OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS

The issue of aesthetics has already been introduced. In many ways, it can be the most challenging obstacle to popular acceptance of mining in an area, because, to many, anything less than complete restoration of the land is unacceptable. However, mine operators have learned to minimize the aesthetic impact of mining by avoiding extremely visible sites, by using screens (e. g., trees left in place as a visual barrier or revegetated topsoil stockpiles placed in locations where they hide the mine pit from view), by minimizing the duration of impact, and by ensuring that regrading and revegetation proceeds as quickly as possible.

Finally, the issue of ultimate land use of the reclaimed land must be considered. Nowadays, this is actually addressed as part of the permitting process. Some mine operators have successfully created planned industrial sites, some have created highly productive farmland, but much of the mined land is reclaimed for wildlife use. Costs for seed and plantings are relatively low, and plans are often coordinated with local conservation groups to reclaim the land in an appropriate manner for wildlife use. To be effective in this regard, these reclaimed lands must be physically connected to other areas where such wildlife currently exists; isolated fragments of habitat will not serve the desired purpose of restoring wildlife use disrupted by mining activity and road construction. With regula­tory approval, ponds can be left in locations where they will serve migratory bird populations or provide watering areas for permanent wildlife populations.

SEE ALSO THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES

Coal, Chemical and Physical Properties • Coal Industry, Energy Policy in • Coal Mining, Design and Methods of • Coal Mining in Appalachia, History of • Coal Preparation • Coal Storage and Transportation • Nuclear Power Plants, Decommis­sioning of • Uranium Mining: Environmental Impact

Further Reading

Berger, J. J. (1990). ‘‘Environmental Restoration.’’ Island Press, Washington, D. C.

Brady, K. B. C., Smith, M. W., and Schueck, J. (eds.). (1998). ‘‘Coal Mine Drainage Prediction and Pollution Prevention in Pennsylvania.’’ Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protec­tion, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Brown, M., Barley, B., and Wood, H. (2002). ‘‘Minewater Treatment.’’ IWA Publ., London, England.

Kleinmann, R. L. P. (ed.). (2000). ‘‘Prediction of Water Quality at Surface Coal Mines National Mine Land Reclamation Center.’’ West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV.

Marcus, J. J. (ed.). (1997). ‘‘Mining Environmental Handbook.’’ Imperial College Press, London, England.

PIRAMID Consortium. (2003). Engineering Guidelines for the Passive Remediation of Acidic and/or Metalliferous Mine Drainage and Similar Wastewaters, 151 pp., accessible at http://www. piramid. info.

Skousen, J., Rose, A., Geidel, G., Foreman, J., Evans, R., and Hellier, W. (1998). ‘‘Handbook of Technologies for Avoidance and Remediation of Acid Mine Drainage.’’ National Mine Land

Reclamation Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.

Watzlaf, G. W., Schroeder, K. T., Kleinmann, R. L. P., Kairies, C. L., and Nairn, R. W. (2003). ‘‘The Passive Treatment of Coal

Mine Drainage.’’ U. S. Department of Energy (CD available on request), Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Younger, P. L., Banwart, S. S., and Hedin, R. S. (2002). ‘‘Mine Water.’’ Kluwer Academic Publ., London, England.

Updated: December 20, 2015 — 12:28 am