In 2014, the Penna. Environmental Hearing Board ruled that their mining permit had been invalid since 2009 and ordered the company to apply for renewal of the mining permit, including the NPDES permit. The Township, Ban-the-Quarry, State Rep. Marcy Toepel, and Senator Bob Mensch, met at the DEP office in August 2017 to discuss the renewal.
With the Court order in 2014 requiring Gibraltar Rock to file an application for their two permits, the process was not completed and approved by the DEP until July of 2018. New Hanover Twp. appealed the renewal because the mining will cause pollution from the adjacent Hoff VC HSCA Hazardous waste site (Good Oil Company). The Paradise Watchdogs/Ban the Quarry also joined the appeal. Many documents were filed by all parties, depositions were taken of witnesses, and a trial date of October 21-25, 2019 was scheduled at the DEP-Southeast Regional Office in Norristown, PA. The EHB trial judge was Bernard Lebuskes, Jr.
As part of the permit renewal process, the PA-DEP had conducted fate and transport studies of the Hoff VC site that the Township and PWD believe were insufficient. Gibraltar Rock through EarthRes produced a two-dimensional fate & transport study, but the DEP never had that study reviewed. There were no outside consultants hired to review Gibraltar Rock’s study, and it was not reviewed by the DEP Southeast Regional Office that is in charge of the hazardous waste site. Gibraltar Rock’s study was accepted by the DEP District Mining Office in Pottsville, PA, and the permits were issued in July 2018.
Current Update on Mining Permit Renewal - February 2020
New Hanover Township and PWD-BTQ have appealed the permit renewals. Gibraltar Rock has also appealed because they do not “like” the conditions placed upon them regarding the Hoff VC hazardous site (HSCA). The Township expects the PA-EHB to reach the same conclusion we have reached: that the EarthRes 2017 Fate & Transport study cannot be relied upon. That the HSCA site does exist today. The HSCA site has no approved plan for remediation, in fact, the HSCA site has NO PLAN for remediation.
Trial of Oct 21-25, 2019
Our attorney and the township attorney forced the EHB, the DEP, and Gibraltar Rock to take a hard look at the science and the reports that were presented by our experts. The township hired McLane Environmental to conduct a Fate & Transport study; Dr. McLane testified at this trial. Another superior study was presented by Toby Kessler, professional engineer for Gilmore & Associates. We believe that Gibraltar Rock’s F & T study failed to meet the statutes and regulations and will result in pollution of a list of cancer-causing chemicals if the company is permitted to blast prior to total clean-up of the hazardous site. We believe the PA-DEP committed a grave error in the renewal of Gibraltar Rock’s mining permit.
In January 2020, our attorneys submitted their final briefs in this case. The Gibraltar Rock and DEP final briefs will be submitted in February. Then our attorneys will have another opportunity to respond to those two briefs. All will be submitted to Judge Lebuskes at the EHB. We hope for a decision sometime in March or April.