMS Database of GIS Layers available. It’s an ESRI sponsored ArcIMS Server of the Parcel Data layers for Columbia County.http://www.columbiapa.org/county/gis/disclaimer.html

 

52 Looking for Grants? Here’s a Bunch from Foundations 2004-10-12 09:02:31

[b]The Amateur Chamber Music Players (ACMP) Foundation[/b] was formed in 1993 to support the aims and purposes of ACMP, an international organization that fosters the playing and singing of chamber music for people of all ages and skill levels. ACMP Foundation grants are typically small, generally ranging from $1,000-$3,500. The Foundation takes a lively interest in recipients’ activities, on occasion providing technical and logistical assistance, and arranging for site visits to complement written reports. http://www.acmp.net

[b]The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Innovation Fund [/b]provides grants to nonprofit organizations to spark the creation or expansion of innovative education programs in non-remedial, out-of-school programs in critical reading and/or writing for elementary and/or middle school students. Programs should be designed to help students build high-level reading and/or writing skills to help them excel in rigorous academic environments as they mature. Programs must serve low-to-moderate-income students. The Foundation encourages applications from rural communities, small towns, and other underserved areas. http://jackkentcookefoundation.org/jkcf_web/content.aspx?page=2414227

[b]The National Education Association [/b]will award 20 grants of $500 each to student-led initiatives through Youth Leaders for Literacy, a joint program of the NEA and Youth Service America. Grant applications should propose youth leadership in developing and implementing a project that begins on NEA’s Read Across America Day in March 2005 and culminates on YSA’s National Youth Service Day in April 2005. http://www.nea.org/readacross/volunteer/youthleaders.html

[b]The Youth Service America and State Farm Insurance [/b]have announced availability of the State Farm Good Neighbor Service-Learning Grant. The grant is now available to teachers/professors, youth (ages 5-25), and school-based service-learning coordinators to implement service-learning projects for National Youth Service Day 2005, April 15-17. One hundred grants of $1,000 are available to youth, teachers/professors , and school-based service-learning coordinators. http://www.ysa.org/awards/award_grant.cfm

[b]The A. L. Mailman Family Foundation [/b]funds projects of national or regional import in the early childhood field. Collaborations across disciplines, across public service entities, and across public and private sectors are essential in order to increase public understanding, inform public policy, and improve service delivery. They encourage the development of on-going partnerships among academicians, government administrators, nonprofit leaders, practitioners and policy makers so that policies get enacted and programs move from vision to reality. http://www.mailman.org/apply/index.htm

[b]The Corning Incorporated Foundation[/b], established in 1952, develops and administers projects in support of educational, cultural, community and selected national organizations. http://www.corning.com/inside_corning/foundation.asp

[b]Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation [/b]offers three programs for musical instruments, each with different criteria. They do not make cash awards. Grants of repairs and new instruments typically range between $500.00 and $5,000.00 in retail value. Please note that delivery of instruments, if awarded, can take up to five months. The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation accepts grant applications throughout the year. http://www.mhopus.org/apply.htm

[b]Jimmy Buffett’s Singing for a Change [/b]offers grants to nonprofit tax exempt organizations for children/families, the environment and disenfranchised groups. http://margaritaville.com/sfc/index.htm

[b]Graham Foundation Grants [/b]are offered to individuals and institutions worldwide in support of activities that focus on architecture and the built environment and that lead to the public dissemination of ideas through publication, exhibition, or educational programming. In the past, the Foundation has supported a variety of endeavors, including research by scholars; grants to architectural schools for special projects, enrichment programs, or new curricula; grants to museums, schools, and libraries for exhibitions, catalogues, and, in rare cases, for acquisitions; and support for publications, usually to help make an important publication better or more affordable. http://www.grahamfoundation.org/grants/gen-desc.asp

[b]The Sony USA Corporation [/b]gives to art education, arts and culture, health and human services, civic and community outreach, education, and volunteerism. For more information: www.sony.com/SCA/philanthropy.shtml

[b]Catholic Health Initiatives Mission and Ministry Fund [/b]funds nonprofit organizations with Project Grants and Planning Grants. Its general theme is to build health communities. For more information: www.catholichealthinit.org

[b]The Robert R. McCormick Tribune Foundation [/b]provides grants in four areas 1) citizenship – engage young people in civic affairs, honor patriotism and strengthen the nonprofit sector, 2) communities – help local groups meet social and economic challenges, 3) education – improve early care and, 4) journalism – advocate free press. For more information: www.rrmtf.org

[b]Estee Lauder Corp. Philanthropy [/b]has broad interests including the arts, health and human services, education and the environment. This cosmetic giant also runs a special program to help raise public awareness about breast cancer. For more information: www.elcompanies.com/html/content/m1_5.htm

Source: CharityChannel.com Don Griesman’s Grant Opportunities

 

51 Non-profit Organizations Assistance Center (NOAC) Trainings for Fall 2004 2004-10-04 14:28:42

We have wide range of training opportunities planned for the fall season. Please review the topics and dates below.

I’m also attaching the September meeting notice for the Greater Pocono Northeast Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. This is not a program sponsored by PNDF but may be of interest to your organization.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

Enjoy the holiday weekend,

Heather Murphy

Pocono Northeast Development Fund

1151 Oak Street, Pittston, PA 18640

Ph. (570) 655-5581 Ext. 238

Fx. (570) 654-5137

pndf@nepa-alliance.org

[b]Upcoming Events[/b]

Date: October 5th

Title: Town Meetings Let’s Talk about the Nonprofit Sector

Location: Pittston, PA

Time: 1:00pm-4:00pm

Cost: TBA, Discount for NOAC members

Registration: Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO), http://www.pano.org/events.php

Date: October 7th

Title: Human Resources for Nonprofit Organizations

Location: Pittston, PA

Time: 8:30am-12:00pm

Cost: TBA, Discount for NOAC members

Registration: Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO), http://www.pano.org/events.php

Date: October 19th

Title: Grantseeking Basics What you Need to Know about Grantseeking & the World of Philanthropy

Location: Pittston, PA

Time: 9:30am-10:30am

Cost: FREE Seating is limited”¦register early!

Registration: Heather Murphy, 655-5581, Ext. 238 or pndf@nepa-alliance.org

Date: October 25th-29th

Title: The Grantsmanship Center Grantwriting Training

Location: Citizen’s Bank Building, Wilkes-Barre

Time: Monday-Friday, full day

Cost: $825, limited scholarships available

Registration: The Grantsmanship Center, (800) 421-9512 or www.tgci.com

Date: November 1st & 2nd

Title: Zocklein & Associates Grant Writing

Location: Pittston, PA

Time: 8:00am 5:00pm

Cost: $199 for one day, $299 for both days (NOAC members receive 10% off)

Registration: