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Regulators Step In, Stop Planned Blasting At Coal Waste Dump

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Andy Sheehan Andy Sheehan
KDKA-TV Investigator Andy Sheehan began his broadcast journalism...
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LUZERNE TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — There are new details about a troubled Fayette County coal waste dump.

State environmental regulators are stepping in to stop planned blasting on the property, blasting that could have caused landslides or cave-ins.

Neighbors have complained for years of airborne fly ash drifting from the barges that ship it in and the trucks that dump it on the mine property here in Luzerne Township.

“These are good, hardworking people – who every time they turn around – there’s a toxic dust cloud in their intersections or covering their yards,” said Lisa Graves-Marccci, an environmentalist.

Now there’s word that state environmental officials stepped in before some 130 underground explosive were detonated there.

State regulation prohibits blasting on active mine sites and there was no permit to do so.

“You’re dealing with an unstable environment, you’re dealing material that’s being moved around; and the worst case scenario is that something might happen that may cause a landslide,” said John Poister, of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The DEP is citing the blasting company CGGVeritas, which was conducting seismic tests in the region for natural gas exploration.

But the DEP is not citing the property owners Canstrale, which says it did not permit the blasting on its property.

The Canstrale site, however, has continued to be the focus of intensive monitoring by the state since the First Energy Corporation announced its plan of dumping an additional three million tons of fly ash there annually from its Bruce Mansfield Power Plant in Beaver County.

“We continue to check, we continue to monitor and we’ll watch and see,” said Poister.

The site continues to draw concern and scrutiny especially with the prospect of millions of additional tons of fly ash potentially headed that way.

RELATED LINKS:
Residents Taking Operators Of Fly Ash Disposal Site To Court (3/15/13)
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