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Air Quality Mitigation Measures

Mitigation measures to avoid or reduce air quality impacts from coal mining.

The following are examples of mitigation measures that could be applied to reduce air quality impacts of a project depending upon site- and project-specific conditions. Impacts to air quality are related to project emissions (e.g., fugitive dust, air releases). Many impacts can be reduced or avoided when considered during the siting and design phase.

Develop a final set of mitigation measures for any project in consultation with the appropriate federal resource management agencies and stakeholders. Conduct these consultations early in the project development process and preferably prior to final project siting and design.

Siting and Design Mitigation Measures

Siting and design considerations that mitigate impacts include:

  • Surface access roads and on-site roads with aggregate materials, wherever appropriate.
  • Minimize disturbed areas.

General Mitigation Measures

General mitigation practices and principles that could apply to any or all phases of a coal mine project include:

  • Use dust abatement techniques on unpaved, unvegetated surfaces to minimize airborne dust and during earthmoving activities, prior to clearing, before excavating, backfilling, compacting, or grading, and during blasting.
  • Post and enforce speed limits to reduce airborne fugitive dust from vehicular traffic.
  • Revegetate disturbed areas as soon as possible after disturbance. (This should include interim revegetation along road beds once heavy construction is completed and heavy mining equipment has been moved in.)
  • Keep soil and coal refuse moist while loading into dump trucks.
  • Keep soil and coal refuse loads below the freeboard of the truck.
  • Minimize drop heights when loaders dump soil and coal refuse into trucks.
  • Tighten gate seals on dump trucks.
  • Cover dump trucks before traveling on public roads.
  • Cover construction materials, stockpiled soils, and stockpiled coal refuse if they are a source of fugitive dust.
  • Train workers to handle construction materials and debris to reduce fugitive emissions.
  • Employ water injection or rotoclones on all overburden drills.
  • Use chutes, drapes, or other means to enclose conveyor transfer points, screens, and crushers; cover all conveyors.
  • Install and use sprays of water for coal-handling and conveying equipment.
  • Suppress and extinguish spoil and coal fires as soon as is reasonable and safely possible.