HARRISBURG, (PRNewswire) - The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection today unveiled its updated "Stay Out/Stay Alive" Web page to increase awareness about the dangers of trespassing on abandoned and active mines and quarries in Pennsylvania.
"More people are killed each year while trespassing in mines than from accidents at all active mining operations in Pennsylvania," DEP Secretary Kathleen A. McGinty said. "The best way to prevent future tragedies is to help people understand that these mines and quarries are not playgrounds. Take the message to heart: Stay out and stay alive."
DEP has partnered with the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, other state agencies and the active mining industry to promote the "Stay Out/Stay Alive" campaign -- a national effort designed to inform the public, particularly young people, about the dangers of abandoned and active mines.
The updated Web page contains a picture slideshow, posters and educational materials, as well as streaming video of McGinty's "Stay Out/Stay Alive" public service announcement, which currently is airing on television stations statewide.
The site also includes links to "Stay Out/Stay Alive" sites operated by MSHA, other mining states and mining-related organizations. The updated Web site can be accessed through DEP's homepage at http://www.depweb.state.pa.us, Keyword: "Stay Out Stay Alive."
Twenty-seven people have died trespassing in abandoned mines and quarries in 18 different counties in the commonwealth since January 2000.
On June 9, McGinty announced a $306,281 contract to reclaim an abandoned strip mine pit on Spring Mountain in Packer Township, Carbon County, that was the site of a fatal swimming accident in 2003 -- one of three abandoned mine fatalities that year in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania has the largest abandoned mine lands problem in the country, with more than 180,000 acres of unmarked shafts, unstable cliffs and waste piles, water-filled pits and abandoned equipment left over from when mining was largely unregulated prior to 1977. Abandoned coalmines are found in 45 of the commonwealth's 67 counties.
Governor Edward G. Rendell's $625 million Growing Greener II initiative provides significant funding to address a vast array of environmental and public health problems at abandoned mine sites in Pennsylvania. The voter- approved program allocates $60 million to clean up rivers and streams affected by abandoned acid mine drainage and reclaim abandoned mine lands scarred by dangerous highwalls, mine openings and water-filled pits.
The Governor also has been a leader in the fight to ensure that the U.S. Congress reauthorizes the federal mine reclamation fund and that the state secures its fair share. The fund, which was set to expire, has been extended for 15 months.
For more information on Abandoned Mines, visit DEP's Web site at http://www.depweb.state.pa.us, Keyword: "Abandoned Mines."