Stevens Oil & Gas Company Proposes Mining Operations in rural Pennsylvania Assignment Paper

You are an American journalist living in a rural section of Pennsylvania. You recently learned that a private company, Stevens Oil & Gas, is proposing a project for gas-fracking wells in an area of the state overlying the Utica Shale, a formation containing natural gas resources that sits 2,000 to 3,000 feet below the Marcellus Shale. You are aware that hydraulic fracking of the kind Stevens Oil & Gas proposes causes runoff of the water, sand, and chemicals used to extract energy from the rock that may contaminate water sources and violate the Clean Water Act, Solid Waste Management Act, and state regulations such as Pennsylvania’s Act 13 of 2012 and Chapter 78 and 78(a) regulations to enhance surface water protections, include anti-degradation requirements, and require that restored water supplies meet Pennsylvania’s Safe Drinking Water standards.

At the same time, you learned that Stevens Oil & Gas is also proposing a second project to mine surface coal in Appalachia. Because of the steep terrain in this region, Stevens Oil & Gas proposes to use mountaintop removal mining (MTR) to extract coal seams from the mountain by removing the overburden above the seams. You are aware that mountaintop removal mining of the kind Stevens Oil & Gas proposes results in valley fills that destroy headwater streams and surrounding forests, which in turn wreaks havoc on mountain streams and ecosystems. Stevens Oil & Gas Company Proposes Mining Operations in rural Pennsylvania Assignment Paper

You are moved by what you learn about both of these proposed projects in your state and want to write a newspaper article to tell Pennsylvanians and Americans what is happening to the pristine environment in rural Pennsylvania, and the implications to human health and safety resulting from such mining activities.

Using information from the websites below and other sources you find and analyze in your research, write a 500- to 1,000-word newspaper article alerting residents about the proposed projects as well as their right to notice and comment about these projects during the state’s environmental assessment and environmental impact statement process for the planning and implementation of Stevens’ proposed projects in compliance with NEPA and state regulations. Be sure to offer alternative renewable energy alternatives for public consideration.
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. (n.d.). Marcellus Shale.

McQuaid, J. (2009, July 20). Mountaintop mining legacy: Destroying Appalachia’s streams. Yale Environment 360.

Vinson & Elkins LLP. (n.d.). Pennsylvania: Shale & fracking tracker.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. (2019, September 27). Surface coal mining in Appalachia.
Your newspaper article should include:

Discussion of the environmental implications of the proposed mining activities
Discussion of the implication of the mining activities for human health and safety
Analysis of the various governmental agency policies, including the public’s right to notice and comment and an environmental impact statement, on the environment
An attention-grabbing headline and an appropriate date

Stevens Oil & Gas Company Proposes Mining Operations in rural Pennsylvania

Stevens Oil & Gas Company’s proposed two mining operations in Pennsylvania that present significant threats to environment. The once serene and breathtaking rural Pennsylvania environments will be decimated if the company’s mining proposals are adopted as they are.


The company has proposed two mining operations. Firstly, gas-fracking operations in the Utica Shale area. The natural gas deposits have been located between 2,000 and 3,000 feet below the Marcellus Shale. To extract the gas deposits the company proposes to apply the hydraulic fracking approach, a method that would cause significant waste (water, sand and chemicals from the fracking operations) runoff thereby contaminating water sources in the vicinity while violating the environmental management and protection legislation (Vinson & Elkin LLP, n.d.). Secondly, the company has proposed a surface coal mining operation in Appalachia. The area has a steep terrain, and as such, the company intends to use the mountaintop removal mining approach to remove the materials above the seams, thus making them more accessible (United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2019). While this mining approach makes sense for the company, it spells disaster for the mountain environment and ecosystems as it involves significant destruction to the existing landscape. In addition, the mining activities threaten the communities who call the mining areas home as they would be required to relocate and loose much of their heritage (McQuaid, 2009).

The proposed mining operations pose an actual threat to the environment and community with evidence showing significant negative effects when used in other locations. Case in point, Laurel Branch Hollow has experienced environmental damage following mining operations that use the mountaintop removal mining approach. From a small mountain valley with steep, forested hillsides and a seasonal stream that teamed with flora and fauna, the location has become desolate after a decade of mining operations. Families that once called the area home are being forced to move away as they experience the change in their community from a serene environment to a polluted environment. Other than the affected families, the flora and fauna that thrived in the area have been decimated with whole food chains changed. These effects are not just for the duration of the mining, but are expected to be near permanent as significant resources are required to recover the environment to its pre-mining state. These are immeasurable loses that cannot be ignored (McQuaid, 2009).

As the government agency that is responsible for regulating the safe exploration, development and recovery of mineral resources within the Pennsylvania state boundaries, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has the primary responsibility of leading efforts in ensuring that the mining activities proposed by Stevens Oil & Gas Company are not allowed to proceed. In this case, the DEP can apply its mandate to issue and review mining permits, inspect mining operations and respond to complaints to highlight the shortcomings of the proposed mining operations, particularly their effects on the environment as well as communities. Through its permitting and enforcement responsibilities, the DEP can instruct and advise the company on best procedures and practices for waste management and environmental control that would allow for mining operations to proceed while minimizing the negative impacts on the environment and community. Besides that, the DEP can help prevent harmful mining accidents through compliance assistance that includes educating the miners in advance of actual mining activities (Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, n.d.).

Still, it is important to note that it is not enough for environmental protection agencies, such as DEP, to act. To be more precise, the environmental protection agencies are restricted by regulations and policies that involve interests being traded following pressure from aggressive lobbying. Mining operations are whole industries that prop up economies. They employ a large number of people, provide raw materials for local industries and export, and contribute to government earnings. For these values to be realized, the cost of mining operations must be minimized. Towards this end, mining operations are allowed to proceed with operations based on a tradeoff between being profitable and protecting the environment (Lave, Biermann & Lane, 2018). Given that environmental protection agencies can be restricted by regulations and policies, then it is incumbent among communities to engage in advocacy efforts that bring attention to the harms that mining cause. Through pressure from the affected communities, it is possible for the mining regulations and policies to be modified so that they do not solely focus on maximizing profits, and can be more engaged in protecting the environment (Lave, Biermann & Lane, 2018).

Pennsylvania state has natural resources that can be mined to improve the local economies. But this should not be traded for harm to the environment. Rather, attention should shift towards applying environmentally friendly mining approaches that protect the environment where possible and invests in environmental recovery. In the case of hydraulic fracking, cleaner technologies should be applied such as using water-less fracking systems, replacing fresh water with brine or recycled water, replacing diesel powered equipment with natural gas and solar powered engines, introducing waste water purification systems, and reducing methane leakages. In the case of mountaintop removal mining, perhaps destroying the landscape to mine coal may not be the right way to go as both the mining and coal use are harmful (Mulvaney, 2020). Pennsylvania must not compromise on environmental protection even as it pursues mining profits.


Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. (n.d.). Marcellus Shale.

Vinson & Elkins LLP. (n.d.). Pennsylvania: Shale & fracking tracker.

Lave, R., Biermann, C., & Lane, S. N. (Eds.) (2018). The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Physical Geography. Palgrave Macmillan.

Mulvaney, D. (2020). Sustainable Energy Transitions: Socio-Ecological Dimensions of Decarbonization. Springer.

McQuaid, J. (2009, July 20). Mountaintop mining legacy: Destroying Appalachia’s streams. Yale Environment 360.

United States Environmental Protection Agency (2019, September 27). Surface coal mining in Appalachia.

Stevens Oil & Gas Company Proposes Mining Operations in rural Pennsylvania Assignment Paper

Work With US!

Order your high-quality Nursing Paper that Meet University Standards and get it delivered before your deadlines. 

+1 631-259-7728
WhatsApp chat +1 631-259-7728