Virginia hopes $10 million in revitalization funding will create a light at the end of the dark economic tunnel for coal communities

On February 2, 2021 in Virginia, the application period opened for the fourth round of funding through the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Pilot Program.

Economic development grants totaling $10 million are available for projects in Southwest Virginia that restore and repurpose abandoned mine land and revitalize the region’s economy.

The Abandoned Mine Land Pilot Program provides important opportunities to repurpose land and water impacted by abandoned mines to advance renewable energy and revitalize historically disadvantaged communities in Southwest Virginia,” said Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

This program has funded several successful projects designed to develop solar resources, spur tourism, and improve infrastructure for new industrial sites. I look forward to seeing the innovative ideas that come out of this fourth round of funding to continue moving the Commonwealth’s coalfield region forward,” he added.

Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) administers the grants funded through the federal Pilot Program.

Support from the Abandoned Mine Land Pilot Program helps our communities redevelop old mine lands for new purposes,” said Congressman Morgan Griffith. “The federal funding that goes to these projects contributes to economic growth and environmental renewal, improving the quality of life in the coalfields.

Projects must reclaim historic mining features, and those that promote innovative renewable energy solutions, agricultural advancements, and the revitalization of historically disadvantaged communities will receive top priority.

Virginia has approved 15 projects through AML over the last three years, and we look forward to seeing the results of this fourth round,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “Past projects have brought development in renewable energy, tourism improvements, new infrastructure and industrial sites.

Projects completed with the funds will not only be designed to revitalize the economy of Southwest Virginia’s coalfields but will also restore the natural environment and advance the Commonwealth’s clean energy goals.

All projects selected must receive approval from the federal Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement.

Our agency has big goals when it comes to renewable energy and supporting historically disadvantaged communities,” said DMME Director John Warren. “We are seeing development on these historic mine sites and new purpose to land once thought unusable. That is quite the accomplishment of our team at DMME, and we hope to see more creative ideas that will help contribute to a clean energy transition.

Virginia is one of six states selected to administer this pilot program for economic development projects that develop AML sites. DMME received the initial $10 million in 2017, 2018, and 2019 and selected numerous projects each year. The funding comes from the Pilot Program, which was part of the federal Omnibus Funding Bill.

Those looking for places to propose projects can find an AML inventory on the DMME website that lists locations and features for each site. DMME will receive applications through April 1, 2021.

Photo of coal mine by hangela from Pixabay

Applications and information can be found on the DMME website and should be submitted electronically to

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