Get The Facts

Land Use

Coal operators are guided by the principle that coal extraction carries with it the responsibility of restoring the land. Surface mining today is as much a land reclamation process as it is a way of extracting coal. From initial planning through final reclamation, post mining land use to a higher and better use is a prime consideration.

Reclaimed coal mine lands benefit the American people in two ways. First, the coal mine has been a source of jobs and ancillary economic activity (each coal job generates an additional seven jobs) while providing affordable coal energy. Second, after mining, the land can become a more productive and attractive resource available for agriculture, forestry, recreation and other uses.

Air Quality

The use of coal to meet America’s electricity demand more than tripled between 1970 and 2009. But thanks to investments in clean coal technologies, emissions of criteria air pollutants (those defined by the Clean Air Act as having a negative impact on human health) declined by more than 67% during that same time period, according to the U.S. EPA, and, thanks to improved technology SOx and NOx emissions are expected to decrease an additional 50% between 2007 and 2020.

Because of our nation’s investment in developing and utilizing technology, U.S. air quality has improved dramatically and our electricity costs remain affordable. It will be a challenge to maintain the partnership between private and government resources to continue this remarkable progress in the future. By providing industry with sufficient lead time for investing in new technologies to meet science-based reduction standards, we will achieve further progress while continuing to enjoy the benefits of reliable and low-cost energy.

Clean Coal Technology

You may be surprised to learn that most of the nation’s coal-based power plants utilize some type of clean coal technology developed through the private-public Clean Coal Partnership. Emissions rates, such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx), particulate matter and mercury continue to decline while America’s air quality remains nearly the best in the world of all developed and developing nations. Arch advocates modifications to current U.S. federal laws and regulations that will encourage companies to invest in technology and maintenance to increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions per unit of fuel consumed. There is also the increasing commercial use of coal combustion byproducts to create or strengthen building materials, such as concrete and roof shingles.

Climate Change

Global warming, including the role and impact of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, is an issue of significant focus among domestic and international policymakers. On the policy side, Arch advocates an aggressive timeline for technology research and development that will reduce greenhouse gases from man-made sources, including the use of coal. On the operations side, Arch is continually evaluating how to reduce our own greenhouse gas emissions and increase the efficiency of our fuel use, while also assessing the most effective approaches for managing our business in a carbon-constrained economy.