Abandoned Mine Fund
BY JOSH MROZINSKI ,
Wyoming County Press Examiner
WYOMING COUNTY - County
Commissioners voted unanimously yesterday to support the Abandoned Mine
The U.S. Senate is debating a bill that would reauthorize the federal
funding, giving the state about $65 million to restore abandoned mines
During the meeting, the commissioners also approved a contract with a
Scranton-based engineering firm to work on building a bridge over
Tunkhannock Creek in East Lemon.
The commissioners were urged to support the federal land mine program
by Josh First, Harrisburg-based Appalachian Land and Conservation
Services Co. president.
"So far we have had 31 counties pass resolutions to reauthorize the
fund," First said.
Luzerne is one of the counties that have passed a supporting
resolution, First said after the meeting.
Lackawanna County Commissioners have yet to give their support.
First said Wyoming County has had fewer problems with abandoned mines
than other counties, and the problems that have been addressed have
But he still said the federal program would benefit Wyoming County.
Rusty Bennett, 45, of Forkston and vice president of the Mehoopany
Creek Watershed Association, said the federal funding would allow the
organization to expand its program, during which lime is placed in
creeks, including the Stony Brook.
The creek runs at the foot of the Dutch Mountain, which is located in
Forkston Twp. and has an abandoned mine.
Mike Hewitt, who during the meeting presented data about the county's
mines, said that acidic run-off flows from the mine at 200 to 300
gallons a minute.
Mr. Hewitt is the watershed outreach coordinator for the
Shavertown-based Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine
Commissioner Tony Litwin asked whether strip mining was used at the
"These are all underground mines," Hewitt said.
He added that the four holes were made into the mountain side to reach
Commissioner Judy Kraft Mead, who made the motion to create a
resolution in support of the fund, asked whether the federal program
has been used to pay the pension of unionized mine workers.
First answered yes.
After the commissioners voted on resolution, they approved a $325,099
contract with the Scranton-based engineering firm, CECO Associates, Inc.
The firm will lead work on the federally funded project to replace
bridge No. 7, which travels over Tunkhannock Creek in East Lemon.
Following the meeting, Litwin said CECO Associates, Inc. has told the
commissioners that the plan is to solicit bids will late summer and
begin construction in the following spring.
Towards the end of commissioners meeting, County Solicitor John Hovan
donated a print of a painting by a deceased area art teacher to the
Tunkhannock Borough Council and the County's Domestic Relations Office.
The artist, Terry Hamilton, was also the daughter of Dr. Walter B.
Tewksbury, who won five medals for track in the 1906 Olympics.
On Tuesday the council was represented by its president, Ruby Sands.
Florence Mociun, domestic relations office director, accepted the
prints for the county agency.
The prints were made by the Tunkhannock business, Lizza Studios.
"I wish to donate this in the memory of Terry," Hovan said.
Also during the meeting, the commissioners were told that on Aug. 16
training on the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(HIPPA) is being held for county employees.
HIPPA was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1996 and sets guidelines on
the privacy of personal health.
New Age Examiner 2006