Traditional engineering design of coal mining operations does not consider the environmental and social aspects of sustainable development. Previous work has shown that optimum coal mining designs incorporating sustainability can be developed using a systems engineering approach, geographic information systems, and optimized models of desired outcomes. The regulatory environment in the United States, however, does not allow for such a reasoned approach, due to statutes and regulations that focus on a singular environmental media, overly-constrained outcomes, and conflicting approaches. Though the legal framework allows for the consideration of public input, it is simply not designed to encourage a public ecology approach to mine design, which would ensure that the proper outcomes of a mining operation could be optimized to meet economic, environmental and social needs. Recommendations will be offered for a redesign of the regulatory structure and for policies which would allow the adoption of the more innovative and holistic approaches previously suggested.
|Keywords:||Coal Mining, Sustainable Development, Coal Mine Design, Optimized Mine Design, Regulatory Barriers, Sustainability|
ARIES Project Director, Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA
Assistant Professor, Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA
Stonie Barker Professor of Mining Engineering and Director, Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA