“Restoring the usability of abandoned mine lands is an example of the Department of the Interior’s multiple-use mission of conservation in action,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Interior will continue helping states and tribes responsibly develop America’s energy resources and address legacy problems related to 200 years of mining,”
The money will be used to fix highwalls, stabilize land above underground mines, and repair impaired waters, Secretary Zinke said.
This is a $120 million increase from 2017 as a result of a phase-in period for states and tribes to receive funds that were withheld under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act between 2009 and 2011.
Those states and tribes that have certified that they have completed their abandoned mine land reclamation obligations will receive $61 million dollars in FY 2018 and FY 2019, in addition to the certified in lieu funds those states and tribes otherwise receive each year from the U.S. Treasury, the DOI said. Uncertified states will also receive an increase of the same amount in those years. A small portion of the increase in AML funding is attributed to an upturn in U.S. coal production, according to the DOI. The total amount available for distribution was reduced by the mandated sequestration amount of 6.6 percent that was applied across the board.
OSMRE provides AML grants to states and tribes according to a congressionally mandated formula based on their past and current coal production. Each year, after the distribution is announced, eligible states and tribes apply for annual reclamation grants to access money in their allocations.
The 2018 AML Reclamation funding available to states and tribes is $5.27 million for Alabama; $2.8 million, Alaska; $2.8 million, Arkansas; $3.3 million, Colorado; $19 million, Illinois; $8.1 million, Indiana; $2.8 million, Iowa; $2.8, Kansas; $19 million, Kentucky; $210,633, Louisiana; $2.8 million, Maryland; $118,095, Mississippi; $2.8 million, Missouri; $7.6 million, Montana; $2.8 million, New Mexico; $2.8, North Dakota; $10.8 million, Ohio; $2.8 million, Oklahoma; $55.7 million, Pennsylvania; Tennessee, $2.8 million; Texas, $2.8 million; Utah, $2.8 million; Virginia, $5.8 million; West Virginia, $36.3 million; Wyoming, $91.3 million; Crow Tribe, $1.2 million; Hopi Tribe, $551,961; and $3 million, Navajo Nation.