The Anthracite Region Independent Power Producers are now accepting applications for the 2016 Abandoned Mine Reclamation Grant Program. Proposals are due July 8.
Grants at a maximum of $2,500 will be awarded to at least one eligible environmental organization or Conservation District in the Anthracite Region and one eligible environmental organization or Conservation District in the Bituminous Region actively working on AML/AMD issues.
Grant proposals should be for on-the-ground AML/AMD construction projects with a completion date between August 2015 and August 2017. The amount granted is dependent upon demonstrated need.
Applying organizations must support the mission of ARIPPA, including the removal and conversion of waste coal into alternative energy and the beneficial use of CFB ash for AML/AMD reclamation.
Applications, instructions and sample support letter for proposals are available on the Western Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation website.
Due in part to ARIPPA member activities, unsightly coal refuse piles and the problems associated with them are gradually disappearing. Thousands of acres of land have been and continue to be reclaimed to a natural state or for productive use and future development.
ARIPPA facilities remove and utilize coal refuse from both past and current mining activities, thereby abating acid mine drainage from coal refuse piles. ARIPPA reports that 145 million tons of coal refuse has been processed and converted into alternative energy by their member plants from 1998 to 2008.
Further, the technology used to convert coal refuse to electricity, known as Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) technology, produces alkaline-rich ash by-products. There are many beneficial uses for CFB ash including; filling mine pits, as a replacement for lime (for acid mine drainage remediation), for acid mine drainage remediation, as a soil amendment at mining sites, and/or as a concrete additive for roadways.
The unique nature of ARIPPA's work combined with the desire to coordinate efforts with environmentally oriented groups and governmental agencies symbolize a commitment to improving the landscape and environment of our nation.
If waste coal fired plants are forced to close due to unreasonable regulations, streams will continue to be contaminated, public safety will continue to be at risk due to the dangers the piles pose, piles will continue to self-ignite and spew the same pollutants into the air that the regulations are trying to curtail, and communities will continue to be shadowed by the unsightly black mountains.
All of this would be a taxpayer burden.
Federal SENSE Act
This week, the U.S. House of Representative passed H.R. 3797, the Satisfying Energy Needs and Saving the Environment (SENSE) Act.
The bill aims to establish the bases by which the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency shall issue, implement, and enforce certain emission limitations and allocations for existing electric utility steam generating units that convert coal refuse into energy.
More specifically, SENSE seeks to establish alternative compliance standards for coal refuse facilities based upon the removal and control of SO2 relative to the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards Rule (MATS).
The SENSE Act also seeks to provide coal refuse-fired power plants with the same S02 allocations in Phase II as in Phase I of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) while ensuring that CSAPR does not increase the overall state-level CSAPR SO2 budget.
WPCAMR supports the equitable regulations proposed in the SENSE Act that will help the waste coal industry stay in business and continue to help our communities recover from our unregulated coal mining history and prosper into the future.
You can learn more about the SENSE Act by Clicking Here. Letters from the public can be sent to your Congressman and/or Congressman Rothfus, the sponsor of the SENSE Act.(Written By: Anne Daymut, Watershed Coordinator, WPCAMR, and reprinted from Abandoned Mine Posts. Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)