Still in Question . . . Should Amerikohl be granted a non-coal strip-mining permit on Chestnut Ridge, Richland Twp. Clarion Co.

Blast Map (Red Outline) & Overlapping Key Conservation Area in Clarion County. (Light Green area.)

Caption: The red area indicates the proposed blasting areas for the Amerikohl Strip-mine on Chestnut Ridge, Richland Twp. and the green area indicates the Key Conservation areas indicated on the Clarion County Land Use Plan from the County’s Comprehensive Plan.

An informal conference was held on January 25, 2017 at the Bureau of District Mining Operations, Knox District Office related to the Amerikohl Aggregates, Inc., Butler, PA, application no. 16150302 for a non-coal strip-mine for limestone in Richland Twp., Clarion County at the C & K Quarry on Chestnut Ridge. It has been reported by the district office that the disposition date for the decision on the permit application is to be May 28, 2017 and not March 28th that was previously indicated. This will allow the DEP adequate time to evaluate and consider comments from the property and landowners during the permit review process.

You can still submit your written question to the DEP Knox Office until the close of business on February 10th. The DEP will have a comment and response document mailed to those with questions by mid-March and will then provide a written notice of the decision on the permit.

Here are some key points to consider when reviewing the Clarion County comprehensive plan.

A comprehensive plan should, above all other things, attempt to balance all the needs of the community. The foremost feature of such a comprehensive plan should be striving for balance. There must be a balance between all aspects of planning – the economic, the social and the environment.

The environmental vision of the Clarion County Comprehensive Plan includes the following:

• We envision the continuation of the high-quality environment and scenic landscapes for which Clarion County is so well known.

• We envision a new commitment to rectify environmental degradation that occurred in the past. This is hoped to be manifest in the restoration of abandoned mine lands.

• Citizens and local leaders supported three of the top five highest priorities in the future, which use planning to guide future growth and development. These priorities are:

• Protect rural and residential areas from incompatible development.

• Preserve woodlands for recreational use.

• Prepare long-range community plans to guide future growth.

• It is the task of the County to promote basic uniformity of approach and to mitigate harmful effects of major land developments within the context of the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.

• One of the real dangers present in Clarion County’s future is land-use conflict between residential development and large commercial or industrial development.

 Given the clear tone of these notes from the Clarion County Comprehensive Plan and the direct conflict that is exhibited between the footprint of the proposed strip-mine and the area designated as a Key Conservation Area, the question is: How can the PA DEP, a state agency charged with protecting our environment, even consider approving this permit application proposed by a business venture from outside the county?

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