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Coal Communications Kit - Mining Impacts
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Mining Impacts, Mountaintop and Surface Mining

Surface/Mountaintop mining removes the overburden (surface vegetation, soil, and rocks) to mine the coal seam underneath.  The recovery rate is up to 90 percent during the mining process, which is a much higher recovery rate than most forms of mining can promise (APECSEC, 2015).  These types of mining methods make up about 70 percent of U.S. coal.   The National Mining Association estimates the direct value of surface mining activity at more than $5 billion.  Billions more come from the purchase of mining equipment, costs for coal transportation, use of engineers and consultants, and tax payments to government (National Mining Association, 2009). For every coal mining job, an additional 3.5 jobs are created elsewhere in the economy (NMA, 2015). Coal mining supports more than 800,000 jobs, including over 80,000 coal miners on the job and earning a paycheck, so they can support themselves and their families (NMA, NMA Warns New Power Plant Rules Means Higher Utility Bills, 2013) (NMA, U.S. Coal Mine Employment by State, Region, and Method of Mining - 2013, 2015)

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Surface mining operations alone provide enough energy to power more than 25 million American homes (APECSEC, 2015). #NoBlackOuts #CoalEqualsReliability

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Production and usage are up, yet the world still hasn’t run out of #fossilfuels

Surface mining operations alone provide enough energy to power more than 25 million American homes (National Mining Association, 2009). Other pros for surface mining include having plentiful strategic reserves, high recovery rate, and storage capacity. It is also one of the safest industries in the country, operating under local, state, and federal laws including the 1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). In addition, after mining is finished, coal companies are required to place a bond that will cover all reclamation costs and ensure that the site will be restored (APECSEC, 2015). Listed on the following page are pictures of before and after reclamation:

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Conclusion

Surface/Mountaintop mining is cost effective, provides a high recovery rate, produces thousands of jobs directly and indirectly, adds tax payments to governments, and is the safest method of mining. Every energy mix will have pros and cons for each supply source. With laws and requirements in place to help prevent contamination, or failure to reclaim, surface mining of coal remains a cost effective method.  Overall, coal mining is helping to produce more jobs safely, while also boosting economic growth throughout the country. 

Mining Impacts, Mountaintop and Surface Mining Facebook Post

Surface/Mountaintop mining has good strategic reserves, good recovery rate, storage capacity, and is one of the safest industries in the country. For every coal mining job, an additional 3.5 jobs are created elsewhere in the economy (National Mining Association, 2009). Coal mining keeps about 800,000 people employed including an estimated 80,000 coal miners on the job and earning a paycheck, allowing them to support themselves and their families (NMA, 2015). Surface mining operations alone provide enough energy to power more than 25 million American homes (National Mining Association, 2010).

Mining Impacts, Mountaintop and Surface Mining Elevator Speech

Surface and mountaintop mining has been described as wasteful, environmentally harmful, and costly. But, in reality, recovery rates during surface mining are approximately 90 percent, which is a much higher recovery rate than most forms of mining can promise. In addition, after mining is finished, coal companies are required to place a bond that will cover all reclamation costs and ensure that the site will be restored (APECSEC, 2015). The National Mining Association estimates the direct value of surface mining activity at more than $5 billion.  Billions more come from the purchase of mining equipment, costs for coal transportation, use of engineers and consultants, as well as tax payments to government (National Mining Association, 2009). For every coal mining job, an additional 3.5 jobs are created elsewhere in the economy (NMA, 2015). Coal mining keeps about 800,000 people, including an estimated 125,000 coal miners, on the job and earning an average annual wage of approximately $85,000. These types of well-paying careers help industry workers to support families and communities (National Mining Association, 2010).

Coal is the lifeblood of our domestic energy supply. Surface mining methods make up about 70 percent of U.S. coal. Surface mining is an efficient, environmentally responsible, and economic means of providing safe and reliable power.

Mining Impacts, Mountaintop & Surface Mining: Objections & Responses

Objection: Removal of the overburden to extract the coal from the earth takes a toll on the environment.
Response: The SMCRA (Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977) requires mining companies to leave reclaimed mines in better shape than before they began mining. Before mining even begins, managers must decide how they will use mine lands and prepare detailed plans and environmental impacts assessments to justify that use. For example: airports, housing developments, golf courses, etc. are often built. In other areas, mines are returned to a natural state.   Today, coal companies are required to place a financial bond that will ensure mines will be restored, even if the company experiences financial difficulties, or does not properly reclaim a mine site.  These bonds are not released until after it has been fully reclaimed and monitored for as much as a decade, depending on the location of the mine.

Objection: Potential water contamination.
Response: The mine is required to ensure water quality is maintained via on-site monitoring. If water does become contaminated, the area is closely controlled (ponds are sealed) until the contaminants become a solid that can be safely removed.  Once the removal process is complete, prior contamination is undetectable.

Objection: The negative perception of Surface/Mountaintop mining with the local communities.
Response: According to www.facesofcoal.org, about 70 percent of U.S. coal is mined using various surface mining methods (Energy and Security Federation for American Coal).  The National Mining Association estimates the direct value of surface mining activity at more than $5 billion.  Billions more come from the purchase of mining equipment, costs for coal transportation, use of engineers and consultants, and tax payments to government (National Mining Association, 2009).  Jobs in the mining industry provide average annual salaries of over $85,000, meaning mines actually help raise average wages in their area. Not only does this type of mining provide jobs to the local community, it is safe, and less expensive than other methods of mining.



 

 

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