RES Coal LLC, controlled by coal operator D. Scott Kroh, recently got an approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to revise the permit for the Clearfield Siding in Boggs Township, Clearfield County, to establish an emission inventory for the installation and operation of a coal processing facility based on maximum total annual coal throughput of 2 million tons.
“Emission sources are the rotary breaker, screens, conveyors, transfer points, stockpiles, rail load outs, truck load outs, wind erosion and haul roads,” said a brief DEP notice in the July 14 Pennsylvania Bulletin. The July 2011 application resulted in an issued permit on June 20.
Kroh is a former executive of Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR) who specializes in the central Pennsylvania coal industry. Another of his companies is Robindale Energy Services, which focuses on producing usable waste coal from old coal piles in the region and then hauling the waste ash from power plants back to the mine sites for burial.
RES Coal has three operations, all active surface mines in Clearfield County, that were all first listed with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration in 2008.
- RES Shawville produced 133,484 tons in the first half of this year and 186,993 tons in all of 2011, according to MSHA data;
- RES Houtzdale produced 46,621 tons in the first half of this year and 56,120 tons in all of 2011; and
- RES Morrisdale produced 47,826 tons in the first half of this year and 107,208 tons in all of 2011.
Rail project would provide a boost to RES Coal operations
RES Coal got a boost when the U.S. Surface Transportation Board on May 15 approved R.J. Corman Railroad Co./Pennsylvania Lines Inc. to both build and re-establish rail lines in Clearfield County. R.J. Corman wants to: construct and operate 10.8 miles of previously abandoned rail right-of-way between Wallaceton Junction and Winburne (the Western Segment); and reactivate a connecting 9.3-mile portion of rail line between Winburne and Gorton (the Eastern Segment) that is currently rail banked.
The STB decision noted that an environmental impact statement on the project covered the possible use of the rail line to transport coal from surface coal mines in the area. The availability of nearby rail lines can be a key factor in whether some coal mines are developed or not, since long-distance trucking of coal to rail is relatively expensive.
In June 2008, Kroh wrote a brief letter to the board supporting this rail project. “My name is D. Scott Kroh; I am 50% owner of each of the following Pennsylvania based companies: Sunbury Generation, RES Coal LLC, Robindale Energy Services, and Canoe Valley Limestone,” he wrote. “The above listed companies transport or cause to be transported on a yearly basis 9,200,000 tons of bulk material. A typical year we only move 600,000 tons of the above totals via rail primarily due to the lack of rail access. The remaining 8,600,000 tons is transported via truck. We currently control surface coal mining properties which could load on the below listed Railroad if available.”