Preparing an Environmental Impact Statement for a Lands Unsuitable Petition in Tennessee.

Project Details

United States Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement

2014 - 2016

Tennessee


RESPEC teamed with Louis Berger Group, Inc. and was awarded a contract with the US Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a Lands Unsuitable Petition in Tennessee.

The North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area and Emory River Conservation Easement (NCWMA/ERCE) is located in northeastern Tennessee, adjacent to the Kentucky border. The NCWMA/ERCE constitutes approximately 172,000 acres that have unique geological, environmental, and outdoor recreational potential. This area also has abundant coal resources. To address these potentially competing uses, the state of Tennessee petitioned the OSMRE, which administers the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA), to declare these areas as unsuitable for mining.

RESPEC evaluated the coal resources for the entire NCWMA/ERCE area based on a geologic model built from drillhole and coal cropline information. These coal resources were then analyzed, categorized, and quantified for all of the petition and nonpetition areas delineated in the six alternatives outlined in the Lands Unsuitable Petition. Mineable coal reserves were then evaluated by using economic considerations and methods of mining. An analysis of the supply and demand for coal in the NCWMA/ERCE was undertaken on a national, regional, and statewide basis.