Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Small Pennsylvania daily demonstrates good example of localizing a larger issue

The Bradford Era, a small daily newspaper on the Pennsylvania/New York border whose coverage area includes the Bradford Oil Field—which at one point consisted of 90,000 wells and produced 83 percent of U.S. oil, says Allegheny National Forest Visitors Bureau—has demonstrated a good example of local reporting on a larger issue.

Staff writer Colin Deppen writes a local story on a report by the Department of Energy Protection and the University of Pittsburgh on mining in Elk, Armstrong, Beaver, Cambria, Clearfield, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Somerset and Washington counties. 

Of the 46 underground active mines active from 2008 to 2013, the study "found approximately 1,250 different 'effects,' or incidents related to mining and reported to DEP by its staff, coal companies or land owners," Deppen writes. "The vast majority involved contamination or loss of wells, springs and ponds as well as property damage due to subsidence, a gradual caving in or sinking of an area of land."

DEP Deputy Secretary for Active and Abandoned Mine Operations John Stefanko told reporters, “This report provides vital information about the significance of bituminous mining on Pennsylvania’s landscape. We will use this information to evaluate the effectiveness of our mining program and consider ways to enhance the program in the future.”

Commissioner Dan Freeburg "said he hopes lessons learned from successful state regulation of a coal industry at one time largely unchecked can serve as the framework for Shale development policies going forward," Deppen writes. Freeburg told him, “No one wants to see a repeat of non-responsible resource extraction as it happened in the late 1800s and early 1900s (with coal). There are precautions and safeguards in place to avoid the practices from a hundred years ago that we are still cleaning up after.” (Read more)

No comments: