PAC Provides Comments to MSHA on Repeal, Replace or Modify Initiative

The Pennsylvania Anthracite Council has presented significant comments to the Federal Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) as a part of its “Repeal, Replace or Modify” regulatory initiative.

The PAC and the Independent Miners and Associates (IMA) worked together to develop and submit a package of comments on behalf of the anthracite mining industry. Comment topics ranged from incise impoundments, surface mine bathhouse requirements to items as simple as date changes and comments that reflect changes in communication and the delivery of emergency health care.

As a part of its comments, the PAC pointed out the significant geologic, hydrologic and physical property differences between anthracite and bituminous coal operations. To drive this point home, the PAC pointed out that both Pennsylvania and Federal law (SECTION 529 – ANTHRACITE COAL MINES [30 U.S.C. 1279]) also recognizes those differences.

While most bituminous coal seams lie relatively flat and horizontal, anthracite coal seams occur generally in large basins that have been further affected by numerous faults and folding. Anthracite veins rarely lie flat or maintain a consistent dip, in many instances lying nearly vertical or even overturned. Shear, slip, and thrust faults have formed pinches, displacements, synclines, anticlines, and numerous other nonconformities in the veins that can extend long distances or be very localized, creating a very complex geologic setting. Anthracite surface miners currently mine as deep as 500 feet to access the mineral.

As a result, the PAC argued that “because of the basic differences in geology, hydrology and physical and chemical make-up it makes sense that in some cases separate rules regulating safety practices are needed and beneficial for anthracite surface and underground mine operators.”

MSHA began seeking comments last year in compliance with Executive Order 13777 which was signed by President Trump on February 24, 2017. The Executive Order was entitled “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda.” This Executive Order directs each Federal agency to review existing regulations to assess compliance costs and reduce regulatory burden.

Go back to previous page
P.O. Box 138, Pottsville, PA 17901
Ph: 717-737-9825