“The protection of public health and safety and the protection of property must be considered by the Department in issuing mining permits in Pennsylvania.”
In a strongly worded decision, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board has ruled that New Hope Crushed Stone & Lime Company must immediately cease its mining operations below its previously authorized depth because the expanded activities of the quarry pose a threat to the public safety of the community, especially for its next door neighbor, Solebury School.
The order, issued on Thursday, July 31, 2014, rescinds the July 29, 2011 depth correction to Surface Mining Permit 7974SM3C12 that authorized New Hope Crushed Stone & Lime Company to mine to a depth of 170 feet below mean sea level. This order takes effect immediately.
The Hearing Board concluded that “Solebury School proved by a preponderance of the evidence that the Department of Environmental Protection erred in granting the depth correction and allowing New Hope Crushed Stone to create hazards to health and safety.”
“I am very pleased that the Environmental Hearing Board confirmed that the protection of public health and safety and the protection of property must be considered by the Department in issuing mining permits in Pennsylvania”, said Steven Miano of Hangley Aronchick Segal Pudlin and Schiller, counsel to Solebury School.
Solebury School is gratified by the Hearing Board’s decision.
“Since 2009, Solebury School has actively and vocally opposed the issuance of New Hope Crushed Stone’s depth correction mining permit on the basis that it posed a safety risk for our community,” said Tom Wilschutz, Solebury’s Head of School.
“Nearly three years to the day after the permit was issued by DEP, we can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the cessation of mining to lower depths will promote the protection of public safety, health and welfare”, said Wilschutz.
“We’re grateful to the community for its support through this litigation, and would especially like to thank Senator Chuck McIlhinney, Pennsylvania 10th District, his Chief of Staff, Heather Cevasco, State Representative Bernie O’Neill, 29th Legislative District, and our attorneys Steve Miano, Alva Mather, Jessica O’Neill, and Paralegal Robert Hrouda. We’d also like to thank our advisory team Dr. Ira Sasowsky, Dr. Jennifer Wollenberg, Michael Byle, and Wayne Hill, as well as all others, including and especially those members of the Solebury School community, who have helped in so many ways over the past five years,” said Wilschutz.Share This Read the Opinion