Federal Grants Announced Aimed at Cleaning Up Polluted Waterways

The Times Tribune covered Congressman Cartwright’s commitment to investing in clean waterways and restoring ecosystems:

“When coal was king, anthracite mining left damage on the local environment spanning generations — from the burning culm banks imprinting the smell of ‘hell and brimstone’ in Bernard McGurl’s memory to the rust that stains local waterways orange today.

‘All of these mining operations left devastation,’ said McGurl, director of the Lackawanna River Conservation Association.

McGurl hoped new federal grants announced Wednesday will help to undo that harm.

U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright joined with the LRCA and the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation to announce $100,000 in federal awards split between the groups to fund projects meant to dampen the effects from decades of mining on the region’s watershed and ecosystems.

‘Decades ago, generations ago, it was coal that brought people to this valley,’ Cartwright said. ‘That’s all gone. We know that. It’s been gone for a couple of generations. What remains is the scarring on the landscape.’

McGurl said the money will help to design projects and secure needed permits to begin work on a number of restoration efforts.

A task highlighted was the restoration of a mile of Leggetts Creek in Scranton, which aims to address the waterway’s damaged ecosystem, design a recreational trail and enhance the overall quality of life for residents and visitors.

The money will be used to install bank stabilization measures, manage stormwater runoff and run a program monitoring the project’s efficiency, Cartwright’s office said in announcing the funds.

EPCAMR will use the money to help fund restoration in Luzerne County.

In a statement, Bobby Hughes, executive director, said they will assess mining-impacted watersheds on the eastern side of the southern Wyoming Valley and develop recommendations for future restoration projects.”