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 Post subject: Pa. gets $52.3 million to clean up mines
PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 7:24 am 
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Location: Anthracite Region of PA
Pa. gets $52.3 million to clean up mines

Several area projects may benefit from the available funds

February 25. 2014 11:41PM
By Bill O’Boyle boboyle@civitasmedia.com


WILKES-BARRE — Some mine reclamation projects in Luzerne County may get a boost in funding after Tuesday’s announcement that the U.S. Department of Interior has made $52.3 million available for Pennsylvania in 2014 — the largest amount made available to any state — to reclaim abandoned coal mines.


U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Scranton, and U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Moosic, each issued news releases detailing the announcement.


Michael C. Korb, P.E., environmental program manager for the Wilkes-Barre office of the state Department of Environmental Protection/Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, said there are several projects in Luzerne County requiring additional funds to complete.


Korb and Morgan Wagner, state DEP spokesman provided a list of potential abandoned mine land projects in Luzerne County, though there are no guarantees these projects will be addressed. Projects include:


• Plymouth Township, Curry Hill Avondale, 87.3 acres, $1 million-plus.


• Hazle Township, Hollars Hill South, located at the intersection of I-81 and Route 924; 256 acres, $1 million-plus.


• Eckley, 75 acres, $1 million-plus.


• Newport Township, St. Vladimir Vicinity, 42 acres, under $1 million.


• Plains Township Hilldale, 32 acres, under $1 million.


• Wilkes-Barre City Dorrance Colliery Fan, 1 acre, under $1 million.


• Hazleton Airport, 83 acres, $1 million-plus.


DEP said the latest infusion of funds is a recurring, annual allocation. The fund is derived from a reclamation fee on clean coal produced by underground and surface coal mining.


The federal Office of Surface Mining collects the fees from coal production across the country and then grants the monies back to states and tribes with approved reclamation programs.


Of the total award, up to 30 percent can be set aside to address acid mining drainage projects.


Korb said most of the projects involve reclaiming strip mine holes, mine openings, water field pits and restoring drainage so land can be re-used.


Casey said the funds could also help put out mine fires in parts of Northeastern Pennsylvania. In 2012, Casey backed legislation to restore previous cuts to the Abandoned Mine Land Program which helps communities across the nation clean up abandoned mines.


“These funds will allow communities across Pennsylvania to make progress on cleaning up abandoned coal mines,” Casey said. “Particularly in Northeastern Pennsylvania this investment can help municipal governments as they deal with coal fires burning in underground mines. I’ll continue to press Congress to dedicate the necessary funding for mine reclamation projects that create jobs and improve public health and safety.”

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