Reauthorization of the long-supported Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation program received the endorsement of the Broad Top Township Supervisors during their first regular meeting held recently in the township building in Defiance.

Supervisors Donald Black, Bryan Melius and chairman Donald Hedge Jr. unanimously approved a resolution urging the reauthorization of the program in which fees are collected from mine operators and earmarked for reclamation of mining sites. Over the years, the program has faced deep cuts and reallocation of funds, prompting environmentalists to push for stabilization of funding and its reauthorization until 2036.

Broad Top Township, the location of over a century of deep and surface mining activities has been a leader in reclamation work depending on federal and state monies to carry out various environmental cleanup activities. The township has been recognized for its many environmental accomplishments involving acid mine discharge (AMD) reclamation work as well as the installation of a multi-purpose wastewater collection and treatment system.

In an unrelated matter the supervisors learned that township maintenance personnel continue to stock stone at an AMD site at Langdondale. The supervisors also were informed by its engineers, Skelly & Loy, that a permit for improvements to the Langdondale AMD site should be available by April.

Turning to other matters the supervisors authorized changes to the required employer contributions to the Pennsylvania Municipal Retirement System from three percent as the township contract currently states to eight percent for the year 2021 only.

Chairman Hedge announced that one of the wastewater treatment system employees has moved onto another job triggering the township to initiate a search for a replacement. To date, seven applications have been received.

Hedge, in response to one township citizen’s inquiry, noted that in the event Hedge is unavailable, “new hires” would be able to follow posted operation procedures at each of the township’s treatment plants, adding that new personnel are constantly educated on the operation of treatment plants and pump stations.

In other matters the supervisors:

— learned that general cleanup of township roadways, brush trimming, anti-skid and stone stock piling, snow removal and replacement of corrugated tile has kept workers busy this winter.

— address several complaints regarding unlawful trash disposal.

— learned that applying biosolids on a completed surface mining site in the township ended Dec. 28. Numerous citizens complaints have been aired by citizens in recent months regarding the smell created by the biosolids applications.

— agreed to sell a 1993 Chevrolet van on Municibid.

— presented retired, longtime supervisor Robert Figard with a retirement plaque. (Figard thanked township officials for the opportunity to have served on the board and congratulated the supervisors for “doing a great job with storm management and keeping the road clean.)”

— learned that the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission has decided to stop the process of allowing low-level nuclear waste to be deposited into landfills.

Ron can be reached at dnews@huntingdondailynews.com.

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