Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement

06/03/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 06/03/2024 12:29

Interior Department Announces $130 Million to Help Create Jobs and Revitalize Land in Coal Communities

Date: Monday, June 3, 2024
Contact: [email protected]

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 (OSMRE) is making available $130 million in fiscal year 2024 funding for the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) program.

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 to receive these funds.

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.

"The AMLER program leads to 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 Management Dr. Steve Feldgus. "Coupled with the unprecedented investment in abandoned mine land cleanup from President Biden's Investing in America agenda, we are delivering the largest investment in the economic and environmental health of America's coal communities in history."

"The AMLER program provides invaluable assistance to communities to help shape a prosperous future. OSMRE is committed to turning available federal dollars into results on the ground in coal communities," said OSMRE Principal Deputy Director Sharon Buccino. "This investment will create thousands of good-paying union jobs and revitalize communities that have been left behind for far too long."

In fiscal year 2024, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will each receive $28.67 million; Alabama, Ohio and Virginia will each receive $11 million; and the Crow Tribe, Hopi Tribe, and Navajo Nation will each receive $3.67 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 funding supplements investments from President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which allocated a total of $16 billion to address legacy pollution, including $11.3 billion in 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.   

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 sets a goal to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that have been historically marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. Additionally, reclaiming abandoned coal mines is a pillar of the Biden-Harris administration's Methane Action Plan, which includes historic efforts to reduce methane emissions-one of the biggest drivers of climate change-while creating good-paying jobs and promoting American innovation.

For more information about AMLER and changes for how this program will be administered for fiscal year 2024 funds, visit OSMRE's AMLER webpage.