Wednesday, June 19, 2019

DEP: Federal Fee Due To Expire In 2021 That Is The Only Source Of Funds To Address $3.9 Billion In High-Priority AML Problems

On June 18, John Stefanko, DEP Deputy Secretary for Active and Abandoned Mine Operations, told the Citizens Advisory Council federal mine reclamation funds are the sole source of funding Pennsylvania has to address the over $3.9 billion high-priority abandoned mine reclamation problems remaining in the state. And, the federal fee supporting the program is due to expire in 2021.
Overall, Pennsylvania has an inventory of over $5 billion and 287,000 acres of unreclaimed abandoned mine problems in 43 of the state’s 67 counties, including mine fires, dangerous highwalls, contaminated water supplies, coal refuse piles, mine subsidence and hazardous mine openings.
Over 5,500 miles of streams and rivers are polluted by acid mine drainage, the number two cause of water quality impairment in Pennsylvania.  The number 1 cause of impairment is agricultural runoff, but just barely.
Federal funding has also been the only source of funding DEP has available to respond to emergencies.
DEP responds to an average of 77 abandoned mine-related emergencies a year, although that average has increased to 86 emergencies over the last 5 years at a cost of $4.85 million a year.
Emergencies include mine subsidence events, mine water breakouts and hazardous mine openings.
Stefanko said Pennsylvania is working with other states-- like Wyoming-- and nonprofit groups-- like the Eastern and Western PA Coalitions for Abandoned Mine Reclamation and the Foundation for PA Watersheds-- to push Congress to reauthorize the fee.
DEP collaborated with their counterparts in Wyoming to develop the Our Works Not Done website that has information on the accomplishments of the program and the work yet to be done.
Stefanko said the last time the fee was reauthorized in 2006 it was the result of 10 years worth of effort.  “We don’t have 10 years.”
Shabazz Elected Chair
Jerome Shabazz was elected Chair of the Council for the coming year.  His day job is serving as the Executive Director of the Overbrook Environmental Education Center in Philadelphia.
He has a Masters in Environmental Protection and Safety Management from St. Joseph’s University and a Bachelor's in Organizational Management from Eastern University.
Shabazz took over as Chair mid-year when Don Welsh left Council to become Executive Director of the Environmental Council of the States.
The Council’s July meeting is canceled because the July Environmental Quality Board was canceled.  Instead, the Council is scheduling a meeting on August 20.
For more information and available handouts, visit the DEP Citizens Advisory Council webpage.  Questions should be directed to Keith Salador, Executive Director, by calling 717-787-8171 or send email to:

No comments :

Post a Comment

Subscribe To Receive Updates:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner