MAJOR COURT VICTORY FOR THE RESIDENTS OF NEW HANOVER TOWNSHIP!
On Friday April 24th, 2020, the PA-Environmental Hearing Board issued a decision RESCINDING the mining permits for Gibraltar Rock. In July of 2018, Ban-The Quarry and the Township appealed the issuance of the permits, in part, due to the heavily contaminated toxic plume migrating down Hoffmansville Road and onto Gibraltar’s property. This past fall, the EHB conducted a five(5) day trial where it heard testimony from all parties including the highly credible testimony from our Township experts, Dr. Charles McLane and Toby Kessler. The Board then received post-trial briefs and on Friday issued its 82 page opinion which can be found here:
The Board was very critical of the experts for Gibraltar Rock, while finding the Township’s experts to be highly credible. The Board was also very critical of the analysis and actions taken by the DEP as well as their lack of coordination between the Pottsville Mining Office, which oversees the mining permits and the Southeast Regional DEP office, which oversees the Hoff VC under the Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act. In sum, the Board found the following:
1) The DEP did not uphold its constitutional duty to fully consider and understand the environmental effects of permitting the quarry next to the Hoff VC site, all in violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
2) The DEP failed to act with prudence and impartiality as the trustee of Pennsylvania’s public natural resources by permitting Gibraltar’s quarry, in violation of the Pennsylvania Constitution.
3) The DEP erred in mistakenly concluding that Gibraltar’s operations could be reasonably accomplished in accordance with the law.
4) Gibraltar’s application is not complete because it does not describe how a discharge potentially containing hazardous substances will be treated.
5) Gibraltar has not shown that the quarry can be operated without disturbance to the prevailing hydrologic balance, without deleterious changes in groundwater quality, and without causing water pollution in violation of law.
6) The spread of multiple hazardous contaminants in the groundwater that would result from Gibraltar’s quarry pumping constitutes presumptive evidence of potential pollution that cannot be permitted consistent with the mining regulations.
7) The DEP erred in concluding that Gibraltar had demonstrated that there would be no presumptive evidence of potential pollution of waters of the commonwealth as a result of its mining activities next to the Hoff VC site.
This ruling is a significant victory for the Paradise Watchdogs/Ban the Quarry and the residents of New Hanover Township. BTQ wishes to thank everyone who has supported our efforts in our goal to protect the environment in the township. We also want to give a special thank you to the New Hanover Township Supervisors, their administration, legal team and hired experts. They should be commended for their dedication to the health, safety and welfare of our township residents and our environment.
Ban The Quarry,