New Scrutiny of 'Longwall' Mining Finds Damage in Pennsylvania Streams

"The brutally efficient coal-extraction method known as 'longwall mining' has permanently damaged a half dozen streams in Pennsylvania, state regulators have found — a finding that could trigger deeper waves for such operations in the state."

"In December, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, or DEP, sent a little-noticed letter relaying its unusual decision to the coal company that has tried to repair one such stream for five years, Consol Energy. Regulators determined the unnamed tributary, UT-32596, 'has not been restored to conditions that existed prior to undermining.' They called further remediation attempts 'futile,' and demanded the company compensate 'for the loss of Commonwealth resources.'

The same day, the DEP sent another notice to Consol conveying a similar conclusion about five other streams 'not recovered from the effects of underground mining.' The agency said it 'now requires Consol to perform compensatory mitigation or enhancement measures.'"

Kristen Lombardi reports for the Center for Public Integrity June 21, 2013.

Source: Center for Public Integrity, 06/21/2013