The Division of Air Quality is charged with issuing an Approval Order (AO) to Alton Coal Mine if operational plans for the mine meet all state and federal air quality regulations. While groups and individuals may have questions and concerns about this operation, the Division of Air Quality may only act within the confines of the regulatory framework in approving or denying an AO. The review of the AO has been rigorous and complete.
An engineering review showed the largest, actual emissions from the mine will be from PM10 and will be approximately 75 tons per year. While this may sound like a large quantity of particulate, the air dispersion modeling shows that the air will, in fact, meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards at the property boundary. Additionally, the proposed permit will require the operator to control all sources of particulate emissions through wet suppression methods.
Alton is conducting additional air monitoring for particulate matter at the site. This is above what is required by law. Compliance inspections will be conducted to ensure the air quality standards are being met on a continuous basis.
In addition to PM 10, the mine operation will emit nitrogen oxide (NOx) and sulphur dioxide (SO2). To address these pollutants, the permit will require the use of Selective Catalytic Reduction on the two stationary engines that will be used at the mine. With this reduction, the mine will be considered a minor source of NOx. The permit will limit the emission of SO2 by requiring the use of low-sulfur fuel in the stationary engines, which should significantly lower these emissions.