Coal mining has been the biggest source of CO2 emissions in the United States for decades, and coal ash has been blamed for a number of devastating and costly disasters including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the massive 2010 Deepwater Mine disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
But in recent years, a growing number of states have begun cracking down on coal mining in a move that is likely to have an impact on the coal industry in America’s other coal-producing states.
The latest report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that in 2017, coal mining accounted for nearly three-quarters of US greenhouse gas emissions.
But a significant proportion of that CO2 has come from coal burning.
And the report found that, in many states, the number of coal mines has doubled over the past few years.
“It’s hard to imagine a better time to end coal mining, but the coal ash industry is facing a new set of challenges,” said Jessica Rich, an EIA senior research associate.
“States that have started to crack down on mining coal ash have seen an increase in the number and severity of coal ash explosions and coal mine closures.”
US states with the most coal mining restrictions in 2017 Coal mining is regulated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
The Environmental Protection Act of 1969, which was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in the early 1950s, stipulates that coal mining must be “consistent with the public health and welfare”, according to the EIA.
“To meet the Clean Air Act requirements, the mining industry must meet emission standards and minimize air pollution,” according to a press release from the EMA.
But the rules that regulate coal mining vary significantly between states, and the EDA report notes that some states may have more stringent requirements, and therefore more opportunities for accidents to occur.
“As states work to ensure safety, it is important to understand the types of coal mining operations that are required to meet emissions standards,” the press release reads.
“Some states may require mining operations to have a minimum of 50 percent ash and coal mining sites that must have at least 10 percent ash or coal.”
However, the EAA report found no data on how many coal mining accidents have been reported in each state.
“If a mine is not complying with its emission standards, or if it is not operating in accordance with regulations, it could cause an explosion,” Rich said.
“There are several types of accidents that can occur with the burning of coal.
There is a lot of research to understand how much coal mining is contributing to the pollution of the air.”
A coal mine explosion at a coal mine in Wyoming, in 2015.
Photo: US Environmental Service/Flickr A number of studies have been conducted in recent months, including a report released by the University of Wyoming and the University