On Wednesday, January 30, support us, Friends of Tom’s Creek (FOTC), and other local residents at the public hearing by Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection(DEP) on a mining permit for Specialty Granules, Inc., (SGI). Time is 6:30 p.m. and place is the Fire and EMS Hall, 106 Steelman St., Fairfield, PA 17320.
We need to convince DEP to deny the permit, which, if granted, would allow stormwater from the proposed mining expansion to impact Tom’s Creek. SGI is using a weak social and economic justification for DEP to allow discharges into a state designated High Quality stream.
If permitted, the project will blast and excavate right next to residential properties, within 100 feet of scenic historic roads, and within 300 feet of Tom’s Creek and four ecologically-diverse wetlands containing unique and endangered species.
The new permit would allow mining stormwatwer to flow into Tom’s Creek, even though SGI is already pumping more stormwater into an existing settling pond than it can handle. This pond discharges into Miney Branch, which merges with Tom’s Creek to the east and south of Fairfield. That water flows into the Monocacy River and then into the Potomac River. Over the years, the mining by SGI has degraded Miney Branch, impacting the use and enjoyment by downstream residents, disturbed the cobble stream bed needed for fish habitat, and decreased stream capacity during rain events, increasing residential flooding downstream.