As Congress is considering a bill that would use $1 billion to reclaim abandoned mines, a new analysis has confirmed what people in the Appalachian coalfields have known for many years: residents in thousands of communities across the region are threatened by abandoned mines.
5.5 million people across the Appalachian Coal Region live within 1 mile of an pre-1977 Abandoned Mine Land (AML), which includes features such as abandoned mine shafts, streams polluted by acid mine drainage, abandoned highways, unreclaimed strip mines, gob piles, and mine fire., according to an analysis by C. M. Mayne. View the full analysis—and more maps—here.
If 5.5 million Appalachians live near abandoned mines, it's hard to imagine how many people across the entire country live nearby a mines. With such a large number of people who's homes and communities are threatened by abandoned mines, the need to pass the RECLAIM Act is more apparent now than ever.