The North American Coal Corporation
Corporate Environmental Manager.
The North American Coal Corporation (NACC) is the largest lignite miner in the U.S. although we do also have subbituminous mining and we have white rock quarries in Florida.
My duties include securing all State and Federal permits (NEPA, COE, SMCRA, NPDES, etc…) for new mining activities; conducting baseline surveys and assessments for brownfield projects; ensuring permit compliance with our operations in various States, troubleshoot problems and questions at the various operations, and work closely with the various State and Federal regulators regarding regulation interpretation, potential violations, and permitting activities.
I have been impacted by the rampant increase in environmental regulations in that it requires me to understand the science and thoughts behind the regulations and to understand how that applies to my industry.
I have impacted others in the coal industry environmental field in that I have mentored quite a few with regard to understanding how to conduct our job and to do so with integrity. To understand the regulations yet not ignore the financial impact and operational impact on your industry.
What are you passionate about?
I am passionate about hard-core science education so that chemical, mechanical, and physical answers to environmental problems or issues can be developed. I am also concerned with the lack of constructive thinking, the increase of emotion in scientific thinking, and the lack of critical thinking when posed with a news article or popular thinking.
I think that scientist should be able to be challenged without going on an emotional defensive.
I am also passionate about providing low-cost, dependable power to industry in the U.S. (that provide jobs) and to the citizens of the U.S. that are low-income and/or fixed income.
Describe your educational history:
I have a B.S. in Range Science at Texas A&M, 1982 and a MS in Range Science from Texas A&M, 1989. My Master’s research was in reclamation of drastically disturbed lands and I dealt with runoff water quality from topsoiled vs mixed overburden reclamation.
I have been in the coal mining industry for 33 years.
What advise would you give to the current Aggies interested in entering environmental industry?
Learn the science in the job, not just the emotion. Be aware that many of your employers or clients will be industry and need to comply with regulations but watch the financial bottom line.
Do not get your science or understand of the issues “online”.
Yes, you got a top-notch education from A&M but your real-life, OJT is just beginning. Absorb what the experts are doing, be interested in every facet of the work you are involved in, put your energy and interest into your job, do not expect to be a supervisor or boss any time soon but don’t dwell on it. Read books on many subjects, not the internet.
If you were entering the environmental industry today, what area would you pursue? Why?
I would go into coal mining again as it has been very challenging and has been a great growth opportunity for me personally. However, if not in coal mining, I would go into soil micronutrient studies or into chemistry.