Friday, April 19, 2013

Coal-funded researchers suggest that strip mines need to reduce dust emissions

After a two years and $15 million mainly from the coal industry, researchers presented the results of their studies this week, some saying that coal operators need to make a more concerted effort to reduce dust emissions from blasting and heavy equipment at mountaintop removal mines. Ken Ward reports for The Charleston Gazette that researchers found "more thorough mine planning and careful mining practices could reduce dust emissions and help companies control drainage, improve reclamation, and eventually curb water pollution."

The research was conducted through The Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Science at Virginia Tech, and "featured a long list of papers that tried to dissect and criticize new federal water quality guidance that mining operators have successfully challenged in court," Ward writes. "An entire session consisted of six papers that tried to pick apart a series of West Virginia University studies that said coalfield residents living near mountaintop removal face increased risks of serious illnesses and premature death."

Ward writes that "a variety of other studies released this week affirmed that mountaintop removal is damaging the environment, and some looked into new and possibly safer ways to handle coal slurry disposal, more efficiently avoid toxic selenium pollution and improve stability of valley fills and mining impoundments." (Read more) Ward's report in advance of the conference is here.

No comments: