PADEP Undermines its Public Trust Responsibility, Report Finds
Citizens Coal Council Urges Reform of Act 54
Bridgeville, PA, (March 30, 2015) – The Citizens Coal Council (CCC) today released a comprehensive independent analysis of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s (PADEP) recently released fourth Act 54 five-year report. This five-year report assessed the impacts of underground coal mining from 2008 to 2013. The CCC analysis, “Undermining the Public Trust” was prepared by consulting ecologists Schmid and Company Inc., from Media, PA.
“Our analysis concludes that the permitting and enforcement activities of the PADEP’s Mining Program are not set up to identify and monitor, much less prevent or oversee repairs of wide scale impacts from longwall mines,” stated Aimee Erickson, Executive Director, Citizens Coal Council.
“Our review of this 4th Assessment leads to the inescapable conclusion that the PADEP is not implementing its Mining Program in accordance with the intent of Act 54, and clearly is at odds with Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution,” said Stephen Kunz, lead author of the report.
Among the key findings of the CCC analysis:
• Despite more than 20 years since Act 54 was adopted, the PADEP still has no systematic process or database in place to accurately identify resources at risk from underground mining and to track impacts and resolution of impacts.
• Longwall mines were responsible for 97% of structure impacts, 89% of land impacts, and 100% of stream impacts during the 4th Assessment period.
• The PADEP permits longwall mines to continue to operate, and even expand, despite confirmed cases of permanent flow losses in streams.
• Even if stream flow eventually recovers after mining, the stream chemistry does not recover to pre-mining levels.
• The PADEP and mining operators use out-of-date models and assumptions, such that 25% of the water supply impacts occurred outside the predicted impact area.
Aimee Erickson, Citizens Coal Council, at (412) 257-2223 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen P. Kunz, Schmid & Company, Inc., at (610) 356-1416 or email@example.com
The Citizens Coal Council is a national network that advocates for full enforcement of the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) and its delegated state programs. Our mission is to inform, empower and work for and with communities affected by the mining, processing and use of coal. For more about us, see our website at http://www.citizenscoalcouncil.org.
Background information on Act 54 (.pdf file)
Deep Mine Mediation Project Consensus Proposal (.pdf file)