PA Coal Alliance, DEP Recognize Mining Companies For Land Reclamation
In conjunction with the Department of Environmental Protection, the PA Coal Alliance recognized four Pennsylvania coal companies for eleven sites totaling 850 acres of reclaimed abandoned mine lands on September 4.
Each year, DEP uses an evaluation process based on pre-mining conditions, reclamation quality, landowner satisfaction and compliance with the Commonwealth’s stringent environmental regulations. These fully restored sites return the land to natural habitats, forests and waterways.
The companies recognized this year include: Amerikohl Mining, Inc. for sites in Armstrong County, Butler & Armstrong County, Clarion County, Fayette County, Indiana County and Washington County; Coal Loaders, Inc. for a site in Westmoreland County; Robindale Energy Services Inc. for sites in Somerset County and Westmoreland County; and Original Fuels, Inc. for sites in Clarion County and Jefferson County.
The Pennsylvania land reclamation program is a success story of the coal industry that often goes untold. During the infancy of coal mining practices, the coal companies of previous generations rushed to fulfill the demand for the industrial revolution, two world wars and the rapid growth of the nation.
The nation’s need for coal took precedence causing a legacy of effects on the environment. Today’s coal companies are reclaiming these abandoned mine lands one acre at a time.
Many of these companies take on the job of remediating these legacy effects during the post-mining reclamation for their own production.
Additionally, the 1977 Federal Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act requires coal companies to pay 28 cents per ton for surface coal mined and 12 cents per ton for underground coal mined into a federally administered fund that is then returned to the states under a statutorily-designed formula.
To date, Pennsylvania coal operators have paid almost $600 million into the fund.
Because the distribution formula is based on historical coal production trends that favor states like Pennsylvania with a long heritage of coal mining, the total dollar amount Pennsylvania has received from the fund within this time span exceeds $1.1 billion.
From the Abandoned Mine Land program alone, over 67,000 acres have been reclaimed at no cost to the Commonwealth or its taxpayers.
Through industry collaboration, best practices and working with environmental and safety officials, Pennsylvania has become a leader in mine production procedures. While these companies were not responsible for the legacy effects of past generations, they are addressing them today.
"All Pennsylvania mining companies are driven by a strong commitment to long-term environmental stewardship,” said PCA CEO John Pippy. "The EPA’s short-sighted regulations are to the detriment of Pennsylvania’s lands and these industry leaders who have established responsible practices dedicated to reclamation efforts should continue to be able to do business in the Commonwealth.”
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