FERC looks at impact of longwall subsidence in Pennsylvania

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will prepare an environmental assessment (EA) that will discuss the impacts of longwall mining at coal mines of Alpha Natural Resources (NYSE: ANR) and CONSOL Energy (NYSE: CNX) in southwest Pennsylvania.

This mining is covered under FERC applications from Texas Eastern Transmission LP, which owns gas pipelines in the area that could be damaged by longwall subsidence, which is when the ground over a mined area collapses after mining is complete.

The EA will cover the Emerald Longwall Mine Panel D1 Project related to Alpha’s Emerald mine and the Bailey East Mine Panel 1L Project related to CONSOL’s Bailey mine. Both mines work the Pittsburgh coal seam.

The projects involve the excavation, abandonment, replacement, temporary elevation, and reburial of pipeline facilities currently operated by Texas Eastern Transmission in Greene County, Pa., to facilitate the underground mining of coal, FERC said in an Oct. 31 public notice. The commission will use the EA in its decision-making process to determine whether the projects are in the public convenience and necessity.

The scoping period, where the commission takes input on what should be covered in the EA, will close on Dec. 2.

Texas Eastern Transmission is seeking authorization from the FERC for the projects, which includes work to be performed for the planned longwall coal mining activities of Emerald Coal Resources LP in Panel D1 of its Emerald mine and Consol Pennsylvania Coal Co. LLC (Consol) for its Bailey mine in Panel 1L.

“Texas Eastern designed the projects to ensure the safe and efficient operation of its existing pipeline facilities at their certificated design capacities during the planned longwall mining activities at both mines which include mining coal below the pipelines and then allowing the mine roof to collapse after removing the mine braces,” FERC noted.

The projects would disturb about 19.4 acres of land for the excavation, abandonment, replacement, elevation, and reburial at the Emerald mine and 26.0 acres at the CONSOL mine, most of which consists of existing previously disturbed easements.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.