May 2001, VOL. 19, NO. 1
Death of IMCC Representative Floyd Durham of Arkansas
Floyd Grady Durham, Jr., 71, of Sherwood, Arkansas died Wednesday, May 2, 2001 at a local hospital. He was born in St. Paul, North Carolina on December 29, 1929 to Floyd T. and Anna Bell Davis Durham, Sr. He was a veteran of the United States Air Force and was of the Baptist faith.
Floyd received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Geologic Engineering from the University of Oklahoma. He was the Chief of the Surface Mining and Reclamation Division of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality until his retirement recently after 23 years of service. He was the Arkansas Governor's Representative to the Interstate Mining Compact Commission and a member of the Arkansas Chapter of the Society of Mining Engineers.
Floyd is survived by his wife, Prudy Durham, of Sherwood; a son and daughter-in-law, Thomas Grady and Debbie Durham of Port St. Lucie, Florida; a daughter and son-in-law, Teri-Anne and William Hill of Rockwall, Texas; a brother and sister-in-law, Ralph and Skeets Durham of Winston Salem, North Carolina; a sister and brother-in-law, Jolyn and Bill Carraway of Charlotte, North Carolina; a sister and brother-in-law, Norma and Clyde Newell of Clover, South Carolina; and three grandchildren.
IMCC 2001 Annual Meeting Held in Hot Springs, Arkansas
The 2001 Annual Meeting of the Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC) was held April 22-25, 2001 at The Arlington Hotel in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas.
A welcoming reception kicked-off the meeting on Sunday evening, April 22. On Monday, April 23, several speakers addressed attendees during a General Session on topics including: "New Directions at OSM [Office of Surface Mining] Under A New Management"; "New Developments and Directions Regarding Mine Safety and Health"; "Update on Mountaintop Mining/Valley Fill Environmental Impact Statement and Related Litigation"; EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] Initiatives Impacting the Mining Regulatory Arena"; "Good Neighbor Policies in the Mining Sector"; "New Developments Regarding the Regulation of In-Stream Mining"; "National Historic Preservation Act Initiatives Impacting the Natural Resources Sector"; and "A History of Diamond Mining in Arkansas and the Crater of Diamonds State Park".
Attendees enjoyed a Belle of Hot Springs dinner cruise on the beautiful Lake Hamilton on Monday evening. During the cruise, retiring Governor's Representative for the state of Arkansas, Floyd Durham, was honored by attendees. Presentation of a previously adopted IMCC resolution recognizing Mr. Durham's contribution to the Compact throughout his years in public service was presented along with tokens of appreciation from IMCC and the state of West Virginia.
IMCC Standing Committees met during the day on April 24. That evening the Annual Awards Banquet was held during which IMCC's Annual National Reclamation Awards and National Minerals Education Awards were presented (SEE related article).
On Wednesday, April 25, the Executive Commission Annual Business Meeting concluded the four day event.
IMCC Presents 2001 National Reclamation Awards
The Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC) presented its Annual National Reclamation Awards during a banquet held in conjunction with the IMCC annual meeting on April 24, 2001 in Hot Springs, Arkansas.The Kenes C. Bowling National Mine Reclamation Awards were presented to mining operations in the coal and noncoal categories that have demonstrated excellence in reclamation based on achievement in five categories: compliance; contemporaneous reclamation; drainage control; post-mining land use; and innovative practices. A special small operator award was also given to a coal company that was found deserving of special recognition.
The winner in the coal category for 2001 was Coteau Properties Company for its Freedom Mine located in Mercer County near Beulah, North Dakota. Since coal removal at Coteau Properties Freedom Mine began in 1983 and reclamation commenced in 1986, Coteau has reclaimed about 6,000 acres of land, mostly for spring wheat production, livestock grazing and haying. Virtually all reclaimed agricultural lands are now in full production. Among the award winning aspects of the Freedom Mine are the swiftness of reclamation and the immediate return of the land back to agricultural use; the quality of the reclaimed lands, including the innovative practices utilized and the extensive research undertaken by the company prior to reclamation to analyze the nature of soil protection and placement in light of severe climactic conditions;
the company's excellent compliance record over a sustained period of time; and the close working relationship between the mining company and the local farmers, ranchers and community leaders. In most instances, Coteau has upgraded the utility of the land from pre-mining conditions through various soil handling techniques and enhancements and, through careful management and early monitoring, erosion control has not been a problem. Coteau also gives careful consideration to post-mining landscape design and land use planning, thereby building more manageable farm fields and pastures than before mining and allowing for increased efficiency for modern farm equipment and livestock operations. In many respects, Coteau has gone beyond basic regulatory requirements to achieve a final result that is not only productive from an agricultural perspective but that is compatible with the desires of local farmers and the community.
The winner in the noncoal category was Hanson Aggregates for its Baggaley Quarry located in Westmoreland County near Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Much of the mining in the area occurred prior to Pennsylvania's 1972 law requiring reclamation of mined areas and elimination of highwalls. The final open pit highwall was 3,000 linear feet averaging 170 feet in height. Pioneer went to great effort to reclaim the entire site, even though it was legally obligated to reclaim only those areas affected after 1972. Despite limited onsite material and significant challenges due to the elevation, the area was completely reclaimed. Rolling hills have replaced the 170-foot highwalls and the quality of a nearby trout stream has been maintained. The post-mining land use was designed with multiple purposes in mind, including fish and wildlife habitat as well as an industrial site in an area where flat land is at a premium.
The Baggaley Quarry was essentially a remining operation in a high quality, sensitive watershed. Through a combination of extensive monitoring and well-designed reclamation techniques, the nearby stream - which is classified as a high quality, cold water fishery - was preserved. Additionally, the natural wildlife habitat that was created has attracted whitetail deer, wild turkey, black bear, various ducks and geese along with raptors common to such areas such as owls and hawks. During the course of its operation, the Baggaley Quarry had an excellent compliance record.
ACV Power Corporation received recognition in the small operator category for its Wildwood Project in Allegheny County near Hampton Township, Pennsylvania. This five person operation reclaimed 42.5 acres of abandoned mine land adjacent to North park, a large public park in the Pittsburgh suburbs, through the remining of a 50-year-old abandoned coal refuse pile that was burning. The project dramatically improved ground and surface water in the area and increased the value of the surrounding properties. Through Pennsylvania's remining program, the project, which removed approximately 900,000 tons of acidic waste coal from the landscape, was completed at no cost to taxpayers. In addition, AVC's relationship with the power plant allowed for the exchange of the waste coal material for Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustion (CFBC) alkaline ash material that was used in the reclamation of the site.
By utilizing CFBC ash, ACV created a fertile seedbed and effectively eliminated the leeching of pollutants into nearby Pine Creek and the area's groundwater. Local officials were initially against this project due to concerns about increased truck traffic, potential dust and noise problems, and the potential for pollution. However, upon completion of the site, township officials issued a letter of commendation to ACV recognizing that "the long-term benefit well outweighs the minor inconvenience [related to truck traffic]." Through the persistence and ingenuity of this small waste coal company, ACV Power was able to make a significant impact at the Wildwood site both esthetically and environmentally.
Several companies also received certificates of honorable mention during the awards banquet. In the coal category recipients of honorable mention were: Kindill Mining , Inc., Mine #2, Alford Field, Lake Woods Wildlife Management Area (Indiana); Fork Creek Mining Company, Fork Creek Complex (West Virginia); Jamieson Construction Company, Permit No. 863-0282 (Kentucky); Sequatchie Valley Coal Corporation, Sequatchie Valley Coal Mine (Tennessee); A & G Coal Corporation, Permit No. 1101669 (Virginia); O'Daniel Trucking Company, Disposal Site No. 1 (Illinois); and TXU Mining Company, Martin Lake and Oak Hill Mines (Texas).
Honorable mention recipients in the noncoal category were: Zemex Industrial Minerals Corporation, Ted McGee Mine (North Carolina); Ashmore Brothers, Inc., Highway #418 Sand Mine (South Carolina); Fox River Stone Company, Fox River Stone Mine (Illinois); Mountain Materials, LLC, Carter City Quarry (Kentucky); and Vulcan Construction Materials, LP, Lawrenceville Quarry (Virginia).
IMCC Presents Third Annual Minerals Education Awards
The Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC) presented its third Annual National Minerals Education Awards during a banquet held in conjunction with the IMCC annual meeting on April 24, 2001 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The minerals education awards are presented each year in two categories: the mining awareness educator category and the public outreach category.
Jennie J. Finney of Danville, Virginia received the 2001 award in the educator awareness category. In fulfillment of requirements for the course entitled "Teaching Environmental Issues: From Coal to Electricity" at Virginia Tech, Ms Finney was instructed to develop a strategy for integrating the course content into her science curriculum and instruction. With the rationale that middle grade students learn from reading and acting out roles, Ms Finney wrote a play and a song about coal and electricity generation. Major scientific facts are presented throughout the play in a relaxed, sometimes humorous manner. This body of work addresses specific Virginia Standards of Learning Objectives in the core areas of Science, Social Science, and English. As one of eight Virginia Teachers of the Year for 2000, Ms Finney was given the opportunity to apply for a grant for the implementation of a project across her region.
She decided that what she had recently learned about coal, electricity, and the issues associated with them was something that other Virginia teachers and students needed to know. The Virginia Department of Education awarded a grant for the "CORE Can Be More" project. This enabled distribution of a playkit to fifteen school divisions within Region VI of the state containing 24 scripts of the play, "Energized by Coal"; a compact disc of the song, "Ode to Coal"; and a coal sample provided by the Virginia Coal Council. In addition, nine elementary schools in Pittsylvania County (her home school division), and local professional libraries and institutions of higher learning received playkits.
The public outreach award for 2001 was presented to Hedrick Industries of Asheville, North Carolina. Hedrick Industries was chosen for its dedication and commitment to its local citizens and to the company's innovative methods of educating them on the unique processes and applications of mining and allowing them a hands on approach to learning. Hedrick Industries helped establish the Earth Science Center located in the Colburn Gem & Mineral Museum in Asheville, North Carolina to help provide educational opportunities specifically related to the earth's resources. One of the main focuses of the center is to allow a totally interactive exhibit for kids and adults to learn about the formation of the Appalachian Mountains and explore the inner functions of the earth through plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanism, mineralogy, and rocks.
As another facet of the company's outreach, a Community Advisory Council was formed consisting of a group of local neighbors of Hedrick that meets twice a year with the Environmental Committee, Superintendent, and Area Manager of the local quarry to discuss community concerns and areas of the operation they would like to see improved, including activities the quarry can undertake to help the community. This activity promotes awareness of environmental stewardship associated with mining through active involvement of citizens. Twice yearly (for the past eight years) the council meets on site at Hedrick's facility in the morning to engage in a roundtable discussion where the Superintendent updates the citizens on operations. The environmental department gives updates on environmental stewardship concerning the quarry. The citizens are encouraged to ask questions and express any concerns about the operation.
After the roundtable discussion each member of the advisory council is given a tour of the plant and quarry area. After the tour, the council meets again to discuss changes citizens would like to see implemented in the operation, any environmental concerns they have, and other activities the quarry can get involved in around the community. Each of Hedrick Industries' quarry operations also holds an open house in an effort to allow local citizens from the community to come and learn about the mining industry, and to educate them on how the company operates on a day-to-day basis. Five education booths are set up at each open house: geology and gem mining, history, quarry and plant tours, blasting and mine processes, and an equipment show.
An honorable mention in the public outreach category was also presented to Pennsy Supply, Inc. of Pennsylvania.
IMCC Holds Teacher Workshop in North Carolina
The Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC) held its third successful Mineral Education Workshop for Teachers at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina, March 16-17, 2001. Previous workshops had been held in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Terre Haute, Indiana. Thirty school teachers from North and South Carolina participated in the hands-on workshop where they engaged in earth science activities particularly related to minerals and mining. The second day, twenty-five of the participants traveled to Vulcan Materials Corporation's nearby Gold Hill Quarry. There they observed first-hand how mining is done at the quarry. They also learned about the processes used to create Stalite, a lightweight rock product which is shipped for use internationally. The teachers were invited to collect rock and mineral samples from the quarry to complement the rock and mineral kits received during the workshop. Stalite employees also provided teachers with baggies of small pebble samples of the rock used to produce Stalite and directions on how to "blow up" the rock and produce their own lightweight samples.
The next IMCC-sponsored teacher workshop is being planned for Maryland in the fall of 2001. Teachers from Maryland, the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia will be invited to attend the free workshop. For more information about IMCC's education outreaches, contact Beth Botsis at 703.709.8654, or Email: email@example.com.
OSM Annual Reports Released on CD-ROM
The Office of Surface Mining (OSM) in the Department of the Interior recently announced release of a CD-ROM containing a complete set of the agency's Annual Reports 1978-2000. OSM has distributed an Annual Report each year since it was established to implement the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) in 1977. OSM Acting Director Glenda Owens said that the reports are the only available source of annual statistics that describe the state by state status of the regulatory and reclamation programs under the law. Release of the Annual Reports on CD-ROM facilitates the comparison of statistics from year to year and provides information on budgets, grants, permitting, enforcement, and reclamation accomplishments. OSM has made these out-of-print reports available in response to requests from many parties who want to compare state and national statistics over the multi-year period.
Copies of the reports, which also contains two short movies - an abandoned mine lands public service announcement and a description of the 2000 award winning reclamation - is available for distribution to the public upon request. The CD may be ordered electronically at www.osmre.gov/order1.htm or contact: Office of Communications, Office of Surface Mining, 1951 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20240, Telephone 202.208.2719, Fax 202.501.0549.
IMCC Calls for Increases in OSM FY 2002 Budget for State Grants
In a statement submitted to both the House and Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittees, the Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC) called on Congress to increase funding for state regulatory and Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program grants in the Office of Surface Mining's (OSM) proposed FY 2002 budget. In its proposed budget, OSM is requesting $55.6 million to fund Title V grants to states and Indian tribes for the implementation of their regulatory programs and $124.1 million for state and tribal Title IV abandoned mine land (AML) program grants. "For FY 2002, the states (and tribes) have projected a need for $62.4 million for Title V grants based on the new and improved budget forecasting methodology [developed cooperatively with OSM]," IMCC noted. "Interestingly, this forecasted amount is only $1 million more than last fiscal year's forecasted amount, which demonstrates the states' efforts to hold the line and to budget frugally and responsibly. And yet we are repaid for our efforts with an OSM proposal that provides for no increases in Title V grants in FY 2002.
This is very discouraging and reflects either a lack fo appreciation for states' Title V funding needs or a misunderstanding of the Title V dilemma facing the states, and ultimately OSM." With regard to Title IV grants for state and tribal AML programs, IMCC stated that "OSM's proposed decrease of $35 million from last year's amount of $159 million is simply unfathomable. For over two years, OSM has been working with the states and Congress toward full funding for the AML program, whereby the amount of receipts paid into the Fund from reclamation fees by coal operators each year is appropriated and then allocated to the states and tribes to address the myriad problems remaining in the AML inventory. And now this year, we see a complete reversal without justification or rational explanation. While we are well aware of the Administration's efforts to reduce the overall budget by some percentage, this is not the time or place to exercise such reductions and back track on the promise to provide adequate funding to the states to address AML problems." IMCC went on to note that "major AML problems remain to be addressed and are only getting more expensive, and in some cases more elaborate, with the passage of time due to inflation, deterioration of the sites and urban sprawl. The health and safety of the public is also increasingly at risk. It is absolutely critical to release additional moneys from the AML trust fund now in order to allow the states to address these problems today."
OSM 2000 Annual Report Released
The Office of Surface Mining (OSM) recently released its 2000 Annual Report. The 56-page report describes OSM operations for the period of October 1, 1999 through September 30, 2000 (Fiscal Year 2000). The Annual Financial Accountability Report, compiled to meet requirements of the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, will be published separately this year for the first time. The Financial Accountability Report will only be available to the public in electronic format on the OSM web site. The 2000 Annual Report is available in print or electronic format from the OSM web site at www.osmre.gov/annualreport.htm.
Included in the report is information about activities carried out under several parts of the Surface Mining Law, including: Title IV, abandoned mine reclamation; Title V, control of the environmental impacts of surface mining; and Title VII, administrative and miscellaneous provisions. The 2000 Annual Report contains updates to tabular data found in OSM annual reports since 1988. Also new to the 2000 report is the inclusion of a stronger focus on reporting costs and results of OSM's Government Performance and Results Act activities.
Copies of the report are available upon request and may be ordered electronically at www.osmre.gov/order1.htm or by contacting: Office of Communications, Office of Surface Mining, 1951 Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20240, Telephone: 202.208.2565, Fax: 202.501.0549.
OSM/NMLRC ADTI Group Distributes Technical Manual
The Office of Surface Mining (OSM) and the National Mine Land Reclamation Center (NMLRC) recently announced the Center's release of an Acid Mine Drainage Prediction Technical Manual for public distribution. The manual entitled, Prediction of Water Quality at Surface Coal Mines, presents technical guidelines, techniques and methods used to predict, prior to mining, the water quality that will result from surface coal mining and reclamation operations. The focus of the Manual is on the coalfields of the Appalachian Region of the Eastern United States. Case studies are included.
Funding for the production and printing of the manual was provided by the National Mining Association and OSM. The Acid Drainage Technology Institute (ADTI) is a partnership-based joint venture which includes OSM, coal producing states via IMCC, academia, and other government agencies and groups. Its purpose is to identify, evaluate, and develop "best science" practices to predict the likelihood of AMD discharges prior to mining, to describe the best technology for AMD prevention, and to identify successful remediation practices for existing sources of AMD. IMCC has recently served as Chairman of the ADTI Operations Committee and as the Secretariat for the Coal Mining Sector of ADTI. OSM supports the ADTI through $200,000 in funds annually to the NMLRC at West Virginia University. Copies of the manual are available from the NMLRC website, www.nrcce.wvu.edu/nmlrc, or NMLRC/WVU, PO Box 6064, Morgantown, West Virginia 26506-6064, Telephone: 304.293.2867, ext. 5450, or by sending an Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Energy Policy to be Developed by Task Force Headed by Cheney
An interagency task force made up of eight cabinet-level members headed by Vice President Dick Cheney has been working to create a national energy policy aimed at increasing the use of domestic energy supplies. The National Energy Policy Development Group is studying ways to meet national energy demands while reducing U.S. dependency on foreign energy sources. The task force, made up of the secretaries of Energy, Commerce, Treasury, Transportation, Agriculture, and the Interior, along with the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, will make recommendations for research on solar and other renewable fuels, and focus on increasing the use of domestic oil, natural gas, and coal. The energy policy proposal is expected to be released in mid-May.
IMCC Energy Policy Statement Adopted
Member states of the Interstate Mining Compact Commission (IMCC) voted to adopt an energy policy statement during the Commission's annual business meeting held in Hot Springs, Arkansas on April 25, 2001. The statement emphasizes the importance for any new national energy strategy developed by the federal government to consider the role played by state governments in the regulation of both the mining and electric utility industries. Several critical issues IMCC points to as deserving recognition in the development of a national energy plan include: the role of the states as primary regulators of the mining industry and any potential impacts on existing state regulatory programs; the revision or elimination of certain burdensome and prescriptive federal regulatory requirements; the methodology of measuring environmental performance; under-developed opportunities for mining coal, such as remining; development of new mine mouth power plants and accompanying clean coal technologies, carbon sequestration and reforestation efforts; and educating the public about mining. In most instances, the states are the front-line regulatory authorities when it comes to the extraction of mineral resources within their respective borders and are tasked with achieving a balance between the production of those resources and the protection of the environment, as well as assuring that the health and safety of the public and the Nation's miners are accounted for. As such, IMCC asserts that the states are uniquely positioned to address needed adjustments to the Nation's energy policy. To obtain a copy of the IMCC Energy Policy Statement, contact Gregory Conrad or Beth Botsis at 703.709.8654, or Email: email@example.com.
Mountaintop Mining Decision Issued by Court of Appeals
On April 24, 2001, the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a portion of a 1999 ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Charles Haden in the so-called "mountaintop mining" case. The Haden decision had ordered the state of West Virginia to enforce a rule that establishes buffer zones around streams. Enforcement of that rule would have prohibited construction of fills in valleys and hollows, which are often utilized for surface mining to occur in steep terrain, as well as for underground mining. The Fourth Circuit Court ruled that once the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) approves a state program under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA), the state law becomes primary and operative, as opposed to the federal law. The court reasoned that the 11th Amendment to the Constitution provides states sovereign immunity from suits related to state officials' duties pursuant to an approved SMCRA state program. The appeals court found that SMCRA's unique grant of exclusive jurisdiction to states to regulate coal mining made the claims at issue (states' adherence to certain obligations) matters of state law.