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Municipal News

By J.R. Brower

A land use application by Ramaco, Inc. (Ram Farms) of Lexington, KY was formally accepted by the Nottingham Supervisors at a public hearing on January 19.

Nottingham
Ramaco representatives at the meeting included (l - r): engineering tech Whitney Daugherty, engineer Steve Hinderliter, land manager George Farley, and attorney Rebecca Bowman.

 In attendance were representatives of the company, who propose building a deep coal mine on Little Mingo Road. The likelihood of the project, which will mine metallurgical-grade coal, has raised considerable controversy since its inception.

The plan is still being looked at by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Two years ago, the company submitted their proposal to the Nottingham Township, which was approved based upon adherence to 62 strict conditions.

The meeting was also attended by members of the Protectors of Mingo, a local grassroots organization opposed to the mine. Dennis Franks, one of the group's leaders, joined the discussion with the supervisors about the 28 new land development conditions, to which the attorney for Ramaco, Rebecca Bowman, agreed to abide by.

Bowman addressed each of the conditions, briefly supplying pre-written company responses to each, including verification of sanitary permits, storm water controls, lighting plans, landscaping, hours of operation restrictions, logistics of buildings, berms and sound walls, utility and PennDOT agreements and the stipulation that the township has the right to inspect the deep mining site through its zoning officer at any time to look for violations.

Highlighting the events of the January meeting, the Nottingham Board of Supervisors expressed dismay toward the Washington, PA-based environmental organization Center for Coalfield Justice director, Patrick Grenter, for negative emails to board members. Nottingham Board Chairman Peter Marcoline said that Grenter was upset because Township Solicitor James Liekar did not respond to his phone call messages. Marcoline said that, although he has no problem with Grenter coming to speak at a meeting, "We are not going to give our solicitor permission to talk with him."

Marcoline told members of the Protectors of Mingo that it seemed like the Coalfield Justice group was acting as the smaller group's attorney through Grenter. "You [the Protectors of Mingo] should decide what the attorney does, not vice-versa." The Coalfield Justice legal director was in attendance and acknowledged that there is no attorney-client relationship between the two groups.

The board also addressed the representatives of Ramaco following the response to the 28 township-imposed land use conditions by Ramaco Attorney Bowman. Supervisor Doug King said, "When the mine is operational, our zoning officer, Lee Schafer, will go in there on a regular basis to see if Ram Farms has complied with our conditions." 

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