Early this semester I watched a show with Leslie Stahl on 60 minutes concerning the by-product of harvested coal. This product is referred to in the industry as "Fly-Ash". It's many ingredients include arsenic, thalidomide, uranium, thorium. These by-products are toxic to our lungs, the water ways which cross into our homes, plants and animals.
Following that segment I found an article concerning "Switchgrass replacing coal at Power Plants" by Ariel Schwartz featured in FASTCOMPANY/Ethonomics.
The article suggested plant based solutions to keep the byproducts from literally flying into the air and away from the mining and deposit sights. The idea was to stabilize the ground with switchgrass and to help insure ground deposit stability and prevent future run-off problems which had been disastrous in the past.