The Dirty Secrets of Coal Cleaning

The Environmental Integrity Project reviewed state pollution documents for four Pennsylvania coal prep plants that together account for more than 95% of the coal preparation capacity in the Commonwealth: Consol’s Bailey Coal Preparation Plant; Alpha Natural Resources’ Cumberland Coal Preparation Plant, Alpha Natural Resources’ Emerald Mine No. 1 and Coal Preparation Plant, and Rosebud’s Dutch Run Coal Preparation Plant. Coal preparation plants release large quantities of particulate matter, volatile organic chemicals, greenhouse gases, and other pollutants into the air every day, and the water pollution problems from these facilities received national attention earlier this year when a spill of toxic coal cleaning chemical 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (“MCHM”) spilled into the Elk River in West Virginia, shutting off the drinking water supply for over 300,000 people. Our review has revealed numerous and significant deficiencies that likely result in the release of more air and water pollution than the law allows.