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Wolf Administration Tours Abandoned Mine Reclamation Site
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 06/10/2019

Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell and staff joined local elected officials and representatives from Scrubgrass Generating and South Sandy Creek Watershed Association to tour an abandoned mine reclamation site in Irwin Township, Venango County, and to discuss how the bipartisan Restore Pennsylvania proposal could help communities fund mine reclamation projects.

"Pennsylvania has a long history as a coal mining state, which unfortunately means we're home to thousands of acres of abandoned mine lands that have become environmental safety hazards. Municipalities and environmental organizations across the state are seeking funding sources to embark on cleanup projects like this," Sec. McDonnell said. "Restore Pennsylvania would invest in communities that need and deserve mine reclamation projects in order to improve environmental conditions and infrastructure. Restore Pennsylvania not only prioritizes our state's infrastructure, but on restoring and maintaining our precious natural resources like our local watersheds."

Restore Pennsylvania is a statewide plan to aggressively address the commonwealth's vital infrastructure needs, including cleanup of abandoned mine sites, which pollute waterways. Funded through a commonsense severance tax, Restore Pennsylvania is the only plan that will help make Pennsylvania a leader in the 21st century.

In 2017, South Sandy Creek Watershed Association was awarded $3.1 million from the federal Abandoned Mine Land (AML) pilot program, which is administered by DEP, for an abandoned mine reclamation project in the headwaters of a badly polluted tributary to South Sandy Creek in Irwin Township. The project involves the reclamation of a 52-acre former coal strip mine operation, coal screening, and a coal refuse disposal site, which has contributed significant acid mine drainage pollution to the South Sandy Creek Watershed.

The project provides a pass-through grant to the South Sandy Creek Watershed Association, Inc. in partnership with Scrubgrass Generating Plant, an 85-megawatt generating facility, to excavate 200,000 tons of acid forming material consisting of coal refuse and coal fines and transport it to the plant, where it is burned to produce electricity.

Learn more about Restore Pennsylvania at governor.pa.gov/restore-pennsylvania

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