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The National Coal Resource Assessment (NCRA) project of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has assessed the quantity and quality of the nation's coal deposits that potentially could be mined during the next few decades. For eight years, geologic, geochemical, and resource information was collected and compiled for the five major coal-producing regions of the United States: the Appalachian Basin, Illinois Basin, Northern Rocky Mountains and Great Plains, Colorado Plateau, and the western part of the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Plain (Gulf Coast) region (Figure 1). In particular, the NCRA assessed resource estimates, compiled coal-quality information, and characterized environmentally sensitive trace elements, such as arsenic and mercury, that are mentioned in the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 1990). The results of the USGS coal assessment efforts may be found at: and a summary of the results from all assessment areas can be found in Ruppert et al. (2002) and Dennen (2009).

Detailed assessments of the major coal-producing areas for the Gulf Coast region along with reviews of the stratigraphy, coal quality, resources, and coalbed methane potential of the Cretaceous, Paleocene, and Eocene coal deposits are presented in this report (Chapters 5-10).

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