Snyder: Huge gob pile in Fredericktown targeted for funding, elimination

Economic, environmental benefits eyed from reclaiming 45 acres of coal refuse

CARMICHAELS, July 14 – State Rep. Pam Snyder, D-Greene/Fayette/Washington, today hailed the selection of the 90-foot-high coal refuse site in Fredericktown, Washington County, for reclamation under a $30 million federal pilot program taking aim at abandoned mine sites.

"The program sought cleanup sites based on their long-term economic benefits," Snyder said. "The Black Dog Hollow mine site in East Bethlehem Township certainly meets those qualifications, and the environmental benefits will be substantial, too."

Snyder said the sheer, unstable gob pile sits within 500 feet of 60 homes in Fredericktown and has long been eyed for remediation.

"Although no timetable is available yet, the entire area is looking forward to completing the reclamation," Snyder said. "Announcement of the funding is a ‘Christmas in July’ moment for the region."

The state Department of Environmental Protection, which will be administering the project, said the project’s many benefits will include:

  • Eliminating severe erosion and sedimentation;

  • Reducing acid mine drainage affecting the Monongahela River watershed;

  • Increasing economic, tourism and recreational opportunities;

  • Stabilizing dangerous slopes and gullies; and

  • Eliminating hazardous structures at the site.

DEP said the Fredericktown project is among 14 approved by the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement through an Abandoned Mine Lands Pilot Program authorized by Congress last December. State officials noted that every dollar in pilot program funding can be supplemented by as much as $4 in funding from state and abandoned mine land funds as well as public and private economic-development funds.