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Proposed Gibraltar Rock Quarry Advances to Steep Decline - May 17,2024

The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, in the case of Gibraltar Rock, Inc. vs. the Penna. Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), has decided to uphold a decision to rescind (remove) the permits issued to allow mining on their property in New Hanover Township.
Gibraltar Rock has worked for more than 20 years to obtain and renew their permits for quarrying on their 241-acre property in our township. (Additional acreage has since been added.)

Rock quarries require three permits:

  • Non-Coal Surface Mining Permit

  • NPDES Permit (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System)

  • Authorization to Mine


Gibraltar Rock had worked very hard to get these permits issued in 2005 and to seek renewal throughout litigation over zoning issues, permit extensions, etc.

In spite of discovery in 2011 of the Swann Oil / Good Oil Co. illegal discharges of hazardous substances into the Swamp Creek, the DEP renewed Gibraltar’s mining permits in 2018. The Township and Paradise Watchdogs-Ban the Quarry appealed to the Penna. Environmental Hearing Board (EHB). The week-long hearing was held at the DEP Southeast Regional Office in Norristown, PA, in 2019. The EHB concluded that Gibraltar’s mining permits should have never been issued by the DEP, and the Board “rescinded” the permits. At this hearing, the PA-DEP also admitted in their testimony that the permits should never have been issued. The Swann Oil / Good Oil site is now called the Hoff VC HSCA site.

Several years of appeals followed . . . to the PA Commonwealth Court, then to the PA Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ordered the case back to the Commonwealth Court citing problems with the Court’s opinion. This second case before the Commonwealth Court took place on
Nov 8, 2023, in Philadelphia, with Gibraltar Rock opposing the PA-DEP. Our attorney and the township attorney appeared in support of the PA-DEP – asking the Court to “revoke”, “cancel”, “rescind” Gibraltar’s mining permits.

On May 8, 2024 - The Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania delivered a scathing opinion. Due to the testimony from DEP’s own witnesses at the Nov. 2023 trial, that “there are no immediate or specific plans for remediation at the Hoff VC site”, and due to the findings that several of the hazardous chemicals have migrated onto the quarry property, this Court has concluded that the DEP should never have issued the permits for the operation of a large non-coal quarry next to an uncontained and ongoing HSCA site.

Conclusion of the Commonwealth Court: The rescission of the permits is a remedy that is entirely reasonable and appropriate in these particular circumstances.

This is a huge “win” for the township and residents. We are very grateful for all of your support!

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