Title

Future History of Pennsylvania Anthracite Abandoned Mines

Item Type

Presentation

Location

Elaine Langone Center, Gallery Theater

Session

Stream Restoration

Start Date

11-11-2017 1:45 PM

End Date

11-11-2017 2:30 PM

Keywords

Susquehanna River, Delaware River, anthracite industry, anthracite mine, mine drainage, water management, abandoned mines

Description

The Anthracite Coal Region is a historically important coal-mining area in the Susquehanna and Delaware watersheds, located in portions of 12 counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania and the United States would not be what we know today without the past’s 250 years of anthracite mining. The story of the Anthracite Coal Region is one of a remarkable heritage involving working-class culture, innovative technology and corporate will. Hundreds of thousands of men in NEPA created modern America by digging coal. Our industry produced over five billion tons of anthracite which drove the Industrial Revolution. Doing so, we altered rural America, provided thousands of jobs and homes for immigrants, and produced a curious legacy, both fascinating and offensive. We went from unspoiled Appalachian landscapes to 400 square miles of abandoned mines – thousands of miles of underground openings, gaping strip pits, man-made mountains of waste piles, silt-filled creeks, dangerous highwalls, open shafts and portals, hundreds of miles of technicolor, pollutant-laden streams. Pennsylvania has been the leader in enacting mine reclamation and clean water legislation and providing funding for restoring land and water resources and the environment degraded by legacy coal mining practices, including measures for the conservation and development of soil, water, woodland, fish and wildlife, recreation resources and agricultural productivity. Federal funding from the OSMRE, EPA, ARC and EDA has been key for cleanup of legacy coal issues. Industry sources also are working to address the problem, most notably the independent power producers (IPPs) who burn waste coal to produce power. Progress has been made, but future improvement is uncertain because much of the future support of legacy remediation is fragile – citizen coalitions are working to deal with the inevitable depletion of the Growing Greener II bond program and the 2021 expiration of the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act, funding of other Federal Agencies is involved in budget debates, and waste coal IPPs have competitive price issues. In this presentation, I plan to talk about the past, present and future of abandoned mines in the Anthracite Coal Region. What we’ve done, what we’re doing, and what can be done with the resources we have and may have in the future.

Language

eng

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Nov 11th, 1:45 PM Nov 11th, 2:30 PM

Future History of Pennsylvania Anthracite Abandoned Mines

Elaine Langone Center, Gallery Theater

The Anthracite Coal Region is a historically important coal-mining area in the Susquehanna and Delaware watersheds, located in portions of 12 counties in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania and the United States would not be what we know today without the past’s 250 years of anthracite mining. The story of the Anthracite Coal Region is one of a remarkable heritage involving working-class culture, innovative technology and corporate will. Hundreds of thousands of men in NEPA created modern America by digging coal. Our industry produced over five billion tons of anthracite which drove the Industrial Revolution. Doing so, we altered rural America, provided thousands of jobs and homes for immigrants, and produced a curious legacy, both fascinating and offensive. We went from unspoiled Appalachian landscapes to 400 square miles of abandoned mines – thousands of miles of underground openings, gaping strip pits, man-made mountains of waste piles, silt-filled creeks, dangerous highwalls, open shafts and portals, hundreds of miles of technicolor, pollutant-laden streams. Pennsylvania has been the leader in enacting mine reclamation and clean water legislation and providing funding for restoring land and water resources and the environment degraded by legacy coal mining practices, including measures for the conservation and development of soil, water, woodland, fish and wildlife, recreation resources and agricultural productivity. Federal funding from the OSMRE, EPA, ARC and EDA has been key for cleanup of legacy coal issues. Industry sources also are working to address the problem, most notably the independent power producers (IPPs) who burn waste coal to produce power. Progress has been made, but future improvement is uncertain because much of the future support of legacy remediation is fragile – citizen coalitions are working to deal with the inevitable depletion of the Growing Greener II bond program and the 2021 expiration of the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act, funding of other Federal Agencies is involved in budget debates, and waste coal IPPs have competitive price issues. In this presentation, I plan to talk about the past, present and future of abandoned mines in the Anthracite Coal Region. What we’ve done, what we’re doing, and what can be done with the resources we have and may have in the future.