Field Technician Carla Ruddock’s Comments on Proposed Rustic Ridge Deep Mine

This week we’ll be posting testimony from our staff and supporters regarding the proposed Rustic Ridge deep mine.  Find background information on this proposal here and here, and our write-up on the recently held public hearing here.

Following is testimony our Field Technician Carla Ruddock gave at last week’s public hearing.  Carla conducts all of our Indian Creek water quality monitoring and has been very involved in the construction of our mine drainage treatment systems throughout the Indian Creek watershed.  Her comments focus on impacts of the proposed Rustic Ridge mine on the comprehensive restoration of Indian Creek.

I believe that the potential environmental impacts that would occur if a deep mining permit was granted for the LCT Rustic Ridge Mine would detrimentally harm the Champion Creek, Indian Creek, and Youghiogheny River watersheds.

Mountain Watershed Association has been investing in the community’s future through the development of abandoned mine drainage treatment systems to clean up damages from previous mining ventures in the watershed, and this investment is not cheap. Recently we have completed a rehabilitation of the Anna & Steve Gdosky Restoration Project for the Kalp discharge at a cost of $1,232,604 of which a little over one million was funded by the tax payers. This is in addition to the $3.4 million that was spent in 2004 to originally build the system. Another system, the Melcroft Abandoned Mine Drainage Treatment system (Built in 2011 at a cost of approximately $1.1 million) is located downstream of the proposed mine site and could become overwhelmed with additional flows if LCT is permitted to mine the Rustic Ridge site.

Overall Mountain Watershed Association is responsible for the oversight and maintenance of five abandoned mine drainage treatment systems. In 2003, we received only the second grant in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to establish a trust fund for mine drainage treatment and to develop an Operation, Maintenance, and Replacement plan for our treatment systems. Through the development of this plan it is estimated that MWA can spend nearly $78,000 annually to maintain these systems. Part of this maintenance includes the 391 water samples that we collect annually that has helped us document the baseline water quality for the region and to keep a watchful eye out for any changes.

It is in my opinion that the ongoing cost associated with cleaning up these environmental impacts is not worth the minuscule gain of exploiting the natural resources and intruding on the peace and tranquility that area residents currently enjoy.

Carla Ruddock
Field Technician
Mountain Watershed Association

For more information on the proposed Rustic Ridge deep mine please email Beverly or call 724/455-4200 ext. 1#.