For the US Electrical Grid to be secure, resilient and reliable, many sources of energy must be and are included, such as natural gas, oil, hydroelectric, nuclear, coal, wind, and solar. Each of these sources play a role in base load and/or peak operations to supply energy to the grid. While natural gas power plants have increased due to a number of factors, including cost and environmental concerns, other sources of energy will continue to be required for reliability and resiliency. Multiple sources are required, in part, due to disruptions caused by extreme weather events. Since coal is one of the few energy sources that can be stockpiled on site, it serves a grid reliability and resiliency function. Therefore, coal mining will continue and the reclamation of the minded lands; including the soils, water and ecosystem, will be issues that are addressed by the mining sector and regulatory agencies. This session will present the issues and foster discussions on effective planning and implementation of reclamation and water management practices, which will inform the development of energy resources and restoration of disturbed lands to support a variety of post-mining economic and environmental needs. Sustainable, post-mining land uses include 1) agriculture including prime farmland with crops, hay land and pasture, and biofuel crops; 2) forestry; 3) wildlife habitat; and 4) developed land uses. Associated water uses include 1) freshwater fisheries, 2) aquaculture and agriculture, 3) domestic and industrial supplies, 4) geothermal, and 5) mineral or metal resource recovery.
Gwendelyn Geidel, PhD, JD, School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment, University of South Carolina, Research Professor
Jeff Skousen, PhD, West Virginia University, Professor of Soil Science and Reclamation Specialist
Charles A. Cravotta, III, PhD, United States Geolgical Survey, Research Hydrologist/Geochemist