A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
Secretary Salazar and Director Pizarchik Announce $485 Million in Grants to States and Tribes to Clean Up Abandoned Coal Mines
Last edited 7/7/2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) Director Joe Pizarchik today announced nearly half a billion dollars in grants for states and tribes to eliminate health and safety hazards caused by past coal mining. This year's funding – a $90 million increase over last year – will generate more than $1 billion in economic activity and support thousands of jobs across the country.
Funding for Abandoned Mine Land (AML) grants comes from coal receipts and is distributed through a congressionally mandated formula under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). Fiscal year 2012 grants will total more than $485 million, the highest amount ever awarded.
“When our nation enacted mining reform in 1977, we made a simple and bold promise that the revenues from coal extraction today should help clean up the legacy of coal mining many years ago,” said Secretary Salazar. “These grants help fulfill that promise while putting men and women to work across the country on restoration projects that will bring lands back to life, clean up rivers, and leave a better legacy for our children and grandchildren.”
A recently issued Interior report estimated that the $369 million in AML grants made available for fiscal year 2010 delivered an economic impact of $1.1 billion dollars and was directly responsible for more than 8,600 jobs. With an increase of $90 million over fiscal year 2011 funding levels, the economic impact of the $485 million in grants announced today is expected to exceed that of last year's funding.
“OSM's AML grants announced today will have a significant impact on the health, safety and economic growth of communities across the country,” said OSM Director Joe Pizarchik. “With this and previous funding, our state and tribal AML partners will continue to produce a cleaner environment, well-paying jobs, and stronger local economies.”
Among the leading state recipients of 2012 AML grants are Wyoming ($150 million); Pennsylvania ($67.2 million); West Virginia ($66.5 million); Kentucky ($47 million); and Illinois ($24 million). Indian tribal governments receiving the grants include the Navajo Nation ($7.2 million); Crow Tribe ($2.2. million); and Hopi Tribe ($1.4 million).
OSM provides grants to 28 coal-producing states and tribes based on their past and present coal production. The bureau will make these awards throughout the current fiscal year, which ends September 30, 2012. The $485 million available in fiscal year 2012 caps a four-year phase-in of increased funding mandated by Congress when it amended SMCRA in 2006.
Since 1977, OSM has provided more than $7.2 billion to reclaim more than 295,000 acres of hazardous high-priority abandoned mine sites and for other purposes.