Penna. Environmental Hearing Board renders decision on Gibraltar Rock mining permit– 2014.
History: Gibraltar Rock, Inc. was granted a mining permit in 2005 by the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP). Due to their inability to obtain land use approvals from New Hanover Township, the Company applied for, and was granted, mining permit extensions from the DEP. The permit would have expired on August 15, 2009 if it had not yet been activated (mining started).
The DEP has continued to grant extensions to the permit continuously through October 2014. New Hanover Township has appealed these actions of the DEP.
Currently: The Penna. Environmental Hearing Board held a hearing in Philadelphia on October 12, 2012, in response to the Township’s appeals. Ban-the-Quarry and their attorney, Chris Mullaney, attended the hearing.
November 3, 2014: The Penna. Environmental Hearing Board, composed of a panel of five judges, has ruled:
“The Dept. of Environmental Protection has abused its discretion in approving extensions for nine years without determining whether what is now a very stale permit was based on up-to-date data, information, and circumstances. The language of the law provides for “reasonable extensions of time” and provides for very short 90-day lapses in continuous operations. Nine years of such extensions left the realm of reasonable long ago. Nine years of extensions violates the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.”
Excerpt from opinion of Judge B. A. Labuskes, Jr.
What is next? The EHB has exercised its discretion and now requires Gibraltar Rock to apply for a “permit renewal”. The Board has notified the Company of the regulatory requirements regarding permit renewals including deadlines. The permit renewal process will be handled by the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection (DEP).