DEP’s Richard Beam Wins National Abandoned Mine Land Assn. Teaching Award

Richard Beam of the Department of Environmental Protection was recently honored by the federal Office of Surface Mining with the 2015 Dave Bucknam Outstanding Instructor Award.

DEP earlier announced it had received a 2015 Excellence in Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Appalachian Regional Award for the Simpson Northeast Coal Refuse Fire Project in Lackawanna County.

Both awards were given on September 28 during an awards banquet at the annual conference of the National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Beam was given the award for his exemplary performance as an instructor for OSM’s National Technical Training Program. The award is given annually to an OSM-NTTP instructor who exhibits dedication, leadership, compassion, and commitment in promoting the training of fellow public employees.

OSM-NTTP has hundreds of instructors located around the country that include current or retired state, tribal, or federal employees certified to instruct by OSM-NTTP.

Over the past 15 years, Beam has been an instructor for OSMRE, teaching classes of colleagues about issues such as: acid forming materials, passive mine drainage treatment, computer applications for acid mine drainage treatment, and much more. He has also been involved in instructing two special training sessions on mine drainage treatment for Montana.

“Rich has a breadth of experience and passion that he brings to the workplace,” said DEP Deputy Secretary for Active and Abandoned Mine Operations John Stefanko. “In his capacity as an instructor, he has and will continue to foster important mine reclamation projects in Pennsylvania and beyond.”

Beam is a 28-year veteran of DEP’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation. During that time, he has worked in a variety of positions within the mining program. He has a significant amount of expertise in the treatment of acid mine drainage.

Beam is a professional geologist, having received a bachelor’s of geology from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown in 1984.

Pennsylvania has many environmental and safety hazards that have arisen as a result of past coal mining (pre-1977). These issues include: mine fires, mine subsidence, dangerous highwalls, open shafts and portals, mining-impacted water supplies and more.

DEP, through the Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, seeks to remediate these hazards through projects funded by the federal Office of Surface Mining.


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