Community Members Question New Mining Permit

Posted Apr 13, 2018, by Sarah Martik


Residents of Donegal Township in Washington County attended an informal public conference hosted by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to ask questions about the Tunnel Ridge Mine expansion permit. According to representatives of Alliance Resource Partners the mine seeks to start longwall mining early as October 2018.

Residents were concerned about possible subsidence damages and potential water issues, and they had questions about operational logistics. The DEP stated that the subsidence would occur immediately after the structural supports were removed during the longwall mining process and that the coal company would be responsible for all subsidence damages caused by longwall mining.  The DEP also claimed that the mining should not cause significant problems to the water in the Township, but if it did, the coal company would be required to provide water to impacted residents.

  • It is important if you are close to mining operations you document any and all damages to your property.  Even if your property is not directly on top of the area to be mined, the mining company is responsible for mining-induced damages on your property.

  • It is essential to report any issues with subsidence as soon as you witness them. Coal companies have a history of fighting damage claims made significantly after their mine passed through an area.

  • A pre-mining survey of all structures, water sources and air quality is recommended.

One quizzical resident asked the DEP how many permits they have denied in the last few years.  “Several,” was the answer, but with no examples to support that claim. Revisions to permits have been mandated by the DEP and permits have been suspended, but denials seem non-existent.

Residents of Donegal and West Finley Townships should check the maps provided by the DEP to check if any of their structures or land will be undermined.  Residents should know their rights before mining occurs. Please contact Sarah Martik at 724-229-3550 x.1 or smartik@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org for questions or assistance.


  • Sarah Martik

    Sarah joined the CCJ team as a Community Organizer in 2017 after previous work in performing arts and foreign language education, and became our Executive Director in 2023. A resident of Coal Center, PA, she is excited to work on issues related to legacy coal mining and the connection between the Appalachian petrochemical buildout and increases in fracking in southwestern PA communities like hers. She has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Policy but often says that her undergraduate degree in Theatre from the California University of Pennsylvania has been more useful in her work than anything else (ask her why sometimes!). When she is not working, Sarah loves spending time with her fiancé, niece, and nephews, and going on walks with her "fur kid" Lucy. Contact Sarah at smartik@centerforcoalfieldjustice.org.

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