CUMBERLAND — The Casselman Mine is “one step closer to opening” after the Maryland Department of the Environment approved the operator’s application for a water appropriation and use permit.
Joseph Peles, managing member of Maryland Energy Resources LLC, made the statement in an e-mail to the Times-News in response to an inquiry about the issue.
The permit is effective July 1, but the timeline of when Maryland Energy Resources might begin work remained uncertain as of Tuesday afternoon. The proposed underground mine in Grantsville is comprised of more than 4,600 acres and includes 15 million tons of recoverable coal.
The permit authorizes the company to withdraw a daily average of 342,000 gallons of water on a yearly basis. The water, to be taken from the coal seam of the Allegheny formation, is to be used for dust suppression and dewatering of a deep coal mine.
“This is the final agency determination,” said Jay Apperson, a spokesman with MDE. “There is no further opportunity for administrative review.”
There are, however, at least two more potential roadblocks which the Indiana, Pa.-based company needs to clear.
First, MDE has yet to rule on the company’s application for a surface water permit. Approximately 100 people attended a public hearing last month about that issue. Second, an interested party can petition for judicial review in Garrett County Circuit Court, Apperson said.
Under the water appropriation and use permit issued June 17 to Maryland Energy Resources, officials from MDE’s Water Management Administration may conduct inspections and evaluations to ensure permit compliance. The company must submit semiannual withdrawal reports to MDE.
Water withdrawal must begin within two years of the permit’s issuance or the permit will expire.
The company is responsible for providing a temporary replacement for any residential or commercial water supply that might be “unreasonably interrupted as a result of this water appropriation.” If that fails to resolve the situation, the company must provide a permanent replacement “of a quality and in sufficient quantity for the required uses within a reasonable length of time, not to exceed 90 days.”
Short- and long-term fixes would be installed at the expense of Maryland Energy Resources.
If a private well or spring is “unreasonably impacted” by mining operations, the company is to provide a new or retrofitted well.
If you are thinking of buying or selling real estate in Garrett County or Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, call Jay Ferguson of Railey Realty for all of your real estate needs! 877-563-5350 Deep Creek Lake Info, Business Directories, Classified Ads, Events & more! Advertise on http://www.deepcreekalive.com/!