Coal Mine Visited By EPA’s Scott Pruitt Just Furloughed 300 Workers

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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More than 300 workers at Consol Energy’s Bailey Mine complex in Greene County, Pa. were furloughed Monday after state environmental regulators failed to approve a permit that allows the company to continue mining at the site.

Workers at the mine near Ryerson Station State Park in Southwestern Pennsylvania were informed late last week that they would be furloughed if the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) did not approve the permit by Friday. The mine was the site of Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s visit in April during his “Back to Basics” tour.

The mining company was in the process of modifying its permit after state regulators invalidated some of its stream restoration procedures. A state environmental hearing board ruled that the DEP “erroneously” allowed mining in areas with improper stream-preservation systems in place, according to the Observer-Reporter.

The DEP said that the agency reviewed the modified permit after the hearing board ruling and accepted revisions with additional information from the company Aug. 30 and Sept. 7. The revisions included a new plan to preserve the environment around which the mining is set to take place.

Despite approval, DEP spokeswoman Lauren Fraley said that timeframes for review “vary” and there is no clear date for when the review would be completed.

It’s the first time in the mine’s 35-year history that a permit was not approved in a “timely manner” to allow for continued operations, Consol Energy spokesman Brian Aiello said.

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