Biden-Harris Admin Grants $244M to Clean PA Pollution

Interior Department

PITTSBURGH - Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland and Lieutenant Governor Austin Davis today announced more than $244 million in fiscal year 2023 funding from President Biden's Investing in America agenda to address dangerous and polluting abandoned mine lands, create good-paying, family-sustaining jobs and catalyze economic opportunity in coal communities across Pennsylvania. This is the largest annual state allocation under the Abandoned Mine Land program through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

During the visit, Secretary Haaland, Lieutenant Governor Davis and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) Principal Deputy Director Sharon Buccino toured a neighborhood in Bovard, Pennsylvania, prone to subsidence due to historic coal mining. Several homes in the neighborhood have begun to experience minor impacts due to this subsidence. Due to the historic amount of investment in cleaning up legacy pollution from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Pennsylvania is now able to proactively address existing damage and proactively prevent future subsidence before it threatens additional homes and public safety.

Communities once powered by the coal industry are now polluted by abandoned mine lands, which leach toxic discharge into lands and waterways, cause land subsidence and structural issues, and fuel underground mine fires. This funding from President Biden's Investing in America agenda will ensure coal communities are not left behind, but rather revitalized by the jobs for displaced coal workers, economic opportunity, and clean air and water provided by these cleanup projects.

"Legacy pollution continues to impact far too many communities across the nation. Through President Biden's Investing in America agenda, we are making once-in-a-generation investments to clean up environmental hazards that have harmed coal communities for far too long," said Secretary Deb Haaland. "Reclaiming and restoring these sites will create jobs, revitalize economic activity, and advance outdoor recreation across the country as we work to clean up these public safety hazards and build healthier communities."

"Our mission at OSMRE, at its core, is about making people safer, cleaning up the environment, and encouraging economic development in coal communities," said Principal Deputy Director Sharon Buccino. "What we will be able to accomplish due to the historic investment from President Biden's Investing in America agenda is an unprecedented, once-in-a-generation opportunity."

Millions of Americans nationwide live less than a mile from an abandoned coal mine. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated a total of $16 billion to address legacy pollution, including $11.3 billion in abandoned mine land (AML) funding over 15 years, facilitated by OSMRE. 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.

Today's announcement builds on more than $244 million allocated to Pennsylvania in fiscal year 2022. In addition to today's announcement, more than $294.8 million in awards for fiscal year 2023 have been announced to Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Wyoming. Funding will be awarded to additional eligible states and Tribes on a rolling basis as they apply.

AML reclamation supports jobs in coal communities by investing in projects that close dangerous mine shafts, reclaim unstable slopes, improve water quality by treating acid mine drainage, and restore water supplies damaged by mining. Awards also enable economic revitalization by reclaiming hazardous land for recreational facilities and other redevelopment uses, such as advanced manufacturing and renewable energy deployment. As directed by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, funding will prioritize projects that employ dislocated coal industry workers.

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 that 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.

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) might be of the point-in-time nature, and edited for clarity, style and length. Mirage.News does not take institutional positions or sides, and all views, positions, and conclusions expressed herein are solely those of the author(s).View in full here.