Wednesday, May 17, 2017

PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference Features Walking Tour & Film Festival June 21

The 2017 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference this year features a unique Walking Tour & Film Festival option to be held on the first day of the Conference-- June 21 in Wilkes-Barre.
At 11:00 a.m., join the guided walking tour of downtown Wilkes-Barre with City Councilman Tony Brooks, a local historian who will be discussing the architectural and historical aspects of several sites along a pre-planned route of the Diamond City. Lunch will be on your own (some discounts available with your conference badge).
At 2:00 p.m., sit back and relax for the Film Festival back a Genetti's! Here, a number of different videographers will be revealing trailers and full mining related documentaries. Attendees will have an opportunity to discuss the different films over an afternoon snack!  
The films include--
-- The Knox Mine Disaster by David Brocca. It is the story of anthracite, the men who mined it, a community that depended on it, and the disaster that ended it more than 50 years ago.  The story reflects what happens when greed outweighs human decency in the pursuit of a profitable natural resource. (Click Here for more information.)
-- Scorched - Pennsylvania Coal Mine Fires by John Welsh. "Scorched" is a short film that introduces viewers to five of the 80+ mine fires actively burning across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. (Click Here for more information.)
-- Beyond the Breaker: A Huber Breaker Documentary by John Welsh. The film explores the connections between people, place and the legacy of coal mining that still influences Pennsylvania's Anthracite region. (Click Here for more information.)
-- Centralia, PA’s Lost Town by Joe Sapienza II. A small town is overcome by a massive underground coal fire that was started in 1962. After many failed attempts to put it out, the fire grew larger and moved beneath most of the town. As a result, hundreds of residents were relocated. By 2013, a handful of remaining residents won their case against the state which granted them life estates in Centralia, Columbia County. (Click Here for more information.)
-- Restoration of the Schuylkill River by Ed Rodgers. The Schuylkill River is enjoying a rebirth after decades of degradation caused by industrial sources and waste from coal mines. Groups of committed citizens and not-for-profit organizations are working to restore this natural resource.
-- King In The Mountain by Dave Edwards. For years anthracite coal was king in Northeast Pennsylvania. When it was discovered, anthracite, also known as hard coal, became the base of America’s Industrial Revolution. But as alternate fossil fuels came into use, the need for hard coal dwindled. Many companies abandoned their mines, businesses closed, and families moved to other areas to find work, leaving Pennsylvania’s once-thriving anthracite economy in dire straits. (Click Here for more information.)
There will be a networking dinner following the film festival.
The Conference will be held June 21-22 at the Best Western Plus Genetti Hotel and Conference Center in Wilkes-Barre.
This year’s theme is  “The Future of Reclamation.”
The potential for the changing Federal environmental policies to influence abandoned mine reclamation in Pennsylvania is imminent.
The return to a focus on coal production, the proposed shifting of spending of the Abandoned Mine Land Fund through the RECLAIM initiative, and the expected expiration of the collection fees feeding the Abandoned Mine Land Fund could each have their own costs and benefits to Pennsylvania’s abandoned mine reclamation community.
The Conference will explore these ideas with an emphasis on the future of reclamation and the benefits it provides.
The Conference is going to be located in the heart of the Wyoming Valley and the Northern Anthracite Coalfields. It has not been back to “The Diamond City” since the first regional conference that was held in June of 1996 at Wilkes University.
For more information and to register, visit the 2017 PA Abandoned Mine Reclamation Conference website.  The website also includes links to previous conferences.
(Photo: Mine discharge (orange) from King In The Mountain by Dave Edwards.)

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