Mining

Report on Coal Mine Bonding in Central Appalachia

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The Center for Coalfield Justice is a member of the Alliance for Appalachia, which is a regional coalition of grassroots, non-profit organizations with the goals of ending mountaintop removal, putting a halt to destructive coal technologies, and creating a sustainable, just Appalachia.  They recently released a report on the state of surface coal mine bonding in four Central Appalachian states. Bonds are used for ensuring reclamation of mine sites, should a company be unable to finish reclamation. The report details the bonding programs in West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee, and recommends improvements that state and federal agencies should make to better protect communities and the environment.

Check out more information here:

http://theallianceforappalachia.org/report-coal-mining-bonding-central-appalachia/ 

Bailey Mine Litigation Settlement and Commonwealth Court Appeal Update

 Kent Run at Ryerson Station State Park. (Photo credit: Sarah Winner)

Kent Run at Ryerson Station State Park. (Photo credit: Sarah Winner)

A Stipulation of Settlement Entered in Permit Revision 204 Litigation

Permit Revision 204 authorized longwall mining beneath Kent Run and Polen Run in the 3L panel of the Bailey East Expansion. In January 2017 we successfully petitioned for a supersedeas that prohibited Consol from conducting longwall mining beneath Kent Run in the 3L panel, located within the park, while the appeal is pending.

As part of Permit Revision 209, the DEP approved a revised mining map submitted by Consol that shows development mining only beneath Kent Run. As a result, on January 5, 2018, we entered into a stipulation of settlement with the DEP and Consol. In the settlement, the parties agreed to quit fighting now and also agreed that we can pick the fight back up again if the DEP approves longwall mining beneath Kent Run in the future.

The settlement agreement recognizes and makes clear that Consol no longer has permission to conduct longwall mining under Kent Run in the 3L panel, which is located within Ryerson Station State Park. It also states that any future authorization of longwall mining would require a permit revision subject to public notice and comment. In other words, if Consol ever wants to return to the 3L panel and longwall mine beneath Kent Run, it will be required to go through the permit application process again.

Any future authorization of longwall mining beneath Kent Run in the 3L panel would be a final DEP action that is appealable to the Environmental Hearing Board (EHB). The agreement preserves our ability to raise any factual and legal issues that we identified in the Permit Revision 204 Appeal, including issues related to post-mining stream mitigation in Kent Run, in an appeal of any future permit revision which reauthorizes longwall mining.

Consol Discontinued its Appeal of EHB Decision on Permit Revision 180 and 189

On August 15, 2017, the Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) delivered a major victory to CCJ, Sierra Club and their members in a consolidated appeal of two longwall mining permits for the Bailey Mine: Permit Revision No. 180 and Permit Revision No. 189. Shortly thereafter, Consol appealed the EHB’s decision to the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court.

On January 9, 2018, Consol discontinued its appeal of the EHB’s decision. That decision, which sets forth important guidance for evaluating longwall mining applications in the future and provides stronger protection for Pennsylvania streams, cannot be overturned.  

Bailey Mine Permitting Update

On Friday, November 3, 2017, the Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) issued Permit Revision No. 209 to Coal Mining Activity Permit 30841316. Permit Revision No. 209 authorizes Consol to conduct longwall mining in the 6L – 8L panels of the Bailey Mine.  

There has been some confusion about whether Permit Revision No. 209 authorizes longwall mining beneath Polen Run in the 4L and 5L panels of the Bailey Mine. It does not. Instead, it authorizes longwall mining in three panels (6L-8L) that are located in an area south-east of Ryerson Station State Park.   

Consol is currently longwall mining in the 5L panel of the Bailey Mine. In January we successfully petitioned for a supersedeas that prohibited Consol from conducting longwall mining beneath Kent Run in the 3L panel, located within the park, while the appeal is pending. Then, in August, CCJ and Sierra Club received a favorable decision in their consolidated appeal of Permit Revision Nos. 180 and 189.

Due to this decision, Consol had to amend their pending permit for authorization to mine under Polen run, which is within the state park, for the 4L and 5L panels. This permit is still pending and we are prepared to take any action to protect the stream.

The Environmental Hearing Board Rules In Favor of CCJ and Sierra Club

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On Tuesday, August 15, 2017, the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) unanimously delivered a major victory to Center for Coalfield Justice, Sierra Club and their members in a consolidated appeal of two longwall mining permits for the Bailey Coal Mine: Permit Revision No. 180 and Permit Revision No. 189. The EHB’s decision sets important precedent for streams in Pennsylvania that may be impacted by longwall coal mining operations

The Permit Revisions allowed Consol Energy to expand longwall mining operations at the Bailey Mine to an area located to the east of Ryerson Station State Park. Permit Revision No. 180 authorized longwall mining in the 1L through 5L panels, but did not authorize longwall mining beneath Polen Run and Kent Run. Permit Revision No. 189 authorized longwall mining beneath Polen Run in the 1L and 2L panels of the Bailey Lower East Expansion. It also authorized post-mining stream channel lining to address predicted subsidence-induced flow loss.

The Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) and Consol predicted that longwall mining would cause flow loss and pooling in certain overlying streams.The DEP determined that the extent and severity of the predicted subsidence-induced stream impacts would require post-mining stream remediation including streambed lining, streambed grouting, and gate cutting.  We presented our case before the EHB in August 2016.

While waiting for a final decision from the Judges, Senators Scarnati and Yaw introduced SB 624 in an attempt to retroactively defeat our legal arguments. SB 624 was amended in the House with support from the DEP. The amended version of SB 624 is now known as Act 32 of 2017. These amendments to the Bituminous Mine Subsidence and Land Conservation Act (“Mine Subsidence Act”)  were a transparent attempt to substitute the Legislature’s judgment for that of the EHB’s in the Consolidated Appeal.

However, the EHB refused to apply Act 32 of 2017 to the Consolidated Appeal. The Judges agreed that Act 32 constitutes a change to the approved Pennsylvania Mining Program and requires approval from the Federal Office of Surface Mining (“OSM”). Without OSM approval, the amendments to the Mine Subsidence Act are not effective. Just as importantly, the EHB explained that it would have reached the same conclusion even if Act 32 had applied. As a result, the EHB’s decision cannot be invalidated should OSM approve the amendments in the future.

In the 71-page opinion, the EHB ruled in favor of CCJ and Sierra Club and held that issuance of Permit Revision No. 189 was in violation of the Clean Streams Law, the Mine Subsidence Act and associated regulations. The EHB explained:

"When the Department anticipates that the impacts from longwall mining are going to be so extensive that the only way to “fix” the anticipated damage to the stream is to essentially destroy the existing stream channel and streambanks and rebuild it from scratch, the Department’s decision to issue Permit Revision No. 189 is unreasonable and contrary to the law.” 

In addition, the EHB found that the Department’s action granting Permit Revision No. 189 violated Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution. The Board acknowledged that Clean Streams Law, the Mine Subsidence Act and their regulations are relevant to the protection of public natural resources like the streams within and around Ryerson Station State Park. The Board also recognized that compliance with a state statute does not always equate to compliance with Article I, Section 27. Department actions taken under the authority of a statute must still be measured against the constitutional requirements of Article I, Section 27. However, in this case, no further analysis was required.

“At a minimum, a Department permitting action that is not lawful under the statutes and regulation in place to protect waters of the Commonwealth, cannot be said to meet the Department’s trustee responsibility under Article I, Section 27 and is clearly a state action taken contrary to the rights of citizens to pure water.”

While this decision did not prevent harm to Polen Run above that section of the mine, it sets an important precedent for the future. The immediate impact is to preclude the Department from authorizing longwall mining beneath the portion of Polen Run that flows through Ryerson Station State Park.

The DEP already determined that other, more minor forms of post-mining stream remediation would not restore the stream and that stream channel lining would be necessary. Since it is not reasonable, lawful or constitutional “to allow longwall mining to take place when the Department determines prior to issuing the permit that the impacts to a stream will rise to a level that the necessary restoration will require this level of disruption to the existing stream,” the DEP cannot approve Consol’s pending application to longwall mine beneath Polen Run in the 4L and 5L panels.

Over three years ago, in April 2014, Consol voluntarily revised its mining plan and represented to the DEP that it could and would conduct development mining (not longwall mining) beneath Polen Run in the 4L and 5L panels, which is located within Ryerson Station State Park. Earlier this year, Consol submitted an application to instead longwall mine beneath this portion of the stream. Should the DEP deny Consol’s pending application, Consol could continue to operate in accordance with their mining plan that was approved in 2014. As a result, denial of its application to longwall mine beneath Polen Run within the Park would not justify a reduction in workforce.

The EHB upheld the DEP’s issuance of Permit Revision No. 180 citing insufficient evidence to conclude that the predicted and observed impacts caused or would cause “impermissible impairment” or “unreasonable degradation” of the streams within the permit area. Still, the EHB provided valuable clarification about the protections afforded to Pennsylvania streams that may be impacted by longwall coal mining.

For over a decade, the DEP has focused almost exclusively on the adequacy of post-mining mitigation plans rather than protecting streams from significant mining impacts.  Instead the DEP relied upon post-mining stream mitigation plans to approve and excuse predicted mining damage to streams in advance. We argued that this emphasis on post-mining mitigation plans and monitoring requirements misses the point. The EHB largely agreed.

More specifically, we argued that the law allows for some amount of environmental impact because what is important is not that absolutely no environmental impact occurs, but that the impact does not impair the stream’s protected uses (e.g. aquatic life). In other words, a company can mine and in doing so remove some flow from a stream so long as it does not remove so much flow that the stream no longer supports aquatic life. The EHB agreed that

“The fundamental question in this case is whether the impacts from subsidence anticipated from and caused by Consol’s longwall mining in the [Bailey Lower East Expansion] will impair or have impaired the streams in the area. Impairment clearly violates the Clean Streams Law and its regulations and if the Department determined that longwall mining will impair the streams in the [Bailey Lower East Expansion], it should deny the permit revisions. It also violated the Mine Subsidence Act and its regulations.”

Consistent with this impairment framework, the EHB acknowledged the mining-induced impacts observed in undermined streams at the Bailey Lower East Expansion and discussed the use of post-mining streambed grouting to address flow loss and the use of gate cutting to mitigate subsidence-induced pooling. With respect to gate cutting, the EHB expressed concern “because the streambed is excavated in places to lower the stream gradient and re-establish flow. Extensive excavation of the streambed can certainly impact a stream and impair its uses because of the impact it will have on the organisms in the stream.” This means the DEP must consider the scope and duration of post-mining mitigation work. A promise to perform repairs may not be enough if stream uses will be impaired.   

Although the EHB was not convinced that the streams under which Permit Revision No. 180 authorized mining were likely to or did suffer impermissible impairment, the EHB recognized that

“Even this level of impact, which necessitates the implementation of minor forms of stream mitigation, could result in stream impairment if the time or amount of work involved extended beyond what was demonstrated in this case.”

While there is still work to be done, the Board’s opinion sets forth important guidance for evaluating longwall mining applications in the future and provides stronger protection for Pennsylvania streams.

Environmental Hearing Board Overturns Permit for Destructive Mining Upstream of Ryerson Station State Park

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Greene County, PA--The Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) rejected a revised underground longwall mining permit issued by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) in 2015 that allowed Consol Pennsylvania Coal Company (Consol) to cause extensive damage to a stream called Polen Run, which flows into Ryerson Station Station State Park.

“We greatly appreciate all of the time that the Board spent on this matter,” Sarah Winner, who represented Center for Coalfield Justice and Sierra Club in the appeals, said. “The Board’s decision provides important clarification about the protections afforded to Pennsylvania streams in the context of longwall coal mining.”

The EHB concurred with two community groups, the Center for Coalfield Justice (CCJ) and the Sierra Club, that Pennsylvania’s Clean Streams Law and Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution does not allow the DEP to permit mining that is predicted to damage a stream so severely that the only way to “fix” the damage is to construct a new stream in its place.

“We’re thrilled that the EHB has agreed with us that it is illegal to allow a company to destroy streams for the sake of increasing profit. This ruling has put the industry and the DEP on notice that it must do a better job of developing mining plans to protect streams,” Veronica Coptis at the Center for Coalfield Justice said. “We are thankful to the hundreds of area residents who contributed to our successful efforts and remain committed to protecting the streams within Ryerson Station State Park.”

"The EHB set a precedent today that it will protect streams throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania. This is a victory for the rule of law and for local folks who have had to suffer the consequences of irresponsible mining practices for too long. Time and again mining companies have proven that putting a stream back together after breaking it is easier said than done,” Tom Schuster, Senior Campaign Representative for Pennsylvania at the Sierra Club said. “Now the industry will have to comply with the environmental laws and Article I, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, and prevent extensive damage in the first place. They can no longer sacrifice community resources for corporate greed.”

CCJ and Sierra Club were also represented by Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services.

 

Make a donation today to support the ongoing fight for streams in and around Ryerson Station State Park.  

Protect Streams in Ryerson Station State Park from Coal Mining

Consol Energy's Bailey Mine destroyed Duke Lake at Ryerson Station State Park over ten years ago, and it will never be restored. Ryerson Station State Park is the only state park in Greene County, PA. Now Consol wants to get authorization from the state to undermine more of our water resources, putting in jeopardy the last remaining fishing opportunities in the State Park. Polen Run above the 4L and 5L Panels of the Bailey Lower East Expansion is located in the State Park. Consol predicts that longwall mining will cause total flow loss within the stream. Subsidence induced-flow loss and post-mining stream remediation efforts will eliminate recreational and aquatic life uses of Polen Run within the Park. Our community has sacrificed enough for Consol's private profits, and it is time the DEP and Governor Tom Wolf stand with environmental justice communities and stand by the constitution to protect our natural resources. Sign the petition below demanding the DEP deny the pending application and protect the streams in Ryerson Station State Park.

Governor Wolf Allows Senate Longwall Mining Bill to Pass into Law New Law Will Allow Companies to Destroy PA Streams and State Park

Harrisburg, PA--Governor Wolf allowed Senate Bill 624 to pass into law today. The bill creates an exemption to an 80-year-old law that protects streams and water supplies and will allow mining companies to predictably damage or pollute streams based on a promise to clean them up later, instead of preventing the damage in the first place. Additionally, a portion of the bill stated that the act would have retroactively applied to permits dating back to October 8, 2005, including those that were subject of a pending appeal before the Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) brought by the Center for Coalfield Justice and the Sierra Club.

Introduced by Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25) two weeks after receiving a $5k donation from Consol Pennsylvania Coal Company (Consol), SB 624 was a direct response to a question currently pending before the EHB as to whether Consol can legally mine underneath and around Ryerson Station State Park, and knowingly damage the streams that flow through the area. The new law will now directly impact issues under consideration by the EHB and allow Consol to destroy the remaining streams in the park.

The bill passed the Senate and the House with bipartisan opposition.

In a statement, Veronica Coptis, Executive Director at the Center for Coalfield Justice,  Joanne Kilgour, Pennsylvania Chapter Director for the Sierra Club and Sarah Winner, Staff Attorney at the Center for Coalfield Justice said:

“Governor Tom Wolf supported legislation that sacrificed the constitutional rights of his constituents for Consol’s private gain,” Coptis said. “Governor Wolf, you have failed as a progressive leader and allowed an environmental justice community that has already been damaged by corporate greed, to suffer another blow, destroying our already compromised public park and any future economic opportunities.”

“Governor Wolf, you have made it clear where your priorities lie and it’s not with the people, with local communities or with the environment. You have signaled to corporations that they can blatantly disregard the law if they line politician’s pockets,” Kilgour said. “Thank you to the Senators and Representatives on both sides of the aisle that stood with Greene County and all future communities that will be devastated by this atrocious law - it is a shame that the Governor did not stand with you.”

“We believe the amendments are unconstitutional and we are evaluating all of our options to take action to protect Pennsylvanians’ environmental rights,” Winner said.

Support the fight to protect Pennsylvanians' environmental rights by making a targeting dontation here: 

https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/donate-to-protect-ryerson-station-state-park-from-coal-mining?source=direct_link&

 

Senate Passes Mine Pollution Exemption

Despite bipartisan opposition, the State Senate voted to pass SB 624 today. This bill creates an exemption in an 80 year old law that would essentially let mining companies pollute now and clean up their mess later, if ever. What's worse, the bill will retroactively include certain mining permits, essentially allowing Consol Energy to continue, unimpeded, the destruction of Ryerson Station State Park with their operations at the Bailey Mine.  

Thomas Schuster Sierra Club Senior Campaign Representative and Veronica Coptis Executive Director of the Center for Coalfield Justice responded in unison:

“Governor Wolf must veto this bill. In doing so he will send a strong message to fossil fuel companies that people's rights come before corporate greed. We are incredibly disappointed in the actions of the Senate today and urge lawmakers in that body to look beyond their campaign coffers when making legislative decisions that affect people across the state. Thank you to the 21 Republican and Democratic Senators who stood up to this bill and voted no. Now it's up to Governor Wolf to take decisive action, putting a stop to this blatant corporate cash grab, by vetoing SB 624."

Reclaiming our brownfields with Federal funds

For people living in Appalachia, seeing rundown power plants, giant slag piles, and rusted mining infrastructure is part of everyday life.  The people who live in the brownfields have become so accustomed to seeing these in our communities that we sometimes don’t see them for what they are:  eyesores and missed opportunities.  With the decline in coal consumption and investment leading to an eventual total loss of the coal industry, these very same communities face an economic future that is scary – which is why the idea of reclaiming these areas has been introduced in Congress in three different bills (two in the Senate, one in the House), called the RECLAIM Act.

Details about what exactly is in the RECLAIM Act are difficult to find if you only try Google, and the political details are a little unclear.  What’s important to look at when you talk about RECLAIM are the ideas presented in the different forms of the bill.  Funding for projects is important, and all versions of the bill allocate $1 billion for reclamation projects.  This funding then raises some questions:  what lands can use RECLAIM funds, what are the guidelines for the projects, and who should be involved in project proposals? The answers to these questions are where the political issues come in. Let’s look at the background of the bill, then continue to evaluate the bills that are in Congress right now.  

RECLAIM relies on the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) to indicate which types of sites can receive funding.  SMCRA sets out three different types of sites: Priority 1 sites deal with the protection of public health, safety, and property from extreme danger of adverse effects of coal mining practices; Priority 2 sites deal with the protection of public health and safety from adverse effects of coal mining practices; and, Priority 3 sites deal with the restoration of land and water resources and the environment previously degraded by adverse effects of coal mining practices including measures for the conservation and development of soil, water (excluding channelization), woodland, fish and wildlife, recreation resources and agricultural productivity.  In extremely simple terms, Priority 1 and 2 sites are dangerous (P1 more so than P2), but Priority 3 sites are just bad, not dangerous, and in need of some TLC.  SMCRA also created the Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation (BAMR), which has the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) funding.  AML funding - which is a separate budget - already goes to Priority 1, 2, and 3 sites, with the understanding that P1 and P2 sites take priority because they are dangerous.  RECLAIM would add $1 billion to the state AML agencies: in Pennsylvania, this is the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program as part of the Department of Environmental Protection.  In summary:  DEP already receives federal funding to work on AML projects, focusing mostly on P1 and P2 sites, and then continuing with projects on P3 sites if there is funding left over.  RECLAIM would allocate an additional $330 million to PA.  

There are some provisions that are important to creating the most effective law possible.  There are various nonprofit organizations and state agencies that are on-the-ground, working with and within communities to find effective ways to reclaim lands and create economic opportunities.  These agencies and organizations are all considered stakeholders because they have a vested interest in the community already.  The most effective form of the law would ideally have provisions that include stakeholder collaboration:  it wouldn’t only be the government agencies determining which projects need funding or in what direction a project should go.  This is extremely important for community engagement.  These reclamation projects should be something that communities actually want, not something that is forced upon them.  Additionally, when evaluating plans, it is not enough to clean up a mess and let that be good enough.  We are able to clean up abandoned mine lands, of course, but we also have an opportunity to create long-term economic growth at the same time by carefully selecting and planning the projects.  Instead of cleaning up a sludge pile by only planting grass, why not grow grape vines that don’t need the same kind of root system as trees but could help a local vineyard or winery?  Or why not install solar panels on the reclaimed CRDAs?  Economic diversification needs to be included in the language of the bill.  Most importantly, all of these ideas - stakeholder collaboration and economic diversification - need to apply to all sites, P1, 2, and 3 alike.  

Now that we have some background, let’s look at the actual legislation that is on the table.  There have been different versions of the bill that have been introduced in both the House and the Senate in the past, but the active bill that should be focused on is H.R. 1731. This bill was introduced by Representative Hal Rogers (R-KY), and it included language for stakeholder collaboration that was left out of previous bills, but it left out funding for Priority 1 and 2 sites, which means that it would only be effective for about 25% of the country’s abandoned coal mines. “In its current form, the bill promotes the first goal of restoring abandoned mines, however, H.R. 1731 as written does not sufficiently promote the second stated goal of the RECLAIM Act:  spurring economic diversification on reclaimed sites. This is because the current language does not incentivize tying mine reclamation with creating long-term economic projects on ‘Priority 1 and 2’ Abandoned Mine Land sites,” says Fritz Boettner of Downstream Strategies.  In order for us to get to an “ideal” bill, it would need amendments.  There are two different companion bills in committee in the Senate, one from Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and one from Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV).  These versions of the bill have not seen the same traction as the House bill, so the House bill is the one we need to look at most closely.

An amendment was recently passed in the House National Resources Committee with a new proposal from Representative Don Beyer (D-VA).  This amendment alters the language of the bill to include Priority 1 and 2 sites in RECLAIM.  The bill was just passed out of committee and will be heading to the House floor.  There are, however, some problems.

The National Mining Association (NMA) has recently come out in opposition to this bill. “The most recent proposals would accelerate the distribution of the Fund balance to promote economic diversification and development. Such proposals would take the Fund beyond its purpose and well beyond the competency of OSM [the Office of Surface Mining] and its state agency counterparts,” says Hal Quinn, President, and CEO of NMA.  

Take Action: Call your legislators to show support for H.R.1731 and the Beyer Amendment.  Ask as many questions about the bill as you want, and let them know that you want the best option for reclaiming the brownfields in Pennsylvania.

Longwall Mining Bill Passes in PA House, Awaits Decision from Gov. Wolf

 Ryerson Station State Park (Photo Credit: Sarah Winner)

Ryerson Station State Park (Photo Credit: Sarah Winner)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday, June 26, 2017

CONTACT

Veronica Coptis, 724-833-8624, veronica@coalfieldjustice.org

Emily Pomilio, 202-395-3041, emily.pomilio@sierraclub.org

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Bill Threatens to Harm PA Streams and State Park

Harrisburg, PA--The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed SB 624 today, which creates an exemption to an 80-year-old law that protects streams and water supplies. The bill would allow mining companies to predictably damage or pollute streams based on a promise to clean them up later, instead of preventing the damage in the first place. The version passed by the Senate would have applied retroactively to permits that were the subject of an appeal and heard by the Environmental Hearing Board (EHB) after June 30, 2016, an apparent reference to a permit issued to Consol Pennsylvania Coal Company (Consol) for the expansion of its Bailey Mine.

This version of the bill was amended to apply retroactively to all permits issued since 2005 meaning it will go back to the Senate for a concurrence vote, which will likely take place tomorrow. Governor Wolf, who will receive the bill tomorrow, has said he opposes the measure but has not mentioned whether he plans to veto it. The House vote was 120-77 which is not enough YES votes to override a veto.

Introduced by Senator Joe Scarnati (R-25) two weeks after receiving a $5k donation from Consol, SB 624 is a direct response to a question currently pending before the EHB as to whether Consol can legally mine underneath and around Ryerson Station State Park and predictably damage the streams that flow through the area.

In a statement, Veronica Coptis, Executive Director of the Center for Coalfield Justice and Tom Schuster, Senior Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club said:

“We saw it in the Senate and now we’re seeing it in the House. Protecting campaign contributions is more important than protecting our streams and public lands. If Governor Wolf doesn’t veto this bill, he will send a signal to all fossil fuel companies that corporate needs come before the people’s constitutional rights,” Coptis said. “Thank you to the 15 Republicans who voted with their conscience to oppose SB 624, and stand with coalfield communities’ right to healthy streams.”

“It’s time for Governor Wolf to step up, veto this bill and stop Consol from destroying our public lands. It’s extremely disappointing that so many elected officials are willing to allow destructive mining practices for no reason other than padding corporate profits,” Schuster said. “Public parks and streams should be a constitutional right to all who live in this state, not a privilege to be revoked by a fossil fuel company. Governor Wolf, separate yourself from this corporate greed and veto this egregious bill.”

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