Coal Mining
Underground mines generally affect the landscape less than surface mines. But, mine tunnels can collapse and lead to acidic water draining from abandoned underground mines into soil and groundwater. Methane gas in coal deposits can explode if it concentrates in underground mines. This coalbed methane must be vented out of mines to make mines safer places to work. According to the Energy Information Administration, "in 2017, methane emissions from coal mining and abandoned coal mines accounted for about 9% of total US methane emissions, and nearly 1% of total US greenhouse gas emissions (based on global warming potential)." Several emissions result from coal combustion, including sulfur dioxide, particulates, carbon dioxide, ashes, and mercury and other heavy metals. These photos illustrate the buildout and of coal mining facilities, infrastructure and activities - and the environmental degradation that comes with it - in various locations around the US.
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