Firm Also Questions Rep. Todd Eachus’ Use of Taxpayer Dollars To Fight Project
HAZLETON, PA – Officials of Hazleton Creek Properties (HCP), owners and operators of a major mine reclamation project in the former coal mining center of Hazleton, PA, will discuss and answer residents’ questions tonight in a public meeting about its new Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Permit Application. The event is being hosted by the DEP at Hazleton High School. HCP’s new Permit Application seeks to use dry fuel gas desulfurization (FGD) materials as a source of fill for the numerous, abandoned deep pit mines that pose a continuing health and safety threat to area residents. FGD is a widely used technology that removes sulfur dioxide from the exhaust fuel gases in power plants that burn coal or oil to produce steam for the steam turbines that drive their electricity generators. FGD materials have been successfully used in other mine reclamation projects around the country.
“We are proud of the fact that our project is one of the most environmentally vetted and scrutinized of its kind in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” says William F. Rinaldi, HCP co-founder. “We welcome the public’s ongoing interest in and questions of our project, which will create many jobs in the Hazleton region and improve the overall health and safety of its residents. Tonight’s public meeting is another important step in the permit application process and we look forward to educating residents about the beneficial and environmentally safe re-use of FGD materials in mine reclamation work.”
Rinaldi also questioned the ethics of State Representative Todd Eachus’ use of taxpayer money in his continuing efforts to stop the project. Earlier this year, Eachus’ state office mailed a biased, anti-HCP “survey” to Hazleton residents that was intended to create fear and uncertainty about the mine reclamation project.
“We’re proud of the fact that there are no state taxpayer funds in our project,” adds Rinaldi. “I don’t understand how Rep. Eachus can justify using taxpayer dollars to fund an anti-HCP propaganda campaign. With the state facing huge budget deficits and with many people hurting in this economy, it’s unconscionable for him to use taxpayer dollars to unfairly malign HCP.”
HCP TO DISCUSS NEW DEP PERMIT APPLICATION TWO OF TWO
The Hazleton Creek Properties’ reclamation site is an abandoned mine site located directly off Interstate 81 and bounded by Routes 924, 309 and Broad Street. The site has been severely impacted by past deep and surface mining practices and encompasses more than 277 acres of un-reclaimed, abandoned mine pits and spoil piles. Portions of the site (approximately 50 acres) were previously used for disposal of municipal and industrial waste in several mine pits. The area is a Brownfield site and has been certified as a Designated Special Industrial Area (SIA) by the Governor of Pennsylvania, giving the site priority attention for remediation. The site has the capacity to accept over 10 million cubic yards of residual materials to complete the reclamation.
HCP is authorized to conduct the site reclamation/remediation using DEP-approved residual materials, including regulated fill, clean-fill from construction activities, and river dredge materials.
Once the primary site is reclaimed, HCP will engage in a larger effort to reclaim 250 acres of abandoned mine land adjacent to the city of Hazleton upon which the company plans to build the Hazleton Performing Arts Center. The Center will occupy approximately 80 acres in the middle of this site with other commercial development to the north and south. The Performing Arts Center will be a 20,000 seat facility (16,000 fixed, 4,000 lawn) with state-of-the-art offices, crew and dressing / lounge space for artists and their staff. Additionally, the Center will include 50,000 square feet of vendor/commercial space that is under roof in order to be convertible to convention space. This new venue will serve as a catalyst for the city of Hazleton for new economic development and generate increased tourism to Hazleton. For more information, visit www.hazletoncreekproperties.com.