Mining Industry Says 'Clean Coal' Is Top Priority. (EHS News)

Article excerpt

Hoping to capitalize on growing interest in Washington for a new national energy policy, the leaders of the National Mining Association (NMA) will make increased Congressional support for clean coal technology their top legislative priority this year.

"Our goal and strategy is to pursue a 'zero-emissions' facility policy." said Jack Gerard, president of the NMA, at a Jan. 13 press briefing in Washington, D.C. He pointed out that at a time when the availability and reliability of petroleum resources are in question, the U.S. has a 250-year supply of coal. "Coal should be the cornerstone of U.S. energy policy," Gerard asserted.

Development of a national mineral policy is a second priority identified by Gerard, who said there has been a seven-fold increase in the value of minerals imported into the U.S. since 1993.

On the regulatory front, Harold Quinn, NMA's general counsel, said the association is still reviewing the Mine Safety and Health Administration's (MSHA) regulatory agenda, which was released in December.

In that agenda, MSHA stated that while respirable coal dust levels have been cut significantly over the years, some miners continue to develop coal workers' pneumoconiosis. To address this issue, MSHA intends to reopen the record for rulemaking on the "Determination of Concentration of Respirable Coal Mine Dust" and re-propose "Verification of Underground Coal Mine Operators' Dust Control Plans. …