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Centralia, Pennsylvania

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Lisa Wolfe
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« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2010, 01:27:58 pm »

Mineral rights

Several current and former Centralia residents believe the state's eminent domain claim was a plot to gain the mineral rights to the anthracite coal beneath the borough.[11] Residents estimate its value to be in the billions of dollars, although the exact amount of coal is not known.[12] In a nearby municipality, the government was successful in extinguishing a similar mine fire using methods like those proposed for and used in Centralia.[13][not in citation given]

The opinion of these former and current residents, concerning the Commonwealth's desire to obtain mineral rights to the coal, stems from the municipality laws of the state. According to state law, when the municipality can no longer form a functioning municipal government, i.e. when there are no longer any residents, the borough legally ceases to exist. Thus, the mineral rights, and all other rights, possessed by the Borough of Centralia (since the mineral rights are owned by the borough and not a private company) would revert to the ownership of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania until the legal status of the land (ceding it to an adjacent municipality) occurs. Residents theorize the state legislature would keep the land in political limbo, so they can extinguish the blaze and mine the anthracite.

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