Abandon Refuse Piles
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Pennsylvania 5th congressional district has more abandoned mine sites than any other of the 435 congressional districts. Glen Thompson says our region has the most abandoned mines in the country. We have heard that before so we looked into it. There are currently projects and programs in place to clean up these abandoned sites. If some other projects go forward they could put out of work miners back to work. While were still just a colony our great grandfathers were working to dig the coal out of the ground. Mining went unchecked for decades. Companies were not required to clean up after themselves. "The technology 100 years ago was not what we have today. We have a lot of scars to cleanup." That is where the DEP bureau of abandoned mines and reclamation comes in. "43 Of Pa's 67 counties have abandoned land mine features that are in need of reclamation." To fix the scars and protect towns from the hazards of nearby abandoned mines they started a program in 2016 to cleanup or reclaim 14 abandoned mine projects including those in Cambria and Clearfield. "The mind drainage was running into yards. They could not set out in their backyards because it was so sloppy." The former mine located above the town powered furnaces of nearby steel factories, after being left behind this was catching fire and becoming unstable, polluting the river, and sliding towards the town. "Pennsylvania is using $30 million to cleanup these abandoned mine sites." The work here is being done by Rosebud Mining Company, company officials say 48 furloughed miners are part of this cleanup team. "We are maintaining employment for a lot of people. This project supports over 20 + additional jobs." The Glen Richey waterline project is another example of current efforts this includes the construction and installation of a pump station and 13 miles of water line. Officials say residents currently have wells families here are dealing with issues like red water that stains their clothes or no water in the summertime. "Families, homes, businesses, that their drinking water was impacted, this will be able to put in a new water line to help them out." If the 14 pilot projects prove to be successful it could persuade congress to support a new piece of legislation know as revitalizing the economy of coal communities by leveraging local activities and investing more. But others simply call it the Reclaim Act. Thompson cosponsored the bill. He says it will employ even more out of work miners. "I want to make sure that the money goes for reclamation and not other things. This is about cleaning up the environment, the land, and this is about the water." The Foundation for Pennsylvania Water Sheds advocates for mine land cleanup, Director John Dawes says the reclaim act has bipartisan support. "It calls for spending $1 billion not tax payer dollars but money put in by the coal industry." Officials pushing for these reclamation projects say it goes beyond making the land safer. "We are reclaiming legacy. Abandon coal mine sites that will hopefully will provide some benefit to the local community either for economic revitalization or green space for recreation and those types of things." This gives 230 people who live here hope. "It will be great for the residents here. They can sit out in their backyard without water pooling, be able to plant gardens." The DEP says they will slowly chip away at this problem reclaiming 800 acres each year, but even then they say more than 100 thousand acres of un reclaimed abandon mine land still exists in Pennsylvania.