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Hazardous Mine Lands – Comparisons Between States

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Mo & Neighb UnitsMy last post focused on the inventory of abandoned mine lands in Missouri (Hazardous Abandoned Mine Lands). I reviewed data regarding the counties in which they were located, and information regarding the number of units, acreage, and cost of reclamation. In this post I will provide context and some additional data.

The inventory prioritizes the lands according to how imminent a threat they represent to people, land, water, and structures. The previous post counted all abandoned mine lands. Those ranked Priority 1 or 2 are the ones that pose a threat to public health and safety, however. They are of most concern. Missouri has 124,619 Priority 1 & 2 units, reclamation of 36,607 of which has not been completed. This means that over 70% of them have been reclaimed.

I thought it might provide context to compare Missouri to Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, and Kansas (the adjoining states that share the longest boundaries with Missouri). In the first graph at right, I compare total units and units for which reclamation has not yet been completed. Kansas has by far the fewest, and Iowa has the most. In the second graph, I compare reclamation costs: Kansas still has the lowest costs, but Illinois has by far the most.

MO & Neighb CostsThere are states, however, that have far more abandoned mine lands than Missouri or its neighbors, Kentucky and West Virginia, for instance. West Virginia has 5,143,797 units for which reclamation has not been completed. That is 133 times as many as Missouri. In terms of costs West Virginia’s uncompleted costs are $1,216,037,919. That is 62 times the uncompleted costs for Missouri.

Remember, these statistics are for only the highest two priority classifications.

Management of abandoned mine lands focuses on containing the hazard within the site until it can be reclaimed, preventing it from affecting people, land, water, and structures outside the site itself. The third graph at right is taken from the 2011 Evaluation Report for the State of Missouri, issued by the Alton Field Division of the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation. It shows that between 2000 and 2011 offsite impacts in Missouri declined from 19 per year to 1. The report further explains that the single offsite impact in 2008-2011 represented the same unit, and it was repaired during the 2011 enforcement year.

Source: Annual Evaluation Report for the Regulatory and Abandoned Mine Land Programs Administered by the State of Missouri for Evaluation Year 2011. Alton Field Division of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

Source: Annual Evaluation Report for the Regulatory and Abandoned Mine Land Programs Administered by the State of Missouri for Evaluation Year 2011. Alton Field Division of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

Sources:

Annual Evaluation Report for the Regulatory and Abandoned Mine Land Programs Administered by the State of Missouri for Evaluation Year 2011, July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Alton Field Division, http://www.osmre.gov/topic/Oversight/SCM/SCM.shtm.

2008 and 2009 Biennial Report, Missouri Department of Natural Resources Land Reclamation Program, http://www.dnr.mo.gov/env/lrp/index.html.

Abandoned mine land statistics are from the Abandoned Mine Land Inventory System (e-AMLIS) database. It is maintained by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement of the Department of the Interior, http://www.osmre.gov/aml/AML.shtm.

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