Twenty-eight coal-producing states and tribes receive annual AML grants, which are funded in part by a per-ton reclamation fee levied on all coal produced in the United States. States and tribes receive their allocations according to a congressionally mandated formula established by SMCRA. “The AML grant funds are important to states and tribes to eliminate dangerous mines and restore abandoned mine lands,” said OSM Director Joe Pizarchik.
The annual announcement of the grants is traditionally done in December. The announcement was delayed by preparations for the sequester. The grant amounts recently announced make available 90% of AML grant funding that each eligible state and tribe would normally receive, because 10% of the funds are being held back pending the sequester. OSM has worked with states and tribes to provide as much assistance as possible in advance of the release of AML funding, and the bureau will continue to offer support to AML programs nationwide.
The 10% sequester holdback will have impacts on communities across the nation, the American people and the environment. The reduction in AML funding means that about 50 abandoned mine land projects will not be reclaimed.