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Coal and the Environment

S. F. Greb, C. F. Eble, D. C. Peters, A. R. Papp

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Coal is the world’s most abundant fossil (hydrocarbon) fuel, occurring in 37 of the 50 U.S. states. Today, 90 percent of the 1.1 billion short tons of coal produced in the United States each year are used for electricity generation; contributing 51 percent of U.S. electrical energy needs. Coal resources are also essential in the production of steel and other heavy industrial processes, such as the production of cement.

The United States has more coal reserves than any other country, about 30 percent of the world’s total known coal reserves. U.S. reserve estimates exceed 500 billion tons of which 275 billion tons are economically recoverable using existing technologies. The demand for coal resources is growing, and U.S. coal consumption is expected to increase from 1.1 billion tons per year in 2000 to 1.5 billion tons in 2020.

Coal and the Environment explains the uses and importance of coal, the environmental concerns associated with its mining and use, and how technological advances are making coal an environmentally cleaner fuel. Because coal is such an abundant, low-cost source of needed energy, developing even more environmentally sound ways to use coal in the future is very important. Includes a full-color poster with information about the mining cycle, from exploration through land reclamation.

A low-resolution PDF version of this publication is available on our web site.

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ISBN 0-922152-77-2. paperback, 8.50"x11.00" 64 pp. item #635601

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