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 Post subject: Company eyes coal-stripping near Palo Alto
PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2009 1:05 pm 
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Location: From Schuylkill County, PA living in Phoenix, AZ
Company eyes coal-stripping near Palo Alto

BY STEPHEN J. PYTAK
POTTSVILLE REPUBLICAN & HERALD
June 24, 2009

PALO ALTO — A local coal-stripping operation is looking to dig through the woods just south of the borough.

Some citizens, like Marty Fanelli, aren’t in favor of the proposal by EOJ Inc., New Ringgold, to strip mine the Buck Vein on Sharp Mountain just south of Cadbury Street.

“My home is no more than 300 feet away from the area. It’s probably less than that,â€

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 Post subject: Coal company discusses mining project in Palo Alto
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 5:02 pm 
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Coal company discusses mining project in Palo Alto

BY STEPHEN J. PYTAK
POTTSVILLE REPUBLICAN & HERALD
June 30, 2009

PALO ALTO - Robert Piacine, a resident of Palo Alto, believes a proposal to strip-mine part of Sharp Mountain will just make life in the borough more difficult.

"Right now, what you have in this town is you have flooding in the west end from abandoned mines. You have a mine fire burning in the east end. You have a bridge which gives us a dangerous situation on the west end. Now this guy wants to destroy the middle of it," Piacine said before a crowd of about 150 at a town meeting at Citizens Fire Company on Monday night.

The meeting, arranged by borough council, allowed Joseph W. Zaprazny, president of EOJ Inc., New Ringgold, to explain his plan to strip-mine the Buck Vein on Sharp Mountain just south of Cadbury Street.

"He wants to be a good corporate citizen, explain things to people and try to make things good for everybody and not have everybody be scared of the unknown," said Michael Halcovage, Zaprazny's attorney.

Many residents in attendance, including John Gall and Sharon Haffey, strongly opposed the idea, fearing the value of their homes could plummet and cause future storm water runoff problems.

Others, including borough Councilman John Deatrich Jr., mentioned some of the proposal's positive points.

"I'm not arguing against it or for it," Deatrich said, "but from a financial standpoint, when you're looking at $1 a ton, if this project takes three years, we're going to have $100,000 in working capital."

EOJ Inc. is currently strip-mining in East Norwegian Township. In an effort to continue stripping the Buck Vein, Zaprazny and his wife, Elizabeth Y., purchased 89.04 acres of property on the south end of the borough for $125,000 on March 11, according to a spokesman from the Schuylkill County Recorder of Deeds office.

That land is zoned conservation/residential, according to borough officials. Before Zaprazny could begin strip-mining, he would have to apply for a variance from the Schuylkill County Zoning Hearing Board and apply for a mining permit from the state Department of Environmental Resources.

So far, Zaprazny said, he has submitted no applications to the authorities on this project.

Zaprazny is proposing to mine only a section that is 1,000 feet long and 300 feet wide and to give the borough $1 per ton of coal mined, Halcovage said.

"In that first 1,000 feet, the closest that the mine area comes to any residence is 1,000 feet," Halcovage said.

"They're not going to get that close to anyone's house," Deatrich said.

"You are only allowed what DEP allows you. If you get too close, you have to stop," Zaprazny said before the meeting.

Zaprazny also said there would be no blasting on the mountain and no increased truck traffic.

While borough council does not have any legal say in the matter, some officials spoke out against the proposal.

Mayor James F. Gayeuski and borough council Vice President Gerald Richter Jr. openly opposed the project.

"I do not support it because it's in the borough limits," Gayeuski said.

"I support the residents and am against the strip mining. I lived on East Bacon Street my entire life and have dealt with truck traffic and strip-mining operations and can honestly tell you I don't like it. I have to deal with trucks coming down just a few feet from my front door," Richter said. His comments drew applause from many in the crowd.

Deatrich said he didn't have a problem with EOJ's trucks.

"I, too, live on East Bacon Street, and on a busy day we see approximately 10 trucks. The trucks are tarped. It's a 15-mile-an-hour speed limit. They go about 10," Deatrich said.

Other council members, including borough council President Charles M. Dries and council members John J. Vandermeer and Baldine Traini Rossi, did not weigh in their opinions for the crowd.

"From the borough's point of view, there is nothing that is going to be voted on tonight by this borough council. This is purely an informational meeting," borough Solicitor Sudhir Patel said at the beginning of the meeting.

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