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Biden-Harris Admin: $75 Million to Revitalize Coal Communities, Create Good-Paying Jobs in Illinois

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SPRINGFIELD, IL — As part of the Biden-Harris administration’s Investing in America tour, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Dr. Steve Feldgus and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Principal Deputy Director Sharon Buccino traveled to Illinois this month, where they announced $75.8 million in fiscal year 2023 funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to address dangerous and polluting abandoned mine lands and catalyze economic opportunity in Illinois.  

During the visit, leadership toured two abandoned mine lands sites that are benefiting from fiscal year 2022 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. At Peabody 10, funds are supporting work to address acid mine drainage and public safety hazards outside

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda gives us an unparalleled investment and opportunity to address the majority of currently known abandoned mine land hazards,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Feldgus. “Through these new historic resources, the Interior Department is addressing long-standing environmental injustices, cleaning up toxic and hazardous sites and creating jobs and revitalizing former coal 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 Buccino. “What we will be able to accomplish due to the historic investment from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda really 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 funding over 15 years, facilitated by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. This historic funding is expected to address the majority of currently inventoried abandoned coal mine lands in the nation, which will help communities address and eliminate dangerous environmental conditions and pollution caused by historic coal mining. Today’s announcement builds on nearly $75.8 million allocated to the state of Illinois in fiscal year 2022.        

To date, more than $75.6 million in awards for fiscal year 2023 have been announced to Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas and Wyoming. Funding is awarded to 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. It also enables economic revitalization by reclaiming hazardous land for recreational facilities and other economic redevelopment uses, such as advanced manufacturing and renewable energy deployment. As directed by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, investments 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 set a goal to deliver40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal climate, clean energy, and other investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.  

These Bipartisan Infrastructure Law AML funds supplement traditional annual AML grants, which are funded by active coal operations. In the 46 years since SMCRA was enacted, OSMRE has provided more than $8 billion under the AML reclamation program to reclaim lands and waters that were mined or affected by mining prior to 1977.

Courtesy of Department of Interior.


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