Federal grants will support abandoned mine reclamation
Date: Thursday, March 9, 2023
WASHINGTON — As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to clean up legacy pollution while creating good-paying jobs and new economic opportunities for coalfield communities, the Department of the Interior today announced that the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement is awarding $135 million in fiscal year 2023 funding for Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) grants. The six Appalachian states with the highest number of unfunded high priority abandoned mine land (AML) problems and three Tribes with approved AML programs are eligible for the grants.
Established in 2016, the AMLER program funds projects that return legacy coal mining sites to productive uses through economic and community development. High priority abandoned mine land problems pose an immediate threat to health, safety, and the welfare of communities. Abandoned mine land problems include clogged streams, dangerous piles or embankments, dangerous highwalls, underground mine fires and polluted water.
“AMLER grants offer opportunities for economic revitalization, community development and the creation of good-paying jobs, while addressing long-standing hazards and environmental degradation in coal communities in America,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Laura Daniel-Davis. “Combined with historic investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, we are delivering the largest investment in tackling legacy pollution in American history.”
In fiscal 2023, AMLER funds have been allocated to the states and Tribes as follows: Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia are each allocated $29.35 million; Alabama, Ohio and Virginia are each allocated $11.74 million; and the Crow Tribe, the Hopi Tribe, and the Navajo Nation are each allocated $3.91 million. States and Tribes will continue to work with local partners to identify projects that will bring the most environmental and economic benefits to their communities.
AMLER funds supplement nearly $725 million in fiscal year 2022 funding that has been made available to 22 states and the Navajo Nation to reclaim abandoned mine lands as part of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In addition, $144 million in fiscal year 2022 funding was made available through OSMRE’s traditional AML grant program.
The Biden-Harris administration has also made unprecedented investments in coal, oil and gas and power plant communities, including through the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities, which coordinates federal investments to support economic revitalization in energy communities. The AMLER program also advances the President’s Justice40 Initiative which commits to delivering 40% of the benefits of certain climate and clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities.
For more information about the AMLER Program and the grants process, please visit OSMRE’s website.