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 Post subject: OSM's Days Reclaiming Mine Lands May End
PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 5:20 pm 
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Location: Anthracite Region of PA
Office of Surface Mining's days reclaiming mine lands may end
By Kent Jackson (Staff Writer)
Published: July 17, 2010




About four times an hour on Monday and Tuesday, the truck returned with more rocks dug from elsewhere on the property of Pagnotti Enterprises in Foster Township just west of Eckley.

Each time the big stones thumped down the box of the dump truck, the workers got a little closer to filling a funnel-shaped hole that had been about 50 feet deep and 40 feet across when they started.

A land manager discovered the hole this spring and reported it to the U.S. Office of Surface Mining in Wilkes-Barre.

OSM's experts responded, as they have for decades whenever chasms suddenly open, creating imminent threats on land disturbed by mining in Pennsylvania's coal fields.

But starting Oct. 1 when the new federal fiscal year begins, OSM might stop making emergency repairs on mine lands.

The president's budget proposal eliminates a fund of about $20 million for those emergencies.

Unless Congress extends funding, Pennsylvania and 28 other mining states and tribes overseen by OSM will have to make those repairs.

States can pay for the emergencies through money allocated for reclaiming abandoned mine land, which increased to $369 million from $145 million the past three years nationwide.

Pennsylvania will receive $43.8 million this year, up from about $30 million the previous year.

"These increases should provide states with enough funding to take responsibility for addressing abandoned mine land and emergency needs on their own," Chris Holmes, a spokesman for OSM in Washington, D.C. said in an e-mail.

Next year, Pennsylvania is set to receive $51 million, third most in the nation, U.S. Rep. Paul Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke, said, and the allocations will increase again in 2012 to $82.4 million.

By directing its own emergency program, Pennsylvania will be able to spend the money without interference from the federal government, Kanjorski said in an e-mail.

"To ensure that there is a smooth transfer of authority, I have been working to set up a meeting with Joseph Pizarchik, OSM's director, in the next few weeks. The director is particularly sensitive to the needs of Pennsylvania, having previously worked at Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection," Kanjorski said.

At state agencies such as Pennsylvania's Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, workers now oversee long-term projects. They fill dangerous highwalls and strip mines and alleviate acid drainage that pollutes water.

To take over the emergency program, however, state workers will have to refine their procedures to react as fast a OSM does.

For instance, when tunnels were discovered beneath Vine Street in Hazleton on July 29, 2008, OSM sent a representative that day. Two days later, OSM held a meeting on the site, next to the Vine Street Cemetery, to accept bids from contractors willing to fill them.

"If you can't start tomorrow, don't bid," OSM's manager told the contractors. The contractor that got the job started work hours later and finished the next day.

Near Eckley, the ground being filled this week has split open twice before.

John Pace, a project manager for OSM, said water overflows from an adjacent strip mine and weakens the ground beneath an area that he called a crop fall.

Crop falls occur, he said, where the coal bed pitches down at an angle. When the ground gives away, it slides down the slope.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 8:52 pm 
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They go through this every year. Id tottaly disregard this article. They have been a poltical football since there inception in 1977 !! And dont even get me going on some of the foul up's DEP has done when doing projects on there own. Just ask the homeowners in the Bellevue section of Scranton :roll: But then again what is good for DEP, is even better for Kanjorski's pocket !! So no wonder he would like to see OSM go away. What he means by no interfearence by the federal goverment is no oversight on federal dollars. Does anyone else see the connection between Kanjorski's will to see OSM disappear, and his own personell gain ? Just take a look at earth conservancy, and the conflict of interest he has had over the years.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:25 pm 
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Location: WILKES-BARRE PA
did you see my beautiful face in that picture :D well all I can say is this time its ver VERY serious, I dont want to say to much on the forum because everyone watches this, but tis not looking to good for the fall unless something big changes.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:34 pm 
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Hope it doesnt happen. In 06 they came within 3 days of being unfunded. So wait and see


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 6:15 am 
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Was talking to a member of DEP this weekend at the tour... I called it right. OSM isnt going anywhere. Once again it became a poltical bargaining chip. Just as it has been since congressmen McDade and Flood left office. Look at the history of OSM, and youd see for yourself. OSM may give up most of the emergency work... but still assist DEP.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 1:05 pm 
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Location: WILKES-BARRE PA
STATE NOW HAS THE EMERGENCY PROJECTS ------- > CHAOS OCCURS hahaha this is going to get messy :lol:

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 04, 2010 6:20 pm 
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Bellevue flushing project should serve as an example !!! of things to come.


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