Longwall Mining ‘Sucked Dry’ or Damaged Six Pennsylvania Streams

Anglers and different stream and river conservationists, already at odds with hydraulic fracturing, open pit mining and different fossil gasoline extraction operations; are inserting an elevated deal with longwall mining after the state of Pennsylvania released information indicating that longwall mining operations by Consol Power have severely depleted or completely eradicated streamflow for six streams within the southwestern portion of the state.

Longwall mining is a extra environment friendly mining observe than conventional room and pillar mining. In longwall mining, large hydraulic gear is used to shear and slice massive segments of coal from mines. In contrast to room and pillar mining, through which blocks of coal and different helps are left behind to assist the earth, longwall mining leaves open caverns behind. These open caverns typically trigger floor subsidence above the mines, disrupting ecosystems and diverting water flows. In some areas, floor subsidence of greater than 15 ft has resulted from longwall mining.

This newest incident is not the primary time longwall mining has been scrutinized for its results on streams. Over a decade in the past, the US Fish and Wildlife service warned that longwall mining was ruining trout streams. Citing Pennsylvania’s Enlow Fork for example, a report within the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2000 famous that “longwall mining subsidence has brought on an eight-mile stretch of Enlow Fork, as soon as a fairly, babbling trout stream with a pure assortment of riffles and runs, to develop into little greater than a sequence of slack-water swimming pools crammed with muddy sediment and few fish.”

Within the Submit-Gazette report, wildlife biologist Jennifer Kagel famous that the subsidence attributable to longwall mining “can imply water loss, pooling, diminished water velocity, and finally the alternative of riffle species with slow- or standing-water species and the lack of variety.” Kagel continued, “that modifications the prevailing makes use of of the stream which might be protected by the state and federal Clear Water Act.”

In keeping with the above cited report from the Middle for Public Integrity, Consol Power is at the moment making use of for a allow that might increase its largest mine in Pennsylvania, Bailey Mine, by over 3,000 acres. The growth is predicted to trigger harm to a dozen extra space streams.

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