Biden-Harris Administration Allocates $46.4 Million to Ohio for Abandoned Mine Clean-up and Economic Revitalization

Secretary Haaland in CincinnatiSubmitted Image

CINCINNATI, OH — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced an allocation of $46.4 million in funding to Ohio. The announcement, made on Wednesday, February 21, 2024, forms part of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law agenda. This marks the second consecutive year Ohio has received this amount, doubling the total allocation to $92.8 million.

The funding aims to address the hazards posed by abandoned mines, create well-paying jobs, and catalyze economic opportunities. This initiative is part of the Biden-Harris administration’s fourth Investing in America tour, which showcases the impact of the President’s agenda on communities nationwide.

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda enables us to undertake the most significant investment in tackling legacy pollution in American history,” Secretary Haaland said during her visit to Ohio. “These resources are not only creating jobs and fostering economic opportunities but also revitalizing coal communities as we work to clean up toxic sites and build healthier communities.”

While in Ohio, Secretary Haaland hosted a roundtable discussion with state, local, and labor leaders, along with other stakeholders. The focus was on the Department’s implementation of the historic funding provided through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for abandoned mine land remediation.

An estimated millions of Americans live within a mile of an abandoned coal mine. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated a total of $16 billion to address legacy pollution issues, including $11.3 billion over 15 years specifically for abandoned mine land reclamation, managed by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. This unprecedented funding is expected to address nearly all of the currently inventoried abandoned coal mine lands across the nation. By doing so, it will help communities tackle and eliminate the dangerous environmental conditions and pollution caused by historic coal mining.

To date, more than $151.4 million in awards for fiscal year 2023 have been announced to 13 states: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. Additional funding will be awarded to other eligible states and Tribes as they apply.

Abandoned mine land (AML) reclamation projects play a critical role in supporting jobs in coal communities. They invest in initiatives that close dangerous mine shafts, stabilize slopes, improve water quality by treating acid mine drainage, and restore water supplies damaged by mining. These awards also enable economic revitalization by transforming hazardous land into recreational facilities and other areas suitable for economic redevelopment, such as advanced manufacturing and renewable energy deployment. As directed by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, these projects will prioritize the employment of dislocated coal industry workers.

The Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to addressing the legacy of pollution from abandoned mines is not only an environmental imperative but also a significant step towards economic recovery and growth. By investing in clean-up efforts and job creation, this initiative seeks to foster healthier, safer, and more prosperous communities across the nation. This dual focus on environmental restoration and economic revitalization underscores the Administration’s forward-thinking approach to tackling some of the most pressing issues of our time.

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