A double byline today with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review…
HARRISBURG — The state Department of Environmental Protection would need to approve excavation in geologically sensitive areas, under legislation recommended Monday by a legislative panel in response to the September 2006 Kilbuck landslide.
A developer was working on the site of the former Dixmont State Hospital when the slide dumped 500,000 cubic yards of debris onto Route 65, snarling traffic for two weeks and disrupting interstate train travel on adjacent tracks for days. Wal-Mart, which planned a superstore at the site, has abandoned plans to develop the property and is working to stabilize the site.
The landslide apparently occurred because of slide-prone geological conditions and blasting the day before, according to a report issued by the panel.
The task force chaired by Democratic Rep. Tom Petrone of Crafton issued a 130-page report recommending legislation to prevent similar incidents. Petrone said he would file the legislation this month and predicted the odds for its passage are “excellent.”