Harrisburg, PA – The Wolf Administration today announced the
approval of $55.6 million in funding that will support at least 150
abandoned coal mine reclamation projects that will create new jobs,
reduce health and safety risks, and improve the environment and outdoor
recreation opportunities throughout Pennsylvania.
“Pennsylvania’s mining legacy necessitates continued commitment to
remediating and reclaiming former mine lands, eliminating hazards,
improving the environment, and benefiting communities,” said Department
of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell.
The projects approved for funding will remove dangerous steep walls left
by mining operations; correct hazardous sinkholes and troughs caused by
collapse of underground mines; extinguish underground fires; reforest
and revegetate some land; and remove acid mine drainage, helping to
restore the health of streams, some of which have been contaminated for
decades, and potentially enabling the return of fish populations.
Project funding comes from the U.S. Department of the Interior Office of
Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement 2018 Abandoned Mine Land
(AML) Grant Fund, and is supported by the active mining industry via a
fee on coal mined across the country.
“One-third of the abandoned mine lands in the nation are located in
Pennsylvania, largely as a result of hundreds of years of coal mining
prior to modern laws, regulations, and safeguards,” said Eric Cavazza,
director of the DEP Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation. “DEP receives
around 800 requests annually for assistance from the public for AML
problems and constantly evaluates eligible sites, assigning a higher
priority to sites that pose a public health, safety, or property risk.”
Some of the larger projects to be funded include the following:
• Allegheny County: To extinguish the Renton underground mine fire in Plum Borough.
• Cambria County: To reclaim the Stineman coal refuse pile in South
Fork Borough, to improve water quality in the South Fork of the Little
Conemaugh River and facilitate construction of a missing section of the
Path of the Flood Trail.
• Indiana County: To construct an AMD treatment plant in Buffington
Township, to treat water from three underground mine pools to improve
water quality in Blacklick Creek and the Kiski-Conemaugh Watershed.
• Westmoreland County: To reclaim the Banning coal refuse pile in Rostraver Township. A solar farm is planned for the site.
• Westmoreland County: To control mine subsidence in the town of
Bradenville to stabilize and help prevent future subsidence for more
than 100 homes.
• Lawrence County: To reclaim the Castlewood West abandoned surface
mine in Shenango Township, eliminating a dangerous highwall.
• Blair County: To reclaim the Glen White (North Site) abandoned
surface mine in Logan Township, eliminating a dangerous highwall and
improving water quality in Altoona’s public water supply area.
• Centre County: To reclaim the Shettleston abandoned surface mine in
Snow Shoe Township, eliminating a dangerous highwall, restoring
forestland through tree planting, and improving recreational
• Clearfield County: To reclaim the Weber Run West abandoned surface
mine in Cooper Township, eliminating a dangerous highwall.
• Northumberland County: To eliminate a dangerous highwall at the
Bear Valley Southwest abandoned surface mine, allowing construction of
an off-road vehicle/ATV park to improve recreational opportunities in
Coal and Zerbe Townships.
• Lackawanna County: To extinguish the Dolph underground mine fire in Olyphant Borough.
• Schuylkill County: To reclaim the Oneida West abandoned surface
mine in North Union Township, eliminating a dangerous highwall.
The DEP Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation is an award-winning national leader in mine land reclamation. The bureau has completed projects at several thousand AML sites, benefiting communities across Pennsylvania.
MEDIA CONTACT: Deb Klenotic, 717-783-9954, firstname.lastname@example.org