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Preparation Plants

There were four sources of data reviewed pertaining to coal preparation facilities. First, the Kentucky Division of Permits provided a listing of active permit applications referencing prep plants. Each permit has an activity code that indicates whether the facility is producing coal or under reclamation (active permit, but inactive plant).

The second source was the 2007 Prep Plant Directories available on the DEDI website for eastern and western Kentucky.

The third source is the Prep Plant Census compiled by Coal Age and published in the Keystone Coal Industry Manual (2010).

The fourth source is a listing of air quality permits issued by the Division of Air Quality for the facilities (10).

Aside from the locations and data provided by the Division of Permits and Air Quality, there are no publically available data about prep plants—the other two sources obtained data through questionnaires or interviews with facility owners or operators and are reported to be incomplete.

There was no definitive way to compare information among the four sources. Operator names change frequently or are reported differently by the compilers, and there is no consistent identifier for a plant. The Division of Permits assigns a permit number to an issued permit, but no other source references that number consistently. Because each list contained a different number of sites, each had to be compared using the coordinate location and any provided data. The method involved creating a GIS dataset for each source so that they could be plotted on a map. Each site was inspected using recent aerial photography as a base, and determinations were made about whether there were visible surface disturbances and structures, whether more than one source was located in proximity to each other, and whether descriptive information were sufficiently close to assume a correlation. Each source typically lists a different location for the same site.

The current data shown are the locations of active permits issued by the Division of Permits. The listed permit number can be used to search the SMIS (Surface Mine Information System) to obtain more information about the permit. The Division of Air Quality listing may be the best representation of active plants, and the permits contain information about the type of facility and its individual components. These data are currently under review as a means of providing the most comprehensive listing of facilities.

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