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Challenge theme 5: Current and future needs of energy and mineral resources in the Borderlands and the effects of their development: Chapter 7 in United States-Mexican Borderlands: Facing tomorrow's challenges through USGS science

March 11, 2013

Exploration and extraction activities related to energy and mineral resources in the Borderlands—such as coal-fired power plants, offshore drilling, and mining—can create issues that have potentially major economic and environmental implications. Resource assessments and development projects, environmental studies, and other related evaluations help to understand some of these issues, such as power plant emissions and the erosion/denudation of abandoned mine lands. Information from predictive modeling, monitoring, and environmental assessments are necessary to understand the full effects of energy and mineral exploration, development, and utilization. The exploitation of these resources can negatively affect human health and the environment, its natural resources, and its ecological services (air, water, soil, recreation, wildlife, etc.). This chapter describes the major energy and mineral issues of the Borderlands and how geologic frameworks, integrated interdisciplinary (geobiologic) investigations, and other related studies can address the anticipated increases in demands on natural resources in the region.