1. Noise & Air pollution2. Water contamination3. Displacement of wildlife4. Soil Degradation5. Subsidence6. Underground Mine Fires
Noise pollution from blasting & machinery. ◦ Blasting can cause physical damage to houses Air pollution from dust produced by mining ◦ Dust may contain harmful materials such as mercury & asbestos Black lung disease on the far right.
Water seeps thru piles of excess mining rock & picks up toxic materials Toxins seep into body of water & kill wildlife Ex: Coal contains sulfur, sulfur reacts with rainwater & makes sulfuric acid, sulfuric Acid Mine Drainage in Ohio acid leaches into body of water and causes Acid Mine Drainage Acid Mine (AMD) Drainage in Pennsylvania
Removing vegetation affects animals in area. Animals die or move out. Dredging in water destroys aquatic ecosystems ◦ Sediment in water blocks sunlight affecting algae & These fish died due to clogging gills of fish & aluminum mining- aluminum shellfish. makes their gills produce too much mucus and they suffocate b/c gills don’t work properly.
Soil must be removed in layers and kept separate. Must return soil to original layers so that most fertile is on top of repaired mining land. If lower layers containing sulfur are placed on top of repaired land, acid will form and plants won’t grow.
Subsidence- sinking of the ground due to lack of support below ground. Can result when mining pillars, roofs or floors collapse. Houses, roads, buildi ngs can be damaged/destroyed
Coal mines are prone to catch on fire underground Will burn for decades and cannot be put out. Centralia, PA ◦ Miners started burning trash near coal seam ◦ Coal seam caught fire ◦ Enough coal to burn for 100-1,000 years ◦ Inspiration for the fictional movie “Silent Hill”
Federal Regulations ◦ Clean Water Act & Safe Drinking Water Act protect water from mining activities ◦ Comprehensive Response Compensation & Liability Act protect soil, air & water from hazardous substance release from mines ◦ Endangered Species Act must also be observed.
State Regulations ◦ Mining companies must get permit. ◦ Must submit plan for mine design and reclamation before they start mining ◦ May be forced to participate in bond forfeiture program Must deposit funds into this program. If mine is not reclaimed properly, the funds are used by the state for the reclamation process
Process of returning mined land back to its original condition Surface Mining Control & Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) ◦ Sets standards for surface clean up of mines ◦ Establishes funds for clean up of old coal mines & the environments they’ve destroyed. ◦ Must replace soil, reseed, replant, & irrigate.
Reduce energy consumption! ◦ Turn off lights, computers, etc. ◦ Decrease your dependence on coal! Reduce, Reuse, Recyc le! ◦ If we recycled every aluminum can on the planet we would never need to mine for aluminum again! ◦ Recycling conserves water & energy