Consol off the hook for PA dam repair

DUE to continued earth movement, the Pennsylvanian Department of Environmental Protection has withdrawn a 2010 order to Consol Energy to make repairs to a leaking dam it said was damaged from longwall mining.
Consol off the hook for PA dam repair Consol off the hook for PA dam repair Consol off the hook for PA dam repair Consol off the hook for PA dam repair Consol off the hook for PA dam repair

Duke Lake at Ryerson Station Dam in Greene County, Pennsylvania.

Donna Schmidt

The state agency announced in November that a study had revealed that longwall mining from one of Consol's operations had caused cracks in the dam at Ryerson Station State Park in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The Green County park’s oversight agency, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, drained the 62-acre Duke Lake in 2005 to keep the dam from failing.

“The department has learned from DCNR and its consultant that the site of the dam continues to move, which would preclude the design and repair of the dam structure; this information was not available to the department when it conducted its investigation and crafted the remedy,” the DEP said in a letter to Consol dated March 31 and provided to ILN Wednesday.

“The department understood that movement at the site had ceased and that repair efforts could be started. Therefore, the [DEP] withdraws the November 3, 2010 order in order to properly evaluate this new significant development.”

Consol chief legal officer and vice-president of corporate affairs Jerry Richey said the DEP’s determination supported the position the company had held on the issue since the beginning – that the damage to Ryerson Park Dam was not subsidence related.

“Consol Energy remains dedicated to working with the DCNR to find a creative solution that will allow this important community amenity to be restored as quickly as possible,” he said.

“We are committed to environmental stewardship and Consol spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year demonstrating that commitment."

Neither the DEP nor the DCNR released public statement on the announcement, citing ongoing litigation over an estimated $US58 million in repairs to the dam.

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