On June 1, 2023, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced that nearly $725 million from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is available to 22 states and the Navajo Nation to create good-paying jobs and revitalize local economies by reclaiming abandoned coal mine lands.
The law provides a total of $11.3 billion in abandoned mine land (AML) funding over 15 years, which will help communities clean up dangerous environmental conditions and pollution caused by past coal mining. This funding is expected to enable reclamation of the majority of current inventoried abandoned mine lands in this country.
“These historic investments are all part of the Administration’s all-of-government approach to support communities as they address the lingering impacts of extractive industries and transition to a clean energy future,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Laura Daniel-Davis.
“To help address these dangerous hazards and toxic pollution that continues to have an impact on our communities, we encourage all eligible states and Tribes to submit grant applications,” she continued.
This is the second allotment of funding through the program. Nearly $725 million was allocated in the first year. With this funding, states have started planning, hiring and construction, including on projects that will protect homes and infrastructure from subsidence and landslides, create new recreation opportunities, and clean up streams polluted with acid mine drainage.
“The Biden-Harris administration stands shoulder-to-shoulder with states and Tribal Nations in repairing the damage left by legacy coal mining,” said Secretary Deb Haaland.
“Through the President’s Investing in America agenda, we are making the largest investment in abandoned mine reclamation in history, which will create good-paying jobs for current and former coal workers, help revitalize local economies, and advance environmental justice. These smart investments will build a cleaner, healthier and more just future for our children and grandchildren,” she added.
AML reclamation projects support vitally needed jobs by investing in projects that close dangerous mine shafts, reclaim unstable slopes, prevent releases of harmful gases including methane, improve water quality by treating acid mine drainage, and restore water supplies damaged by mining.
AML reclamation projects also enable economic revitalization by rehabilitating hazardous land so that it can be used for recreational facilities or other economic redevelopment uses like advanced manufacturing and renewable energy deployment.
This funding opportunity advances 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 commitment to environmental justice and the Justice40 Initiative, which aims to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain climate and clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities.
The notice of funding opportunity follows the release of final guidance for how States and Tribes can apply for this historic funding. States and Tribes that apply for the funding are encouraged to:
- Prioritize projects that invest in disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution, consistent with the President’s Justice40 Initiative.
- Incorporate public review and comment into the selection of projects to be funded.
- Prioritize eligible projects to maximize the amount of methane emissions that can be reduced.
- Prioritize the employment of current and former coal industry workers.
Applications for the FY2023 BIL AML funds must be submitted in the GrantSolutions website.
Here are the specific allocations:
- Alabama: $20,441,000
- Alaska : $1,333,000
- Arkansas: $1,700,000
- Colorado: $9,962,000
- Illinois : $75,727,000
- Indiana: $24,654,000
- Iowa : $5,986,000
- Kansas: $4,852,000
- Kentucky: $74,217,000
- Maryland: $4,809,000
- Missouri : $5,859,000
- Montana: $4,599,000
- Navajo Nation : $1,661,000
- New Mexico: $2,422,000
- North Dakota : $3,100,000
- Ohio: $46,421,000
- Oklahoma: $3,490,000
- Pennsylvania: $244,786,000
- Tennessee : $8,574,000
- Texas : $1,333,000
- Utah : $5,766,000
- Virginia : $22,780,000
- West Virginia : $140,684,000
- Wyoming : $9,693,000
Total : $724,849,000
Photo of AML reclamation work courtesy of Navajo Nation.