Coal Tattoo

DEP issues slurry study

Better late than never, I guess … the state Department of Environmental Protection just now released copies of its long-awaited study on underground injection of coal slurry.

The study itself is available here., and a press release here.

I just got this material and need to get something done for our print edition pretty quickly to meet out deadlines. But this appears to be the thrust of DEP’s announcement:

While the study found no evidence that coal slurry injection, by itself, affects surface water quality, Huffman is issuing a moratorium on the approval of coal slurry injection into mine voids in which it has not previously been approved.

“None of the sites chosen for the hydrologic assessment showed water quality impacts to surface waters caused by coal slurry injection alone,” Huffman said. “However, the study did point out areas where improvements can be made in the Underground Injection Program. While the Department of Health and Human Resources conducts its portion of the study, we will be making changes to our permitting program and gathering more information from the operators.”

Read previous posts on this topic here, here, here and here.

I’d be very interested in thoughts from readers who have followed this issue closely.


After reading the study, I’m finding it very unsatisfying, especially given DEP’s delays in getting it done. That’s because, for the most part, DEP officials simply said they don’t have enough information to really answer the main questions posed to them.