CFA Awards $ 2.25 Million to Sen. Blake’s 22nd District

Flood control funding in Jermyn and Natural Gas Fueling Station in Lackawanna County along with other municipal projects.

SCRANTON, Oct. 21, 2014 – State Sen. John Blake’s advocacy helped secure $385,000 for a flood mitigation project in Jermyn Borough and nearly half a million dollars from the commonwealth to continue the remediation of the Old Forge borehole.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved the latest round of investments in Blake’s 22nd Senatorial District. The CFA also green-lighted $1.25 million to help Constellation New Energy build a public access CNG fueling station, and another $125,000 for projects in Jefferson Township, Moscow Borough and at West Scranton High School.

“Today’s round of funding will allow us to take the next step in addressing one of the worst sources of pollution in the Lackawanna River and Chesapeake Bay watersheds.” Blake said today following CFA’s approval of the new investments.

“Also, today’s announcement should bring reassurance to residents in flood-prone Jermyn Borough that much-needed flood control improvements will be implemented,” he said. Blake wanted to acknowledge members of the Northeast House Democratic delegation, all of whom were strong advocates for these funding awards. Blake also wanted to express thanks to the Lackawanna County commissioners for their support on behalf of Jermyn Borough.

The $492,821 grant to Susquehanna Mining Solutions will allow the company to begin baseline site work as it prepares to build its acid mine drainage treatment facility.

Iron oxide from the Old Forge borehole, which was drilled in 1962 to release water that had pooled in underground mines, has turned the Lackawanna River orange. The 80 million gallons of water it discharges each day into the river ends up in the Chesapeake Bay.

The $1.25 million Alternative and Clean Energy Program grant to Constellation New Energy will result in a compressed natural gas, or CNG, fueling station near interstates 81, 84 and 380.

Constellation is paying the balance of the cost of construction, or $1,875,884.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority also approved the following grants today:

  • $385,000 to Lackawanna County Commissioners for a flood mitigation project in Jermyn Borough,
  • $76,683 to Jefferson Township for the construction of walking and hiking trails for the community’s only publicly owned park,
  • $24,650 to the WSHS Courtyard Fund for a courtyard beautification project at West Scranton High School, and
  • $24,000 to Moscow Sewer Authority so it may update its Act 537 sewage facilities plan.

“When Rush Brook flooded in 2003, it damaged 70 homes and businesses,” Blake said. “The county’s $385,000 flood mitigation project will enable Jermyn Borough to undertake local project responsibilities that will enable the state to construct flood control improvements that will help keep Rush Brook in its banks and better protect Jermyn against storms.”

Flood protection will come from a new hybrid channel and concrete block wall. Five of the seven bridges along Rush Brook will also be replaced with box culverts and a levee will protect the low-lying area near River Street.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority is an independent agency of the commonwealth that is designed to administer Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus packages. CFA holds fiduciary responsibility over the funding of programs and investments.

CFA’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 14 in Harrisburg.

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Clean Up of Lackawanna River Begins With $1 Million State Investment, Blake Says

HARRISBURG, Nov. 21, 2013 – State Sen. John Blake (D-Lackawanna), Rep. Mike Carroll (D-Luzerne) and Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich (D-Lackawanna) today announced a historically significant $1 million investment by the commonwealth to begin the cleanup of the Lackawanna River.

The outlay, approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority under Act 13 of 2012, means Susquehanna Mining Solutions LLC will be able to secure land in Duryea Borough near the Old Forge borehole

“The Old Forge borehole in the Lackawanna River continues to be the most toxic and damaging source of pollution in the watersheds of the Lackawanna and Susquehanna rivers,” Blake said in announcing CFA’s approval of the project. “Several past attempts to mobilize the necessary resources and the commitment to correct this environmental calamity have fallen short.

“Current efforts, however, supported by an impressive partnership of for-profit, non-profit and scientific stakeholders holds promise to finally solve this problem. It is proper and necessary for the state to advance this effort. I am glad to join my colleagues in announcing this state support for Susquehanna Mining Solutions,” Blake said.

Iron oxide from the Old Forge borehole, which was drilled in 1962 to release water that had pooled in underground mines, has turned the Lackawanna River orange. Because of the pollution, the river is the largest polluter of the Chesapeake Bay.

The $1 million CFA investment will advance a plan that will lead to the construction of a facility to treat the acid mine water.

“It is past time that the commonwealth and our community leaders strategize a solution to clean the Lackawanna River. This effort will result in a significant improvement to the water quality of the Susquehanna River through the Wyoming Valley, continuing to the Chesapeake Bay,” said Rep. Mike Carroll.

“Too often we take clean water for granted, but with cooperation like this we can truly guarantee clean water not only here but for those downstream today and for generations to come. This is a perfect example of how business and government can partner to build a better Pennsylvania,” said Rep. Sid Michaels Kavulich.

The mine pool reportedly can hold as much water as Lake Wallenpaupack, which is 13 miles long and, on average, 30-feet deep.

Blake, Carroll and Kavulich, along with stakeholders, intend to highlight the specifics of the plan to improve the Lackawanna River in the near future.

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