Friday, August 6, 2010

Coal residue from NJ could help reclaim old PA mine site

Old coal mine in Scranton, Pennsylvania
For decades, Pennsylvania mined the coal that powered New Jersey industries.  Now a New Jersey utility wants to send a byproduct of coal burning back to Pennsylvania to help reclaim an old mine property in Hazleton.

There's a sense of symmetry to the idea. But like any proposal that involves shipping one state's waste to another state for disposal--especially waste that could contain harmful materials--this one is already stirring opposition.

Here's the quick version.

Hazleton Creek Properties wants to reclaim 53 acres of former mine property for the construction of an amphitheater to attract concerts to the city. New Jersey's largest energy company, PSEG, wants to dispose of waste material that is produced in its coal-burning power plants when limestone is injected into exhaust gases to minimize sulfur emissions.

The Pennsylvania DEP scheduled a public hearing on the proposal for Aug. 3.

Proponents are assembling their scientific studies to show the material will cause no environmental harm.  Critics are gearing up, too, and will be questioning the levels of potentially hazardous elements in the residue and their potential impacts on groundwater.

For a more detailed discussion, check out the story in today's Standard-Speaker:
Developer looks to fill reclaimed mine land with N.J. plant residue

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