Appeals from the Orders of the Environmental Hearing Board in cases of: In The Matter Of: Sunbeam Coal Corporation, Docket No. 72-292; In The Matter Of: Willowbrook Mining Company, Docket No. 72-293; and In The Matter Of: Grant R. Wright, Inc., Docket No. 72-294.
Leo M. Stepanian, with him Brydon & Stepanian, for appellants.
K. W. James Rochow, Assistant Attorney General, with him Barbara H. Brandon, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.
President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Wilkinson. Concurring Opinion by Judge Kramer.
These appeals are taken from an order of the Environmental Hearing Board quashing appellants' appeals
as prematurely filed. Upon review, we find that the Board's order must be affirmed.
Appellants, Grant R. Wright Coal Co. (Wright) and Willowbrook Mining Co. (Willowbrook), each received written notices from the Department of Environmental Resources (Department) that they were violating certain provisions of the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act, Act of May 31, 1945, P.L. 1198, as amended by the Act of November 30, 1971, P.L. 554, 52 P.S. § 1396.1, et seq. Wright and Willowbrook appealed this notice of violation to the Environmental Hearing Board, where the Department's motions to quash were granted.
Appellant, Sunbeam Coal Corporation (Sunbeam), made application to conduct mining operations within 300 feet of an occupied dwelling. The Department, by letter, refused to hold a hearing, and took no other action on the application on the basis that the owner of the dwelling had refused to permit the mining. This determination was appealed to the Enviromental Hearing Board. Shortly after that appeal was filed, the Department informed Sunbeam by letter that a hearing would be held on the application despite the lack of permission from the owner of the dwelling. Thereupon the Department filed a motion to quash Sunbeam's appeal which was granted by the Board.
As to appellants Wright and Willowbrook, the order quashing the appeals must be affirmed if it is determined that the notices of violations were not appealable orders of the Department.
The instant notices were sent pursuant to Section 4.3 of the Surface Mining Conservation and Reclamation Act, 52 P.S. § 1396.4c: "Any mine conservation inspector shall have the right to enter upon and inspect all surface mining operations for the purpose of determining conditions of health or ...