HARRISBURG – Last week, the Johnstown Inclined Plane was nationally acclaimed when it earned a Save America’s Treasures matching grant. Now a local reclamation project is receiving nationwide notoriety, according to state Rep. Jim Rigby (R-Johnstown).
“The Ehrenfeld Coal Refuse Pile Reclamation project is a great example of turning a former environmental health and safety hazard into something positive for our community,” said Rigby. “Receiving this national award is recognition of good stewardship and use of existing land for the benefit of our citizens.”
The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement gave the project along the Little Conemaugh River its highest national rating among similar abandoned mine land clean-up efforts. The job involved removal of nearly 70 acres of coal refuse that threatened air and water quality for local residents.
“The same area that caused erosion and water pollution, as well as burning refuse piles and reduced air quality, is now home to a community park and local opportunities for recreation along what’s known as the Johnstown Path of the Floor Trail,” Rigby added. “The credit goes to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program.”
Pennsylvania was one of three states to receive federal grant money four years ago as part of the Abandoned Mine Lands Economic Revitalization Pilot Program. The more than $26 million price tag for the clean-up will be paid by a pilot program grant and Pennsylvania’s Abandoned Mine Lands program, which is supported by a nationwide fee on coal.
Questions about this or any legislative issue should be directed to Rigby’s district office at 814-536-9818.
Representative Jim Rigby
71st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Scott B. Little
717.260.6137 (office), 717.497.5967 (cell)