Pennsylvania has $244 million for mine land reclamation for third year – Energy

(The Center Square) – Injections of federal money have accelerated demining projects in Pennsylvania and across Appalachia. As it stands now, almost $4 billion is expected to flow to the Commonwealth by 2036.

Federal taxpayer dollars authorized by the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 will be spent through grants for projects to create jobs, clean up communities and protect the environment.

“We are making historic investments to revitalize local economies and support the return of jobs that put people to work in their communities, while addressing the environmental impacts of these historic developments,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in a statement. a press release announcing $725 million. of funds. “These smart investments will build a cleaner, healthier, and more equitable future for communities across the country.”

In April, Haaland visited Pennsylvania to announce the Commonwealth’s $244 million share of the money in Bovard, where mine subsidence projects are underway to prevent damage to the town’s homes and businesses.

Pennsylvania is a hub for mine action funds; There are nearly 10,000 abandoned mines statewide, many of which pose a threat to wildlife or humans.

Of the more than $11 billion expected to go to the states for mine reclamation, more than a third will end up in the Commonwealth. Other Appalachian states, such as West Virginia and Kentucky, expect more than $2 billion and $1 billion, respectively, and Ohio will receive $700 million.

Haaland said these funds will be sufficient “to enable the reclamation of nearly all of the currently inventoried abandoned mine areas in this country.”

The money available for recovery has increased dramatically; in 2021, federal funding was $27 million. As of 2022, federal funding amounts to $244 million annually.

“The past year has been historic for mine restoration,” Eric Dixon, senior research scientist at the Ohio River Valley Institute, said in a news release. “We saw some of the first AML contracts awarded to union firms in states like Kentucky and Ohio, providing good-paying jobs and skilled labor to heal the damaged hills and polluted rivers of Appalachia.”

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., has made clearing abandoned mines a priority; 43 of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties have at least one.

“Too many Pennsylvania communities continue to face the environmental hazards of abandoned mine lands – polluted waterways, property damage and underground mine fires,” Casey said in a news release. “Thanks to this funding, we can continue to clean up this country, protect our environment and boost Pennsylvania’s local economies with new, good-paying jobs.”

State leaders have also urged more action on mining. The Department of Environmental Protection released a report last week saying that 169,000 hectares of abandoned mine lands could host solar energy projects. In March, federal officials sent $90 million to build Pennsylvania’s largest solar project on former mining land.

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