Mine expansion focus of DEP meeting

Posted March 8, 2012

By Bob Niedbala

Plans by Consol Energy Inc. to construct a new mine portal in Morris Township as part of its Bailey Mine expansion will be considered at a public meeting held later this month by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

DEP will hold an informal public conference on the plans, using an open house format, from 1 to 3 p.m. March 21 in the Morris Township Community Center in Nineveh.

The informal conference will give the department an opportunity to receive input from the community in regard to the project, DEP spokesman John Poister said.

"We want people to bring forth to us anything they believe is germane to the permit request," Poister said. "We actually take the information and go through it and if something catches our eye, it will be considered and may impact plan approval," he said.

Informal public conferences are not held on every application for a mine permit revision received by DEP but are usually scheduled when requested by the public, an interested group or the company, Poister said.

Consol Pennsylvania Coal Co. LLC, a Consol Energy affiliate, is seeking a permit revision to add 52.9 acres of surface property to its Bailey Mine permit area to construct what it calls its 7 North 1 shaft and portal site.

The new portal will be built near Patterson Creek and McCollum roads in Morris Township and is part of the company's project to expand Bailey Mine.

The expansion will include the introduction of a third longwall mining unit at Bailey. This is expected to increase the mine's production by about 5 million tons a year.

The company has indicated the expansion will involve 24,700 acres. Mining will initially occur on property to the east of Bailey's existing workings.

Consol has filed permit applications with DEP to longwall a 3,135 acre block of coal east of the village of Time that was previously permitted for development mining.

It also has applied for a permit for 7,131 acres for development mining in an area contiguous to the 3,135 acres, stretching across Morris Township and centered roughly in Nineveh.

DEP staff will be on hand at the informal conference to answer questions regarding the permit application. A representative also will be present to accept written or oral testimony. A Consol spokesman could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

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