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Public Notification: Coal Mining Permits

The regulations governing the application, transfer, renewal, or revision of mining permits, 25 Pa. Code § 86.31 (Coal Mining: General), require that applicants and permit holders submit a notification to a newspaper of general circulation in the locality of the proposed or existing mining activities. These requirements are meant to provide proper notification to the public in the location of the proposed application and to allow sufficient opportunity to provide written comment, objections, and a request for a meeting about the proposed activities.

This page provides additional details and example wording for the required public notice.

How often and for how long does the notice run?

Once a week for no less than four (4) consecutive weeks starting upon acceptance of the application by the DEP District Mining Office.

What does the applicant submit with the regards to the public notice?

The applicant provides a copy of the wording of the notice and the name of the newspaper where it will be run with the application package ("intent to publish") as per 25 Pa. Code § 86.70. The applicant provides proof of publication to the District Mining Office upon completion of the public notice period. Proof of Publication is an original advertisement or copies of each advertisement as it appeared in the newspaper showing all the dates that it appeared. A proof can be obtained from the publishing outlet and should be notarized. Failing to submit the proof of publication will result in the application returned as incomplete.

What Information is Required to be Included in a Public Notification?

At a minimum, a Public Notification must include the following information:

  • The name and business address of the applicant/permit holder
  • A map or description of the proposed activity as it relates to towns, rivers, streams, and/or other bodies of water, local landmarks, and other information, including routes, streets or roads, and accurate measurements, necessary to allow local residents to readily identify the proposed permit area
  • The location of where a copy of the application is available for public inspection
  • The name and address of the Department's appropriate district or regional office to which written comments, objections, and requests for informal conferences on the application may be submitted.

If the applicant intends to seek approval to operate within variance or waiver areas, the request must be documented with appropriate detail so that readers can identify the area.

Other specific public notice requirements are contained in the following sections of the regulations:

Chapter 86. Surface and Underground Coal Mining: General

Chapter 87. Surface Mining of Coal

Chapter 89. Underground Mining of Coal and Coal Preparation Facilities

Chapter 90. Coal Refuse Disposal

Chapter 290. Beneficial Use of Coal Ash

Instructions for completing Public Notifications, including the address and contact information for DEP District and Regional Offices, County Conservation District Offices, and the suggested wording templates for new, revision, or permit transfer application notifications can be found within the appendices of the Instructions for Completing Mine Permit Applications. These instructions are specific to the mining activity proposed. Applicants are strongly encouraged to only use the forms located on the eLibrary system. The use and submission of the most current instructions and mine permit application ensures timely processing of permit applications and minimizes delays.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact their respective District Mining Office with any questions regarding the mining permit application submission.

Sample wording

Each Public Notification is unique to the respective application. Applicants are encouraged to read the Instructions for the Application they are submitting and can send a draft of the public notice wording to the permit staff of the District Mining Office for prior approval to avoid confusion and possible delays to the permit review process.

The following template is an example of a Public Notification for an Application for a new, Bituminous or Anthracite Surface Mine Permit Application. The applicant can add additional information as required to represent the proposed activities.

Pursuant to the "Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act" and the "Clean Streams Law" notice is hereby given that [name of company and company address] has made application to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for a permit to conduct noncoal [surface or underground] mining activities in [township(s)] Township(s), [county]County. The application includes a request [insert wording from OPTIONS as applicable]. The proposed permit area is [number of acres] acres and is situated [provide distances and directions from local landmarks and roads to allow local residents to identify the mine site or include a map that will be published as part of the notice]. The receiving stream for this proposed permit area is [name of stream and 25 Pa Code Chapter 93 antidegradation Classification, if applicable] The [name of map] PA., U.S. Geological Survey 7.5 minute topographic map contains the area described. A copy of the application is available for public inspection at the [name and address of public office]. Written comments, objections, or a request for an informal conference or public hearing may be submitted to the DEP, [appropriate District Mining Office, mailing address and email address] by [date should be 30 days following the date of the last (i.e. 4th) publication of this notice] and must include the person's name, address, telephone number, and a brief statement as to the nature of the objection(s).

Examples of OPTIONS:

  • Authorization to discharge under an individual NPDES permit
  • For a variance to conduct mining activities within 100 feet of [name of stream]. The stream encroachment activities consist of [description of activities].
  • For a variance to conduct mining activities within 100 feet of [name of public road]
  • To relocate [description of public road and section to be relocated] for a period of [months/years]
  • To add [name of stream and 25 PA Code Chapter 93 antidegradation classification if applicable] for receiving discharges of water
  • To change water handling procedures to include [description of changes]
  • To conduct auger mining
  • To conduct blasting
  • To apply biosolids (stabilized sewage sludge) to the backfilled and regraded land surface to enhance vegetation
  • To change the postmining land use from [current land use] to [proposed postmining land use]
  • To dispose of coal refuse
  • To beneficially use coal ash for [placement/fill, soil amendment/substitute, alkaline addition, low permeability material as applicable]
  • For a permit boundary correction to add [acres] acres for extracting coal

This list is not inclusive. Other options may apply.

Other Ways to Learn of Proposed Permit Applications or Modifications to Existing Permits

All proposed permit applications or revisions to permits are announced in the PA Bulletin. The Bulletin is updated every Friday at 9 a.m. The most recent bulletin can be found by selecting the "Current Issue" link.

Citizens may also choose to register for specific updates on selected items such as individual permit applications through the Department's eNOTICE system. This system will notify registered users of only the permit applications, draft technical documents, or regulations that they select, and which are handled by the Department.

The Department also maintains Pennsylvania's Environment Facility Application Compliance Tracking System (eFACTS). The eFACTS system allows individuals to search for authorizations, clients, sites, and facilities. Searches can also be conducted to find inspection and pollution prevention visits, as well as inspection data, including enforcement information and resolutions to those violations.