In accordance with our mission, Earth Conservancy reclaims land, waterways, and watersheds impacted by pre-regulatory mining activity in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.
Local residents are familiar with the history of mining in the region. From the early 1800s to the 1970s, deep mining operations in search of anthracite coal were extensive. The activity, however, had long-term consequences, including remnant mine openings, subsidences, and acid mine drainage seeps. Furthermore, surface mining in the 1940s and 1950s, left gaping pits, dangerous highwalls, mountainous spoil piles, and additional mine water discharges. Abandoned processing structures also remain across the Wyoming Valley, posing safety and environmental threats. Specific hazards that should be addressed include
- vertical openings and portals
- refuse piles (a.k.a., culm)
- hazardous equipment facilities
- abandoned mine drainage (AMD) outfalls
- abandoned strip mines
- subsidence-prone areas
- abandoned mining ponds
According to Earth Conservancy’s Land Use Plan (LUP), approximately 3,000 of the 16,300 acres EC purchased from the bankruptcy estate of the Glen Alden/Blue Coal Company require reclamation. The majority of these lands are located in areas well-suited to the responsible reuse EC strives to incorporate into its work.
Reclamation requires significant financial support. Earth Conservancy has partnered with and received funding from numerous federal, state, and local agencies to assist in its work, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers – Baltimore District, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, Luzerne County, the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation, Trout Unlimited, and the Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts.