The Department of Natural Resources' (DNR) Division of Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) announced Friday the award of $40.2 million from the federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM) to continue efforts to eliminate environmental hazards caused by past coal mining.
Twenty-eight coal-producing states and tribes receive annual AML grants that are funded in part by a per-ton reclamation fee levied on all coal produced in the United States. The allocated funds allow state and tribal AML programs to correct environmental damage from past mining, such as reclaiming unstable slopes, improving water quality by treating acid mine drainage, and restoring water supplies damaged by mining. States and tribes receive their allocations according to a congressionally mandated formula established by the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). Since its enactment in 1977, OSM has provided more than $7.6 billion to reclaim nearly 355,000acres of hazardous high-priority abandoned mine sites.
“Our state has been able to utilize these funds to mitigate mine-related hazards such as open mine shafts and portals, mine fires, dangerous highwalls, landslides, mine subsidence, and restoration of potable water to residents whose sources have been damaged by mining. The receipt of these funds allows us to continue this important work,” said DNR Commissioner Steve Hohmann.
AML is authorized under Kentucky law (KRS.350) to abate hazards to public health, safety, and the environment from abandoned mine lands. To date, AML has expended more than $105 million for waterline improvements and has provided more than 14,426 households with potable water supply in 24 coalfield counties in eastern, southern and western Kentucky.