Monday, July 24, 2017

Wolf signs longwall mining bill, angering environmentalists

A group of coal miners listen to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt during his visit to Consol Pennsylvania Coal Company's Harvey Mine in Sycamore, Pa., Thursday, April 13, 2017.
AP PHOTO/GENE J. PUSKAR
A group of coal miners listen to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt during his visit to Consol Pennsylvania Coal Company's Harvey Mine in Sycamore, Pa., Thursday, April 13, 2017. Gov. Wolf refused to veto a bill that would make it easier for Consol to develop a coal mine beneath a Greene County state park. Supporters say it will create jobs.

Jon Hurdle reports for StateImpact:

Gov. Tom Wolf declined on Friday to veto a bill that makes it easier to develop a long-wall coal mine beneath a state park in Greene County, allowing it to become law despite pressure from environmentalists who say it will damage streams.
Senate Bill 624 allows the Department of Environmental Protection to issue permits for the expansion of the Consol Energy mine at Ryerson State Park on the assumption that the mining would not cause permanent damage to waterways that flow above the coal face.
The bill’s sponsors, led by Republican Senator Joe Scarnati, argue that the law will facilitate mine development and create jobs while requiring the operator, or other mine owners, to restore any stream to its original condition after it is blocked or diverted during the mine work.
Wolf said in a statement that the new law would not weaken environmental protections.
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