Monday, June 26, 2017

House Retroactively Rolls Back Protection For Streams From Underground Coal Mining

Senate Bill 624 (Scarnati-R-Jefferson) was passed Monday by the House by a vote of 120 to 77. The bill retroactively changes the protection streams receive under Act 54 from underground coal mining.
The bill was introduced to influence an appeal now pending before the Environmental Hearing Board of an underground coal mining permit allowing Consol to longwall mine under streams in and around Ryerson Station State Park in Greene County.  (EHB Docket No. 2014-072-B)
Groups like the PA Environmental Council have opposed the bill on the grounds recent studies by the Department of Environmental Protection have demonstrated the existing protections in Act 54 are not adequate to prevent permanent, long-term damage to streams. Click Here for more.
A motion by Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) to declare the bill unconstitutional based on the recent PA Supreme Court decision on the Environmental Rights Amendment was defeated 136 to 61.
The bill now returns to the Senate for a concurrence vote.  A House Fiscal Note and summary is available.
(Photo: Dam in Ryerson State Park already damaged by this same Consol underground coal mine.)

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