Environmentally Beneficial Alternative Energy
Unfortunate Legacy

Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee Hearing on the Benefits of the Coal Refuse to Energy Industry (10-11-16)


George Ellis, ARIPPA
Michael Dziak, Earth Conservancy
Ethan Conner-Ross, Econsult Solutions
Robert Hughes, EPCAMR

Alternative Energy

Economic and Environmental Analysis of Pennsylvania's Coal Refuse Industry

Study completed by Econsult Solutions, Inc.

Environmentally Beneficial

ARIPPA video & testimonials.

This video explains the benefits of the Coal Refuse to Energy Industry



Fueled by the Industrial Revolution, coal mining began in the mid-1700s. For generations, coal was the mainstay of the economy of several coal mining regions. Legions of miners once tunneled beneath the earth and strip mined the hills and valleys to bring forth the black diamonds that fueled America's growth. Coal mining relied on horses, mules and manual labor to mine the coal and child labor to sort the coal at the breaker house. The raw hands of breaker boys sorted coal and stockpiled "unused material" leaving mountains of unwanted coal overburden known as coal refuse, culm, gob, or boney. By the early 1800s coal mining, utilizing practices with very little environmental concern, was accumulating coal refuse stockpiles at a rate that created a negative environmental footprint.  MORE...


The U.S. Congress, intent on reducing national dependence on foreign oil, sought to lessen its use in generating electricity through encouraging the use of alternative fuels (low BTU coal, wood, biomass, wind, solar, geothermal). The Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) was put into law in 1978. Thus the alternative energy industry began in response to the oil and gasoline shortages during the 1970s, and the passage of the PURPA Act in 1978. This act required that electric utilities buy the alternative energy (electricity produced with nontraditional fuels such as coal refuse) generated by facilities at an avoided cost rate. This avoided cost mandate proved instrumental in encouraging developers to invest in the new business ventures and technology needed to find ways to convert new and risky fuels into alternative energy. MORE...


ARIPPA plant facilities remove and convert coal refuse from both past and current mining activities to produce alternative energy. Plants also utilize the ash by-product in a beneficial, highly regulated, manner to reclaim abandoned strip mines and abate acid mine drainage at no cost to taxpayers. The unsightly coal refuse stockpiles "and the problems associated with them" are gradually disappearing. Through the use of CFB technology, this coal refuse is being converted into electricity in a significant environmentally responsible manner. Converting the coal refuse into alternative energy and utilizing the by-product ash residue to reclaim damaged abandoned mine lands and streams (back to their natural environmental state and usefulness) are some of the positive effects realized by the development of this new industry. Thousands of acres of land has been and continues to be reclaimed as a wildlife habitat, or for productive use and future development. MORE...

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