Friends of the Casselman River will want to familiarize themselves with this issue.
I want to go on the record as not being for or against this (yet) – but from what I have read and researched, there a few things that concern me about this project that need to be addressed:
1) Pulling 750,000 gallons of watre per day from the Casselman River? That is excessive and their is no way to know if that will adversely affect the wells (no public water through most of the Casselman basin) of local residents, not to mention the wildlife and trout stream concerns.
2) Tunneling under the river itself? I’m no expert on coal mining and I am sure it’s been done before in other places, but that is an extrememly risky proposal should something go ‘wrong’.
3) It appears to me that this is state land, not privately owned. I am a huge proponent of private property owners rights to use that property as they see fit, but the taxpayers should have a say in anything regarding public lands.
That being said, there are some unavoidable issues that lend creedance to the idea of this:
1) The number of jobs that it will bring to Garrett County cannot be ignored.
2) Western Maryland has always been known for its coal heritage, and I have always been for alternative fuels, though not on state land.
3) A proposed coal power plant in the region? A big plus for jobs..
Environmental Alert for Grantsville, Maryland!
Hot Topics – Maryland Energy Resources Corp., LLC/ Joseph Peles Coal Company mining application in Grantsville, Maryland –
What you need to know!
The Maryland Energy Resources Corp., LLC (affiliated with the Joseph Peles Coal Company) is proposing the construction and operation of a 3040 acre coal mining effort in Grantsville, Maryland. This mining effort is slated to take place along the north branch of the Casselman River. It is ironic that this portion of the river is just recovering from a acid runoff mining disaster from years past. The Patuxent Conservation Corps, along with many local residents, are concerned about the implications of this pending mining operation, as it applies to both the environment and the quality of life for the local residents. Our concerns are as follows:
The proposed mining application requests the permission to pump 750,000 gallons of water from the ground on a DAILY basis. This volume of water draw from our community’s aquifer/water source could dramatically impact the well water quality and water levels within, and well beyond, the 2941 acre area. Furthermore, a loss of quality well water associated with this activity could certainly affect the real estate property values for local residents.
The proposed mine plan includes tunneling under the Casselman River at several points. This delicate trout fishing estuary is a valuable source of outdoor recreation in Garrett County.
The proposed mining site design requires the direct encroachment and adverse impact of sensitive wetlands.
The proposed site design requires the encroachment of the protective environmental setback buffers along the Casselman River.
The estimated traffic impact from this operation is believed to be 100 coal truck passings per day. This potentially equates to (1) coal hauling truck, potentially loaded with 22,000 pounds of coal, traveling on our community roads every 10 minutes.
Due to the grade of the county road (Durst Rd.), it is anticipated that the noise generated by this traffic would approach the effective noise level of an interstate highway to the surrounding community.
Due to the close proximity of the mining haul road to the Casselman River bridge and riparian water bodies, it is our fear that the dust from this excessive traffic would negatively impact the water quality, as well as the local air quality.
It is believed that the mining company is retaining the right to go into a 24 hour around the clock operation in it’s application with the Bureau of Mines
The mining company representatives have admitted to participating in discussions associated with the potential construction of a coal burning power plant on or near the same site along the Casselman River.
The mining site is directly adjacent to a sensitive conservation area operated by the Patuxent Conservation Corp. The Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources – Bureau of Mines has already invested more than $150,000 of taxpayer dollars in reclaiming this site after previous mining activity left it an environmental disaster. The Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources – Maryland Environmental Trust jointly holds the environmental easement associated with this riparian parcel in partnership with the Patuxent Conservation Corps.
The Boy Scouts of America regularly use the parcel adjacent to this proposed mining site for scouting activities. Should the proposed mining application be approved, this site would no longer be suitable for use for the scouting outdoor program
How scenic do you really think Maryland’s “Scenic Byway” Route 495 will be when it is polluted by coal and road dust caused by the estimated 72 to 144 additional coal trucks traveling the road each day?