– To encourage clean-up of toxic waste areas that pollute local waterways, Rep. Lee James (R-Venango/Butler) introduced legislation to add a member of the coal refuse energy and reclamation industry to the Mining Reclamation and Advisory Board (MRAB).
The MRAB assists the Secretary of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in disbursing funds and advising the secretary on surface coal mining and reclamation issues.
Currently, the board is comprised of three coal operators, a professional engineer, a member from the county conservation districts, four public members from the Citizens Advisory Council and four members of the General Assembly.
“It’s important for the board to represent the coal refuse and energy reclamation industry, especially since this industry works to clean up parts of the Commonwealth that pollute our local waters,” James said. “We must be mindful of how we handle toxic waste areas for the safety of all Pennsylvanians.”
The Commonwealth has 11 coal refuse energy and reclamation facilities that are environmentally remediating polluting coal refuse piles and providing alternative energy in the anthracite and bituminous coal regions. One of those facilities is the Scrubgrass Generating Plant in Venango County.
This industry can remove more than 10 million tons of coal refuse from the environment and reclaim approximately 200 acres of mining-affected land in Pennsylvania each year. To date, the industry has removed more than 225 million tons of coal refuse, restored more than 1,200 miles of impaired streams and reclaimed more than 7,200 acres of polluted mining affected land across Pennsylvania.
“These facilities provide the most significant amount of abandoned mine land (AML) reclamation in the Commonwealth. As a vital tool in the state’s efforts to remediate AML sites, I believe the input of the coal refuse energy and reclamation industry would be beneficial to the DEP in evaluating methods and practices related to mine land reclamation and determining how best to allocate state AML funding,” James added.
House Bill 2219
has been referred to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee for consideration.
Representative Lee James
64th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Evans