Rustic Ridge Deep Mine Update

The Department of Environmental Protection California District Mining Office held a public meeting  on Wednesday, January 28, 2015, at the Donegal Community Center, on the proposed Rustic Ridge #1 deep mine in Saltlick and Donegal Townships.  Over 130 citizens attended the meeting. LCT Energy, LP a deep mining company established in 2009 and headquartered in Johnstown, and an associated company of Robindale Energy, has proposed this deep mine.


Proposed Donegal/Saltlick Deep Mine

Officials attending included Westmoreland County Commissioners Ted Kopas, Chuck Anderson and Tyler Courtney as well as Chief of Staff Kristin Malie for Tyler Courtney; Donegal Twp. Supervisors Henry Hoffer, Tom Stull Jr, and Dan Probisco; Saltlick Twp Supervisors, Greg Grimm and Ed Bukovac; Mt. Pleasant Borough Mayor Jerry Lucia and Manager Jeff Landy; Jordan Frei on
behalf of Representative  Mike Reese; Jason Rigone, CEO for Westmoreland IDC and Director Westmoreland Planning Dept.; Chris Bova, Deputy Director Westmoreland Planning Dept.; Tony Quadro, Asst. District Manager, Westmoreland Conservation District; and Kerry Witt, Manager, Indian Creek Valley Water Authority.  We are grateful to these public officials for their attention to this issue which has significant potential to affect our communities and our waterways.

At the hearing, it was noted that a mine was proposed nearby in 1992 (Rand Am Mine No. 4). That permit was denied by PADEP (a decision which was later upheld by the Environmental Hearing Board) in 1997 because the company failed to demonstrate that the mine would not result in pollution to waters of PA.

Other concerns that were shared at the hearing:

Loss of water supply: At least 196 known private water supplies, both springs and wells, provide water to residents who reside over the mining area, none of whom want to depend on a water buffalo. The Indian Head Water Authority services 7,000 residents and a sizable number of commercial accounts across nine municipalities within two counties of southwestern PA. The water authority indicated they may not be able to service residents if there is damage to private water supplies but no right of access to the home.  If the water quality from any of the sources of the Indian Head Water Authority is compromised, the costly burden of additional treatment would be passed onto the consumer.

Truck Traffic: It is anticipated a truck will be leaving the mine site every 3 minutes. Concerns were voiced about truck traffic traveling on Route 31 west especially through Mt. Pleasant Borough due to pedestrian traffic and business establishments.

Economic Impact: Attendees were concerned about the impact on the tourism industry in the Laurel Highlands and loss of this source of revenue which is substantially more valuable than that which would result from the proposed mine.

Environmental Impact: Many offered their concerns regarding the environmental impact of mine drainage on Champion Creek, Little Champion Creek, Indian Head Creek, and the Youghiogheny River.  Millions of dollars have already been used to clean up previous mining pollution.

Health issues: Residents voiced concerns about the effect on respiratory conditions for children and adults.

Noise pollution: Several attendees shared insights about the construction phase, underground ventilation and the volume of truck traffic.

LCT has yet to determine if the exit for the proposed Rustic Ridge Mine #1 in Donegal & Saltlick Townships will use Route 31 west or Route 982 south.  We would note LCT did not bother to send any representatives to the public meeting, which suggests what their attitude will be towards this community if they receive this permit.

To get involved or to learn more about the proposal please contact Beverly.