Meeting on Mine Permit Scheduled

Washington PA  Observer Reporter
19 March 2011

The state Department of Environmental Protection will hold a public meeting next month on Dana Mining Co.'s application for a mining permit revision for the company's de-watering operation at Calvin Run in Perry Township.

The informal public conference will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. April 14 in the Perry Township municipal building at 799 Big Shannon Run Road.

Dana is drilling two de-watering boreholes into the Humphrey Mine at Calvin Run so it can pump mine water to the Steele Shaft treatment plant operated by an affiliate, AMD Reclamation Inc.

The company's 4 West Mine is mining Sewickley seam coal above the Pittsburgh seam formerly mined by Humphrey and must lower the mine pool to continue its mining operation.

DEP previously issued the company a permit revision for the project. However, it revoked the permit in February 2010 as part of an agreement to settle an appeal filed by PennFuture and Friends of Dunkard Creek.

DEP then determined a permit revision was not needed for the project and allowed the company to begin work after receiving only an earth disturbance permit from the county conservation district.

The U.S. Office of Surface Mining disagreed with the decision, saying the activity constituted mining without a permit. OSM issued a cessation order in January, halting work at the site until the company received a permit revision.

In February, however, an administrative law judge for the U.S. Department of Interior suspended OSM's cessation order, allowing work at the site to proceed until a full hearing could be held on the company's petition for relief.

The hearing on the petition is scheduled for June. A Dana official previously said the company hopes to have a mining permit revision from DEP before that time, which would make the hearing unnecessary.

PennFuture and Friends of Dunkard Creek have opposed the project from the beginning, saying it will only allow the Steele Shaft treatment plant to discharge additional polluted water into Dunkard Creek.

Anyone with a disability who wishes to attend the open house and requires an auxiliary aid, service or other accommodation to participate is asked to call Deborah Ferenci at 724-769-1077.

Copies of the permit application are on file for public review at DEP's California District Mining Office, 25 Technology Drive, California Technology Park, Coal Center.