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Pa. township mulls abandoned mine cleanup

Plus: Suspended DuBois City Manager Herm Suplizio indicted on federal conspiracy, theft charges

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November 23, 2023
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Inside this edition: How a proposed solar project forced a Pa. township to face its mining past, new transparency requirements for Penn State and others, and Herm Suplizio charged by federal prosecutors.
Marley Parish / Spotlight PA

Real quick: A developer wants to build a solar array in rural Rush Township, Centre County, but officials want to ensure it doesn’t deter acid mine drainage reclamation efforts, Spotlight PA’s Marley Parish reports.

A little more: As solar developers set their sights on roughly 1,500 acres in rural Rush Township, local elected officials are tasked with figuring out how to welcome the proposed project without hindering efforts to clean up suspected acid mine drainage.

That pollution from abandoned coal mines can clear up without formal reclamation efforts, but that could take decades. In the meantime, acid mine drainage can be harmful to humans and wildlife.

And if developers build a solar array on top of what’s believed to be mine waste in Rush Township — where it’s not unusual for nearby streams to run red or orange from drainage — the township’s supervisors fear future land restoration will be impossible, or, at the very least, force a decadeslong wait for cleaner waterways.

Rush’s supervisors aren’t opposed to the solar industry operating in their Centre County township, which has about 3,700 residents. But they want the developers — Prospect14, a solar company, and Ampliform, a joint venture launched in 2022 — to be mindful of where the solar panels will be installed and how the array is managed after construction.

The township board is now considering how best to regulate large-scale solar projects through local ordinances and zoning changes without shutting down an environmental group already engaged in reclamation efforts. The first step is a public hearing on a proposed zoning ordinance — which will create a new “commercial energy production” district and regulate construction, safety, and removal of the panels — scheduled for Dec. 12 at 3 p.m.

The full story: Read more here.

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🤔 Can’t attend your local town meetings but want to keep tabs on what’s happening? Sign up for the new Centre Documenters newsletter. 

Centre Documenters recruits, trains, and pays local citizen Documenters to attend and document government meetings in six undercovered townships across Centre County — Benner, College, Gregg, Halfmoon, Snow Shoe, and Spring.

This initiative keeps taxpayers like you informed about your elected leaders and their decisions.

Centre Documenters is a partnership between News Lab at Penn State and Spotlight PA.
» Big bonuses, vast powers, and corruption charges: 5 takeaways from an investigation into DuBois’ Herm Suplizio

» Court orders Pa. health department to release doctor data for medical marijuana certifications

» Pa. counties must accept undated, incorrectly dated mail ballots, federal court rules

» Gov. Josh Shapiro appeals decisions that struck down key climate program to Pa.’s highest court

» A dying man won release from prison after Spotlight PA highlighted his case. It shouldn’t be that hard, advocates say.

» WATCH: A free panel on Pa.’s 2023 election results

» How Spotlight PA reported its investigation into suspended DuBois City Manager Herm Suplizio

» Feds take over corruption case against embattled Pa. city manager
An autumn day at Pine Creek Gorge via Wyatt Massey, Spotlight PA’s Penn State reporter.

Want to be featured here? Send your best local pics to talkofthetown@spotlightpa.org.
» AP: Pa. expands public records requirements for Penn State, others
» Spirit: Punxsy council needs to fill 2 open seats, manager position

» SC: Proposed tax rates in Centre Region
» NCPA: Williamsport’s budget ‘heading in the right direction’
» Mirror: Rosalynn Carter’s visits to central Pa.
» CDT: What to know about PSU state funding
Support Spotlight PA's independent, nonpartisan journalism and for a limited time, your gift will be DOUBLED.
Want us to list your event? Send it to us.

» Nov. 23: The Bellefonte Knights of Columbus in Centre County host a free Thanksgiving dinner that is open to the public.

» Nov. 24-Dec. 23: Check out the Festival of Lights at McKean County Fairgrounds.

» Nov. 25: Take a stroll down Main Street in Coudersport, Potter County, during the 5th annual Christmas in a Small Town.

» Nov. 25: Meet Santa, warm up at fire pits, enjoy caroling, and watch the fireworks at Galeton’s Lights on the Water Festival in Potter County.

» Nov. 25: Shop from local vendors at Small Business Saturday Handmade Market in Bellefonte, Centre County.
An anagram is a word, phrase, or name formed by rearranging the letters of another. For example, “spotlight” also forms “stoplight.”

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Congrats to Frederick H., who will receive Spotlight PA State College swag. Others who answered correctly: Jon W., Leslie B., Susan N., Rena Z., Linda A., Leann T., and Amy Z.
Do you have events, community shoutouts, questions about our region, or tips on stories that we should pursue? Email our team.
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