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State receives $244 million to clean up abandoned mines

The funding comes from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will be used to help clean up the more than 5,000 abandoned mines across Pennsylvania.
coal mine

HARRISBURG, Pa. — Note: The video is from November 2021.

Governor Tom Wolf announced Monday that Pennsylvania has been awarded $244.9 million from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to clean up abandoned mines across the commonwealth.

“We’ve long needed a solution to accelerate work to address the environmental and public health concerns of our legacy energy development, [and] I’m pleased that the Biden Administration shares my commitment to reclaiming Pennsylvania’s abandoned mine-land for productive use,” the governor said in a press release. “This bipartisan investment will address the dangers of abandoned mines while simultaneously supporting new, good-paying jobs, economic recovery, and community revitalization.”

Pennsylvania has more than 5,000 abandoned mines, which the Wolf administration says "memorialize a period of great economic and industrial growth in the state and country, [but] they’re now scars to Pennsylvania’s landscape with environmental and safety hazards."

Abandoned mines are a risk for fires and have dangerous highwalls and open shafts.

They're also sources of water and air pollution, according to Wolf.

Wolf says his administration looks forward to working with the Department of the Interior to put the resources announced Monday to work to enhance the state’s Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program and return abandoned mine land to productive use for things like recreation, farming or clean energy production.

The $244.9 million announcement is a small piece of the nearly $4 billion Pennsylvania is estimated to receive over the next 15 years to address contamination and pollution caused by its coal mining legacy.

Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey lauded the effort to clean up the commonwealth's abandoned mines.

“Pennsylvania’s coal industry built and powered our Nation for decades," he said in a statement. "Now these communities bear the brunt of abandoned mine land pollution, including ravaged landscapes, property damage and poor health. For too long we’ve neglected the pressing needs of communities blighted by abandoned and polluted mines.

"This funding is just the start of what the infrastructure law will bring to Pennsylvania communities to address vital abandoned mine land and water reclamation projects, clean legacy pollution, create jobs and improve Pennsylvanians’ quality of life. I will keep fighting to bring home infrastructure investments to the Commonwealth and to ensure we are able to remediate acid mine drainage, ensuring all Pennsylvania families have access to clean water.”

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