Your community could be eligible for new funds to reclaim abandoned coal mines, if a new bill makes its way through Congress.
Last week word broke of the RECLAIM Act, a bill that would invest $1 billion in communities struggling with the decline of the coal industry. The bill would put people to work reclaiming abandoned coal mines and would create long-term economic opportunities in agriculture, recreational tourism, energy, and more on reclaimed mine sites.
If you're interested in how many abandoned mines are eligible in your community, The Daily Yonder has developed a nifty interactive map that illustrates on a county basis how much it would cost to reclaim the abandoned mines eligible for these funds.
The darker the red, the greater the extend of remaining abandoned mines. Click the graphic to check out the interactive map. Image: The Daily Yonder.
The $1 billion RECLAIM Act is only a proposal at this point and still has to make its through Congress.
In addition to this proposal, states and tribes currently receive some funding for mine reclamation under the federal Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program. Though the requirements around the current funding are less focused on economic transition, the abandoned mines outlined in the interactive map are eligible for the current funding. If you think you'
The RECLAIM Act would roughly double the amount of annual funding for abandoned mine reclamation, and would put a greater emphasis on creating economic opportunities.