KENTUCKY — Roughly $10 million is headed to Kentucky in an effort by the federal government to help stabilize communities hit by the decrease in demand for coal energy. On Monday, the Department of the Interior announced the availability of more than $260 million for states and Tribes to support reclamation efforts in the fiscal year 2021.
What You Need To Know
- Roughly $10 million is headed to Kentucky in an effort by the federal government to help stabilize communities hit by the decrease in demand for coal energy
- Department of the Interior announced the availability of more than $260 million for states and Tribes to support reclamation efforts in the fiscal year 2021
- Other grantees include Alabama, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, among others
Through the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act's (SMCRA) Abandoned Mine Land (AML) grant program, over $152.22 million is available for states and Tribes. The Department is also disbursing $115 million through the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (ALER) grant program.
“The Abandoned Mine Land grant programs provide an important opportunity to revitalize local economies, support jobs, and address environmental impacts to communities from these legacy developments,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary - Land and Minerals Management Laura Daniel Davis. “The job of cleaning up our lands and waters and revitalizing our communities doesn’t end with this round of grant announcements — or the next. We look forward to working with Congress to ensure that we can make the needed investments to clean up abandoned mines, as well as orphan oil and gas wells, across the country.”
Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) provides AML grants to the 25 coal-producing states and three Tribal AML Reclamation Programs according to a congressionally mandated formula. The AML grants, which are based on past and current coal production and funded in part by a fee collected on all coal produced in the U.S., help the eligible states and Tribes "eliminate dangerous conditions and pollution caused by past coal mining," said a release.
Unless reauthorized by Congress, the authority to collect AML Reclamation fees is slated to expire on Sept. 30, 2021.
OSMRE manages the AMLER program, which provides grants to the six states and three Tribes with the greatest amount of unfunded abandoned mine land problems for projects that leverage mine land reclamation with local economic development.
Besides Kentucky, the year's grantees include Alabama ($10 million), Ohio ($25 million), Pennsylvania ($25 million), Virginia ($10 million), and West Virginia ($25 million), and $3.33 million to each the Crow Tribe, the Hopi Tribe, and the Navajo Nation.
"AML grants support vitally needed jobs for coal communities by funding projects that close dangerous mine shafts, reclaim unstable slopes, improve water quality by treating acid mine drainage, and restore water supplies damaged by mining," said the release.
AML funding has resulted in the closure of over 45,000 abandoned underground mine shafts and openings, the elimination of over 990 miles of dangerous highwalls, and the restoration of over 52,000 acres of clogged streams and land, according to the Interior. Even with the previous work completed, there remains over $10 billion worth of work needed to reclaim eligible coal AML sites.
Eligible states and Tribes apply for grants to access money in their allocations after the announcement of the annual AML grant distribution.