RICHHILL – Consol Energy has applied to the state Department of Environmental Protection for Bailey Mine to continue longwall mining in three areas in the western part of Greene County.
The three applications cover 9,527 acres in Richhill, Center, Gray and Aleppo townships and will affect about 120 landowners, according to Jaculyn Duke, spokeswoman for Consol.
Duke said the first application will be to start longwall mining 2,142 acres in the southern part of Richhill Township. She said the company hopes to begin that mining early in 2018.
The second application is for development mining of 2,510 acres in southern Richhill and northern Aleppo townships, which the company hopes to begin in 2019. The third application is for development mining of 4,875 acres in Richhill, Gray and Center townships, which the company hopes to begin within the next 10 years, Duke said.
Duke and other Consol representatives held a public information session at Ryerson Station State Park Tuesday afternoon to meet with landowners, talk about the mining plans and answer any questions.
“This was an opportunity to meet the landowners and let them know we’re not some mean old coal company that’s going to leave them out to dry,” she said.
Dozens of landowners attended the information session from 1 to 3 p.m. and had the opportunity to look at Consol’s maps of where the mining would take place. Many of their concerns had to do with the proximity of the mining to their homes.
“After looking at the map, it’s not going to affect the house,” said Lisa Moore, a Richhill Township resident who just spent the last 15 years remodeling her home. “That was our main concern, and as long as we can keep our water supply.”
Water was a main concern for the rural residents who mostly use well water.
“Houses and water are the main things,” said Don Powell, a Wayne Township resident.
Powell attended Consol’s session to help friends of his who live in the affected areas. He’s went through this process in the 1990s when longwall mining came to his property. He said he’s seen houses shifted from longwall mining and water supplies ruined for landowners.
“You’re torn because it’s good jobs, good for the economy and for the tax base, but it destroys these other things,” he said.
Joel Koricich, district mining manager for the state Department of Environmental Protection in California, said Consol is in the beginning stages of the permit process for these new mining areas. He said landowners will have a chance to request additional “informal conferences” with Consol to discuss the mining.