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PITTSBURGH (Aug. 30) – Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary David E. Hess announced today that DEP has established a $2 million trust fund to prevent mine drainage from five closed LTV mining facilities in southwestern Pennsylvania until 2003, but additional funding is needed to provide perpetual care of the mine treatment facilities.

“DEP has set up a trust fund with the Clean Streams Foundation as an interim measure,” said Secretary Hess. “This is not a permanent solution. Additional funding must be secured from LTV or other sources and is essential to protecting the environment from the effects of millions of gallons of untreated mine drainage that would be released if the pumping and treatment is stopped.”

LTV has been maintaining the mine pools at three underground mines by continuously pumping and treating the mine drainage from the Banning Mine in Rostraver and South Huntingdon Townships, Westmoreland County; Clyde Mine, East Bethlehem Township, Washington County and the Russellton Mine and Coal Refuse Disposal Area in West Deer Township, Allegheny County and the Nemacolin Coal Refuse Disposal in Nemacolin, Greene County. LTV filed for bankruptcy in October 2000. DEP filed claims against the company’s assets in bankruptcy court in March of this year and is seeking those funds to maintain the mine drainage treatment. LTV’s bankruptcy is the most complex ever by a deep coal mine operator in Pennsylvania. DEP ordered LTV to make arrangements for perpetual care in March 2002. Earlier this month, the Clean Streams Foundation solicited bids from 10 contractors who would operate the treatment facilities for DEP. The bids are currently being

LTV has been maintaining the mine pools at three underground mines by continuously pumping and treating the mine drainage from the Banning Mine in Rostraver and South Huntingdon Townships, Westmoreland County; Clyde Mine, East Bethlehem Township, Washington County and the Russellton Mine and Coal Refuse Disposal Area in West Deer Township, Allegheny County and the Nemacolin Coal Refuse Disposal in Nemacolin, Greene County. LTV filed for bankruptcy in October 2000. DEP filed claims against the company’s assets in bankruptcy court in March of this year and is seeking those funds to maintain the mine drainage treatment. LTV’s bankruptcy is the most complex ever by a deep coal mine operator in Pennsylvania. DEP ordered LTV to make arrangements for perpetual care in March 2002. Earlier this month, the Clean Streams Foundation solicited bids from 10 contractors who would operate the treatment facilities for DEP. The bids are currently being evaluated and the clean Streams Foundation expects to award a contract by mid-September.

In November 2001, LTV announced it would liquidate the company by September 2002. In light of LTV intentions, DEP has been working since December to take over operation of the LTV mine drainage treatment facilities and to provide for perpetual treatment. LTV has not been able to conclude its business by September 2002 as it initially thought and notified DEP that it will continue treating the mine drainage through the end of September.

“The funds that DEP is using to establish the trust were set aside several years ago by the last operator of the Clyde Mine, the Mon Valley Steel Company,” Secretary Hess said. “Mon Valley purchased Clyde Mine from LTV in 1989 and was required to establish a trust fund to provide for future mine drainage treatment. Those funds will now be used to provide treatment at the five LTV sites until the end of 2003.”

DEP is continuing to negotiate with LTV for the transfer of additional funds from the bankruptcy estate to provide for treatment of the mine drainage.