Legal Update on Protecting Streams in Ryerson

Our permit appeals before the Environmental Hearing Board are moving forward. The most recent updates are below.  

Permit Revision No. 204

Permit Revision No. 204 authorizing longwall mining beneath Kent Run and Polen Run in the 3L panel of the Bailey Lower East Expansion. This portion of Kent Run flows within Ryerson Station State Park. In January we successfully petitioned for a supersedeas that prohibited Consol from conducting longwall mining beneath Kent Run while the appeal is pending.  

On June 9, 2017, Consol filed a Motion to Dismiss in our appeal of Permit Revision No. 204 before the Environmental Hearing Board. On June 23, 2017, the Department of Environmental Protection joined Consol’s motion.  

On July 10, 2017, CCJ and Sierra Club filed a response to Consol’s motion, a response to the Department’s motion, and a memorandum of law in opposition to the motions.

On Friday, July 28, 2017, Judge Beckman issued an opinion and order denying the motions to dismiss.

On Wednesday, August 2, 2017 the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court dismissed Consol's appeal of the Environmental Hearing Board's supersedes order. 

Consolidated Appeal of Permit Revisions 180 and 189

Permit Revisions 180 authorized longwall mining at the Bailey Lower East Expansion but did not authorize longwall mining beneath two streams, Kent Run and Polen Run. Permit Revision No. 189 authorized longwall mining and post-mining streambed lining in Polen Run above the 1L and 2L panels of the Bailey Lower East Expansion. CCJ and Sierra Club appealed both permits to the Environmental Hearing Board. The Board held a hearing on the merits of our appeals in August 2016.  

On July 12, 2017, CCJ and Sierra Club filed a supplemental brief addressing the recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision in Pennsylvania Environmental Defense Foundation v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (10 MAP 2015) including the impact of that decision to our Article I, Section 27 claim. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that the text of the Environmental Rights Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution (Article I, Section 27) and the underlying principles of Pennsylvania trust law provide the appropriate standard for judicial review when examining challenges to the constitutionality of Commonwealth agency actions.

On July 21, 2017, Governor Wolf allowed Senate Bill No. 624 to pass into law. The amendments to the Mine Subsidence Act are now known as Act 32 of 2017. On August 8, 2017, CCJ and Sierra Club intend to file another supplemental brief addressing the impact of the amendments to our pending permit appeals.

We anticipate a final decision this summer.