Nanticoke, April 6, 2018 — State Senator John Yudichak (D-Luzerne/Carbon) announced today that four projects in Luzerne County will receive over $7.8 million in funding for environmental cleanup and revitalization of abandoned mine lands from the Department of Environmental Protection. Senator Yudichak worked with State Senator John Gordner and State Representatives Eddie Day Pashinski, Gerald Mullery, Tarah Toohil, and Aaron Kaufer to secure this funding.
“The environmental leadership exhibited by the communities and organizations throughout northeastern Pennsylvania should be commended for their steadfast approach to revitalizing the region by reclaiming mine scarred lands for community and economic growth,” said Senator John Yudichak.
The Earth Conservancy will receive $2.5 million in funding for the construction and completion of Bliss Bank 3 Business Park, located in Hanover and Newport Townships. The project consists of remediation of 55 acres of mined land, including 1,200 feet of dangerous mine highwalls, which will allow the completion of the 220-acre Bliss Bank business park. With active recruitment of nationwide companies underway, about 1,000 full-time jobs are anticipated.
“Receiving this award is crucial to the overall goal of reclaiming mine land and turning it into economic growth opportunities for our region,” said Mike Dziak, Director of Communications for the Earth Conservancy. “Part of this project is constructing a roadway that will connect Bliss Bank 3 to the South Valley Parkway, which is already drawing interest from businesses that can come in here and create jobs.”
In Luzerne County, the following projects will also receive funding:
- Hazle Township will receive $2 million – CAN DO North Park Drive Business Park, Hazle Township: Almost 130 acres of mine land will be regraded to pre-mining conditions to be developed into seven developable parcels in the CAN DO Industrial Park.
- Hazle Township will receive $1 million – Hollars Hill South AML site and Cranberry Creek Gateway Project, Hazle Township: About 150 acres of mine spoil, industrial/residential waste, and hazardous structures will be reclaimed for a community ballfield complex and to allow development of the planned residential, retail, and commercial development called Cranberry Creek Gateway.
- The Borough of Swoyersville will receive $2.3 million – Swoyersville refuse pile/community athletic complex, Swoyersville Borough: In the first phase of the Swoyersville culm bank reclamation, approximately 15 acres of the 55-acre coal refuse pile will be removed and remediated, with over 2 million cubic yards of refuse anticipated to be usable for electricity cogeneration facilities. Floodplain restoration will improve water quality in the Abrahams Creek Watershed and reduce flooding. Seven acres of the reclaimed property will be transferred to Swoyersville Borough for development of a new community athletic complex that will allow multiple teams to play, drawing more people to the borough.
Project funding comes from the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) 2017 AML Pilot Program, which specifically targets abandoned mine cleanup projects that are linked to local community and economic development goals.