US states, tribes receive $124.8 million for land reclamation work

Orange water affected by acid mine drainage flows from a culvert at the Consolidated Coal No. 15 mine site, Illinois. (Image by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, Flickr.)

The United States Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) launched a series of fee-based grants totalling more than $124.8 million, available through fiscal year 2024 to states and tribes for abandoned mine land (AML) reclamation efforts.

In a media statement, OSMRE explained that AML fee-based grants are funded, in part, by a fee collected on all coal produced in the United States. 

“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law reauthorized and extended the AML fee through September 30, 2034, ensuring AML fee-based grants to states and tribes through 2035,” the brief reads.

“In fiscal year 2024, 24 coal-producing states and two tribal AML reclamation programs are eligible to receive AML fee-based grants according to a congressionally mandated formula based on their past and current coal production. The total amount available for fiscal year 2024 AML fee-based grants was reduced by the mandated sequestration amount of 5.7%, resulting in the $124.8 million allocated towards AML fee-based grant distribution.”

Wyoming, Pennsylvania and West Virginia were the top three funding recipients, totalling over $62 million.

The government agency noted that, overall, it has distributed $8.5 billion in AML fee-based grants to states and tribes to address the physical hazards posed by lands and waters mined and abandoned or left inadequately restored before 1977, when the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act was enacted.

“These funds are in addition to funding provided by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization Program,” the communiqué reads.

“The grants will ensure our state and tribal partners have the resources needed to continue their decades of successful reclamation work on our nation’s abandoned mine land sites.”