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Department of the Interior Works to Revitalize the Coal Communities as Our Country Transitions to Clean Energy



By Karen Kidd

January 1, 2023 - The U.S. Department of the Interior Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement recently announced more than $1.7 million for the revitalization of Arkansas coal communities.

The funding will come from President Joe Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, according to a Dec. 20 news release. The funding is expected to "address the majority of inventoried abandoned coal mine lands" to help eliminate dangerous conditions and pollution.


Arkansas will receive funds to help reclaim abandoned coal mines.

Photo: hangela, Pixabay

"Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we have this once-in-a-generation investment to address the majority of abandoned mine lands problems," OSMRE Deputy Director Glenda Owens said in the news release. "The reclamation landscape of tomorrow presents endless opportunities to revitalize the coal communities as our country transitions to clean energy."

Funding for Arkansas coal country is a portion of the $16 billion allocated by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law earmarked for "legacy pollution," and includes $11.3 billion for abandoned mine land funding over 15 years. The billions being spent is aimed at helping the millions of Americans living in communities within a mile of an abandoned coal mine or orphaned oil and gas wells by eliminating dangerous environmental conditions and pollution caused by mining.

In the last three months, DOI announced more than $644 million for projects in Alabama, Alaska, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia, the release reported. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law requires allocations be determined based on how many tons of coal was historically produced in each state or on Indian lands before the enactment of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.

"Funding will be awarded to additional eligible states and Tribes on a rolling basis as they apply," the news release said.