Consol to lay off 200 miners in Greene County

Cecil-based energy company blamed a loss of production at its Bailey site on a recent state ruling that restricted mining under a stream.

Consol Energy Corp. announced Tuesday it will lay off 200 workers at its Bailey coal mine in Greene County.

The Cecil-based energy company said it was forced to reduce the size of its workforce after a recent state ruling restricted its underground mining operations beneath Kent Run, a stream that flows through Ryerson Station State Park in the western part of the county.

In January, the Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board ordered Consol to keep a 100-foot buffer between its mining operations and the stream.

“Due to the EHB decision restricting our ability to mine ... this unfortunate action is necessary,” said Chuck Shaynak, senior vice president of operations for CNX Coal Resources, in a written statement. CNX Coal is a master limited partnership that Consol formed to manage its coal mines.

Mr. Shaynak called the board’s decision “patently wrong,” and said, “We have and continue to operate safely and compliantly within existing Pennsylvania and federal law, and are hopeful that our appeal of the decision will prevent further and more permanent impacts to the workforce.”

The company had argued before the hearing board that the 100-foot stream buffer would cause it to leave 360,000 tons of coal in the ground and result in the loss of $15.3 million in coal revenue. Two longwall machines and seven continuous mining machines are used at the mine, according to the company.

The Bailey mine is the state’s largest, with an annual production capacity of 11.5 million tons, according to the company.

According to the state Department of Environmental Protection, the mine employed 668 people as of 2015.

Company officials announced last week that Bailey and the company’s other coal assets are up for sale this year, as Consol focuses on becoming a natural gas drilling company.

Daniel Moore:, 412-263-2743 and Twitter @PGdanielmoore.

First Published February 7, 2017 5:52 PM

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