As our nation and our industry join together at this critical time, please know that the Pennsylvania Anthracite Council (PAC) is hard at work fighting for this industry and your business.
In just the last few months, the PAC has worked with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to eliminate onerous anthracite mining permit conditions on large open pit coal mines, secured a substantial change to the way coal mining bond rates are calculated and fought vigorously to keep anthracite coal mines open and operating amid the Covid-19 crisis. All of these efforts will provide significant cost saving benefits to anthracite coal mine operators.
In the last few weeks, the PAC has worked with our area’s local legislators and the Governor’s office to keep anthracite coal mines open and operating during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. Our efforts helped to keep more than 1,000 miners and another 2,000 support persons working following a proposal by the Wolf Administration to classify coal mining as a non-essential business and close coal mining operations for public safety concerns. A shut down on the anthracite industry would have resulted massive layoffs and the loss of tens of millions of dollars in revenue, wages and taxes.
Further, in January, the DEP Bureau of Mining Programs agreed to changes with regard to how it calculates surface coal mining bond rates. Since the implementation of full cost boning in 2000, the Department has based its bond rate calculations on the lowest three bids on BAMR projects. However, beginning in April of 2020, the DEP began calculate surface coal mining bond rates by using the single lowest bid received on BAMR projects.
Starting in April, grading costs for less than 500 ft. decreased by $0.10 per cubic yard while grading and hauling rates for greater than 1,000 feet will decrease by $0.20 per cubic yard. This is a significant savings to all surface coal mine operators.
Finally, the Department has agreed to re-issue permits for large open pit mines and eliminate a special-condition requiring annual reviews and costly surveys to comply with the special conditions. The Department eliminated the annual bond reviews 2014 in favor of a new system giving mine operators the option to post bonds for either a three or five-year period at permit renewal as adjusted for inflation.
However, the Pottsville District Mining Office inserted a special condition into many of the large open pit mines that still required an annual review and expensive surveys. The PAC argued against this special condition which was not being imposed by any of the Department’s other District Mining Offices. The DEP reviewed our appeal and has indicated that they will be issuing new permits that will delete the special condition calling for an annual bond review and pit surveys.
Now more than ever, the anthracite industry needs to be united and the Pennsylvania Anthracite Council is working to provide and preserve that unity. By working with groups like the Pennsylvania Coal Alliance, we are opposing the state’s new carbon cap and trade proposal and we are working to secure regulatory changes by opposing the classification of manganese as toxin which will require additional treatment costs to both anthracite and bituminous coal mine operators.
I want to thank each of you for your tremendous support of the PAC. Your investment in the PAC ensures your voice and a seat at the table when issues arise that affect your business. Thank you for helping us continue the fight. We are looking forward to continuing to serve you in the months and years ahead.
Additionally, we urge you to reach out to your vendors and others who support your business and invite them to invest in the PAC. Membership support and involvement is the life blood of all organizations like ours.Go back to previous page