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Biden-Harris Administration Announces $725 Million from President Biden's Investing in America Agenda to Clean Up Legacy Pollution

Funding will create good-paying jobs, catalyze economic revitalization in coal communities

WASHINGTON — The Department of the Interior today announced that nearly $725 million from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is available to 22 states and the Navajo Nation to create good-paying jobs and catalyze economic opportunity by reclaiming abandoned mine lands (AML). This is the third allotment from the once-in-a-generation investment of $11.3 billion in AML funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which will help communities clean up dangerous environmental conditions and pollution caused by past coal mining in alignment with President Biden’s ambitious environmental justice agenda.

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 will ensure that coal communities are not left behind, but rather revitalized by the jobs created for displaced coal workers, economic opportunity, and clean air and water provided by these cleanup projects.

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. AML projects also enable economic revitalization by reclaiming hazardous land for recreational facilities and other redevelopment uses, such as advanced manufacturing and renewable energy deployment. In accordance with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, states and Tribes are encouraged to prioritize projects that employ current and former employees of the coal industry. 

“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to helping working families, often in rural and Tribal communities, who face hazardous pollution, toxic water levels, and land subsidence both during mining and long after coal companies have moved on,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “Through President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we are making historic investments to help revitalize local economies and support reclamation jobs that help put people to work in their communities, all while addressing environmental impacts from these legacy developments. These smart investments will build a cleaner, healthier and more just future for communities across the country.”

States are already using the more than $1.4 billion provided in the first two years from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to plan and implement projects to protect homes and infrastructure from subsidence and landslides, create new recreation opportunities, and clean up streams polluted with acid mine drainage. Overall funding for AML projects is expected to enable reclamation of the majority of current inventoried abandoned mine lands.

"This unprecedented funding secured by the President is already making a difference in coal communities through new jobs, safer communities, and a cleaner environment,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Dr. Steve Feldgus. “The third year of this historic investment is going to help states continue to expand their cleanup efforts and start tackling projects on a scale that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago.”

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.    

With today’s announcement, eligible states and Tribes can now apply for the formula-based funding allotments summarized in the table below. The notice of funding opportunity follows the release of final guidance for how to apply for this historic funding.

Applications for the FY 2024 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law AML funds must be submitted in GrantSolutions.

State FY24 BIL AML Eligibility 

Alabama  $20,441,027

Alaska  $1,333,333

Arkansas  $1,699,498

Colorado  $9,961,913

Illinois  $75,726,766

Indiana  $24,654,263

Iowa  $5,985,605

Kansas  $4,852,291

Kentucky  $74,217,023

Maryland  $4,809,240

Missouri  $5,858,814

Montana  $4,598,840

Navajo Nation  $1,661,155

New Mexico  $2,421,868

North Dakota  $3,100,210

Ohio  $46,421,486

Oklahoma **  $3,489,953

Pennsylvania  $244,786,476

Tennessee  $8,574,154

Texas  $1,333,333

Utah  $5,766,226

Virginia  $22,779,530

West Virginia  $140,683,878

Wyoming  $9,692,785

Total  $724,849,667

These investments supplement the traditional annual AML grants, which are funded by coal operators and ensured to be provided through 2034 thanks to language in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Under the AML reclamation program, OSMRE has provided more than $8 billion to reclaim lands and waters that were mined or affected by mining prior to 1977, when SMCRA was enacted by Congress.

**Consistent with McGirt v. Oklahoma, 140 S. Ct. 2452 (2020), and related cases, neither the state of Oklahoma nor any of its agencies are currently eligible for BIL AML funding , Oklahoma v. U.S. Department of the Interior, No. CIV-21-719-F, 2022 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 204065 (W.D. Okla. Nov. 9, 2022). If one or more entities become eligible for BIL AML grants this fiscal year, OSMRE is reserving BIL funds for AML reclamation on Indian lands in Oklahoma.

 

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