Biden-Harris Administration Announces Nearly $23 Million to Address Legacy Pollution and Revitalize Coal Communities in Virginia

Last edited 03/28/2024

Date: Thursday, March 28, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. — Acting Deputy Secretary of the Interior Laura Daniel-Davis and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) Principal Deputy Director Sharon Buccino traveled to Richmond, Virginia, today, where they announced $22.8 million in fiscal year 2023 funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to address dangerous and polluting abandoned mines, create good-paying, family-sustaining jobs and expand economic opportunity in Virginia.  

Millions of Americans nationwide live less than a mile from an abandoned coal mine. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated a total of $16 billion to address legacy pollution, including $11.3 billion in abandoned mine land (AML) funding over 15 years. This historic funding is expected to address nearly all of the currently inventoried abandoned coal mine lands in the nation, which will help communities address and eliminate dangerous conditions and pollution caused by historic coal mining. Today’s announcement builds on the more than $22.8 million allocated to the Commonwealth of Virginia in fiscal year 2022 and is a part of the President’s broader effort to improve public health and deliver clean air and water for all communities. 

“Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we have a historic opportunity to address nearly all currently inventoried abandoned mine lands across the country and create good-paying, family-sustaining jobs in coal communities in the process,” said Acting Deputy Secretary Laura Daniel-Davis. “With these new resources, the Biden-Harris administration is creating jobs, revitalizing local economies and improving the health, safety and quality of life of so many Americans.” 

“Our mission at OSMRE, at its core, is about making people safer, cleaning up the environment, and encouraging economic development in coal communities,” said Principal Deputy Director Buccino. “What we will be able to accomplish due to the historic investment from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is an unprecedented, once-in-a-generation opportunity.” 

Late last year, Acting Deputy Secretary Daniel-Davis toured several Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-funded projects in southwest Virginia and participated in a community roundtable to discuss implementation of this historic funding. At the Camp Creek Landslide site, she saw how unstable coal mine waste materials have formed a partial landslide, impacting nearby homes and farmland, as well as threatening the flow of the Pound River and important habitat along its shores. Through a $1.6 million investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Camp Creek project will relocate public water lines, construct a temporary bridge to access the landslide during reclamation work, remove landslide material, stabilize the site and address impacts to the nearby river. 

AML reclamation supports jobs in coal communities by investing in projects that close dangerous mine shafts, reclaim unstable slopes, improve water quality by treating acid mine drainage and restore water supplies damaged by mining. Awards also enable economic revitalization by reclaiming hazardous land for recreational facilities and other economic redevelopment uses, such as advanced manufacturing and renewable energy deployment. As directed by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, funding will prioritize projects that employ dislocated coal industry workers.  

This funding is a part of the Biden-Harris administration’s unprecedented investments in communities and workers to support an equitable transition to a sustainable economy and healthier environment after the closure of mines or power plants. This effort also advances the President’s Justice40 Initiative which aims to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that have been marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.               

To date, nearly $272.1 million in awards for fiscal year 2023 have been announced to Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas and Wyoming. Funding will be awarded to additional eligible states and Tribes on a rolling basis as they apply.


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