After Discovering and Preventing Seismic Blasting on Coal Ash Dump Site, EIP and Local Communities Call on PA DEP to Revise Outdated Rules

LaBelle, Pennsylvania – In conjunction with the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), local residents of LaBelle, Pennsylvania, and surrounding Fayette County successfully worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to prevent the detonation of 130 seismic charges at the Canestrale Coal Refuse Disposal Area, an active coal waste mine dump with a history of toxic discharges and permit violations.  Unauthorized blasting is prohibited at active federally permitted mine sites, and detonations would be particularly dangerous at the LaBelle site, given the presence of toxic coal ash and a PA DEP-designated “high-hazard” dam.

Although PA DEP was not aware that blasting was planned on the site, it acted quickly upon notification by EIP and local residents, issuing a stop-work order and requiring the removal of 130 blasting charges, which a seismic testing company had buried throughout the site.  And while this case serves as a good example of collaboration between PA DEP and citizens, EIP and its local partners now call on PA DEP to swiftly revise its outdated mining and explosives rules.  Revised rules are necessary in order that the agency can thoughtfully permit seismic testing and prevent potential disasters like the one that almost occurred at LaBelle.

For the press release, click here.