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Virginia DMME gets $5.8m for abandoned mine reclamation work

Staff report • Updated Mar 6, 2018 at 7:00 AM

BIG STONE GAP — The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals & Energy (DMME) will receive $5.8 million this year to address abandoned mine land (AML) reclamation projects.

“We have quite the inventory of projects in Virginia,” said DMME AML Projects Coordinator Lesa Baker. “These funds will be prioritized to ensure the safety of our neighbors that live near these sites and to protect the environment.”

The federal AML program has existed since 1977, funded by a tax on coal based on tons produced, to reclaim abandoned mine sites across the country. The program prioritizes sites based on human health and safety.

A Virginia AML inventory is available at the DMME website and lists features for each site. A portion of the latest round of funding for Virginia will also be set aside for emergency projects.

From 2006-14, the DMME has completed nearly $74 million in AML reclamation projects. Reclamation is contracted with local companies and has created 1,760 jobs in the same time period, the agency said.

Last year, the DMME’s AML program received $10 million to start a pilot program in Virginia for reclamation projects that would be specifically linked to economic development projects. Six proposed projects are currently under review, the DMME said.

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