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Tribal Energy and Environmental Information Clearinghouse: Environmental resources for tribal energy development
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Land Use Mitigation Measures

Mitigation measures to avoid or reduce impacts to land use from coal mining.

The following are examples of mitigation measures that could be applied to reduce land use impacts of a project depending upon site- and project-specific conditions. Land use impacts are related to the project footprint (e.g., land disturbance, habitat destruction, erosion, changes in runoff patterns, and hydrological alterations), project emissions (e.g., fugitive dust, sediment runoff, air releases, water releases), noise levels, and resource use (e.g., water extraction). 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:

  • Contact local stakeholders early in the process to identify sensitive land uses, issues, and local plans and ordinances.
  • Minimize the amount of land disturbance and develop and implement stringent erosion and dust control practices.
  • Consolidate infrastructure requirements (e.g., roads) for efficient use of land.
  • Evaluate current transportation systems and access routes.
  • Establish a reclamation plan to ensure that all impact areas are restored.

General Mitigation Measures

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

  • Implement a reclamation plan.
  • Compensate farmers and ranchers for crop or forage losses.
  • Compensate property owners for relocation of their homes, in the event the relocation is unavoidable.
  • Restore lost agricultural lands at the end of the project.
  • Restore culturally valuable native plants on tribal lands.
  • Handle earth materials and runoff in a manner that minimizes the formation of acid mine drainage, prevents adding suspended solids to stream flow, and otherwise prevents water pollution. Construct sedimentation structures near the disturbed area to impound surface water runoff and sediment. Maintain as necessary, including discharge of water meeting applicable water quality standards, so as to not exceed designed storage capacity.
  • If underground mining occurs beneath developed areas on the surface, measures may be needed in the project design to reduce or avoid unacceptable surface impacts caused by subsidence.