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Minard Mine

This page is an active repository for public information regarding DEP’s review of the proposed Minard Mine.

Current News

A technical deficiency letter (TDL) was sent by the Department to Bishop Brothers on December 27, 2023. The TDL can be viewed here: Technical Deficiency Letter (PDF).

Update February 28, 2024: The response to the TDL was submitted on February 26, 2024. The electronic copy of the revisions are provided below.

Update April 15, 2024: A “Geomorphological and Phase I Archaeological Survey”, completed by Quemahoning, LLC, was submitted on April 8, 2024. The PA State Historic Preservation Office will be reviewing the submission and will provide further correspondence following their review. The electronic copy of the report is provided below (marked New).

The next step in the application review process will be for the Department to review the TDL response. There may be additional TDLs that need to be sent following the Department’s review.

Coordination with US Army Corps of Engineers and the PA State Historic Preservation Office regarding the proposed stream crossings is ongoing as noted in TDL response.

The public comment response document is also being written which will respond to all comments received by any means. Many of the responses to the comments that were received will depend on how the comments in the technical deficiency letter are addressed and the ongoing coordination with other agencies.

If you have further questions or would like to be on the distribution list for the public comment document, please contact Jordi Comas, Office of Environmental Justice for Northcentral Region at jcomas@pa.gov.

Contents

  1. Summary of project
  2. Permit Application Documents
    1. Maps
  3. Draft NPDES Documents
  4. Environmental Justice and Enhanced Public Participation
  5. Useful Links
  6. Archive of Past News or Events

Summary of Project (prepared from application by DEP)

Bishop Brothers Construction Company, Inc.
Minard Mine Permit Application Mining Permit Application No. 08230301
NPDES Permit Application No. PA0270041

Background
Bishop Brothers Construction Company, Inc. (“Bishop Brothers”) has applied for an industrial mineral surface mining permit and associated National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit for its proposed Minard Mine. The proposed project location is in Athens Township, Bradford County. The site is located along the Chemung River just west of Sayre and Athens, PA. The site is approximately half a mile from the intersection of Mile Lane Road (SR-4020) and Meadowlark Drive (T-303). The proposed total project area would be 360.7 acres. Within that project area, Bishop Brothers is proposing to disturb a total 150.7 acres that currently has a land use of cropland and forestland.


Summary Map of Major Project Elements

What will the project entail?
The proposed surface mining activity would include blasting and removal of sandstone from the currently forested hillside above Tutelow Creek. Mining of sand and gravel would be done in the area between Tutelow Creek and Chemung River currently used as cropland. A processing area is proposed for crushing and screening of material being mined. Air Quality permits will be required to be issued prior to the start of any processing on the permit. The proposed entrance to the project area will be off Meadowlark Drive.

Water pumped from the pits in the sandstone mining area and stormwater would be discharged into Tutelow Creek from the project area. Erosion and sedimentation controls are required around all affected areas. The receiving waterways have a designated use of Warm Water Fishes. There are two stream crossings proposed to be constructed to access the sandstone mining area across Tutelow Creek. One crossing will be a bridge over Tutelow Creek, and a culvert pipe will be installed to cross a small unnamed tributary to Tutelow Creek.

The mining plan is proposed to be phased in over a number of years. If approved, the estimated life of this operation would be expected to last for over 20 years. The sand and gravel mining area is proposed to be reclaimed as a water impoundment, while the sandstone mining area on the hillside is proposed to be reclaimed as grassland.

What is an Environmental Justice Area?
Census Tract 9504, which covers Athens Borough, is an Environmental Justice Area, due to a higher poverty rate. Hence DEP is working to facilitate enhanced public participation to ensure that the public is informed and has the opportunity to be involved. More information on Environmental Justice can be found on DEP’s website.

What is the review process?
Bishop Brothers submitted the permit application to DEP on May 15, 2023. DEP accepted this application as administratively complete on May 18, 2023, and is currently reviewing the application to determine if it complies with Pennsylvania’s laws and regulations for noncoal surface mining. Bishop Brothers also published a notice of the application in the local Morning Times newspaper as required by regulation.

What will happen if the permit is issued?
If DEP approves the permit, Bishop Brothers may begin mining and related activities. The issuance of the permit may be appealed by the public if anyone thinks that DEP erred in its decision. Anyone who provides comments on the permit application, whether in writing or orally at the public meeting, will be notified once the permit is issued.

Where can I review the application?
An electronic copy of the application is available below.

The public can review a paper copy of the application at:

Athens Township Municipal Building
45 Herrick Avenue
Sayre, PA 18840
Open 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday
Telephone: (570) 888-2319

DEP Moshannon District Mining Office
186 Enterprise Drive
Philipsburg, PA 16866
Open 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday
Telephone: (814) 342-8200

Will there be a public meeting and how can public comments be submitted?

A public hearing was held on September 26, 2023.

A public informational meeting was previously held on July 31, 2023.

The archived details of those meetings are available on this webpage below.

The public comment period for the application expired on September 26, 2023. DEP will respond to all comments in a public response document prior to deciding to approve or deny the application.

Although the public comment period has expired, if you have any information to provide to DEP that you believe is relevant to the review of the application you may provide it by one of the following means:

  1. Submit them in writing, mailing them to
    DEP Moshannon District Office
    C/O John Mital

    186 Enterprise Drive
    Philipsburg PA 16866
  2. Submitting them by email by sending them (with your name and email address) to jmital@pa.gov.

Who can I contact with questions or comments?
John Mital, Licensed Professional Geologist
Lead Permit Reviewer
DEP Moshannon District Mining Office
Telephone: 814-342-8117
Email: jmital@pa.gov

Permit Documents Including Comments from Other State Agencies

Original Application (PDF) - Please note: This file is very large. Download time will likely be longer than usual depending on your connection. If you would prefer to download this file in smaller sections, we have separated it into smaller files at the links below.

New Documents incorporated into the original application (added September 1, 2023):

Response to Technical Deficiency Letter (TDL) dated February 26, 2024:

  • TDL Response (PDF)
    • Note: Individual maps and plans from the TDL response are split into separate files under the Maps section below.

Comments from Other State and Federal Agencies:

Maps

Response to TDL (2/26/2024) New

Original Submission:

The map and cross section files are included in the complete “Original Application” PDF above, but are also provided here as separate files for ease of reference.

NPDES Documents

The public comment period for the draft NPDES permit will be open until September 4, 2023.

Environmental Justice

The location of the proposed map places it in the Athens Environmental Justice area as determined by DEP policies as administered by the Office of Environmental Justice [OEJ] and its Office of Environmental Justice Viewer. The main focus of the OEJ policy in this project is to do enhanced public participation because “environmental justice ensures that everyone has an equal seat at the table.”

Useful Links

Archive of Past News or Events

September 26, 2023: Public Hearing held at Athens Area High School Auditorium.

July 31, 2023: Public Informational Meeting hosted by DEP held at Athens Area High School Auditorium.