Here are a few many issues, impacts and things to consider that are related with coal mining.
In the West, coal seams are often below the grade of the surrounding land, and sometimes even the underlying aquifers. To keep mines from flooding, they must be “dewatered” which results in a lowering of the surrounding water table. Learn more.
Because many coal seams lie near or below the water table, there are several ways that mining can result in groundwater pollution. Learn more
Burning coal is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide being released into the air. This greenhouse gas is considered a major driver of anthropomorphic climate change. Learn more
Coal Bed Methane
Coal fields often contain large amounts of methane. While this can cause explosions as in the Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster, these reserves of methane can be tapped for energy (though this is usually done instead of mining the coal). Learn more
Coal Combustion Waste
When coal is burned, the residue left behind has highly concentrated levels of heavy metals that need to be disposed of properly.Learn more
All mining operations need places to store the byproducts of mining. The ways that these tailings are handled is important. Learn more
Underground Coal Gasification (UGC)
UGC is a new technology that has the potential to tap coal reserves that are deep underground and previously were economically unfeasible. Learn more
Energy Independence and Coal Supply
Coal has been touted as one of the ways that the United States can gain energy independence because it holds such large reserves. The size of those reserves varies vastly depending on which estimates one uses.Learn more
Health effects of coal mining and combustion
Coal mining and coal combustion are dirty businesses. While both mining and combustion are far cleaner than they were 50 or 100 years ago, there are still serious impacts from both processes on workers in the industry and the country as a whole. Learn More
Economic impacts on the local community
Coal mining certainly has a large impact on the regions where it takes place. However not all of those impacts are positive. Learn more
Eminent domain and mining regulations
In the West, mining rights are separate from the property rights that control the surface, so if somebody finds coal on your property, your rights are very limited.Learn more
What happens to a mine after it ceases production? Learn more.