WASHINGTON , D.C. – The Department of the Interior announced that the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) is making $122.5 million in fiscal year 2022 funding for Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) grants available to eligible states and tribes. These funds will support local investment opportunities that create good-paying union jobs and provide for the sustainable long-term rehabilitation of abandoned mine lands.
The Biden-Harris administration has made investments in coal, oil and gas and power plant communities, including through the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities, which coordinates federal investments to support economic revitalization in energy communities. The AMLER program also advances the President’s Justice40 Initiative, which commits to delivering 40 percent of the benefits of certain climate and clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities.
“The AMLER program is one of the many ways in which the Biden-Harris administration is investing in coal communities,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Laura Daniel-Davis. “AMLER grants are community-driven projects that rehabilitate degraded and hazardous sites, while creating new economic opportunities and good-paying jobs for coal communities. We have already seen the impact of this program – with projects that are creating the foundation for economic opportunity for years to come.”
Grants are available to the six Appalachian states with the highest number of unfunded high priority abandoned mine land problems and three tribes with approved AML programs. In fiscal year 2022, AMLER funds have been allocated as follows: Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia ($26.63 million each); Alabama, Ohio and Virginia ($10.652 million each); and the Crow Tribe, the Hopi Tribe, and the Navajo Nation ($3.551 million each).
States and tribes will work with local partners to identify projects that will bring the most environmental and economic benefits to their communities. The notice of funding opportunity announced follows the release of final guidance for how eligible states and tribes can apply.
Established in 2016, the AMLER program funds projects that return legacy coal mining sites to productive uses through economic and community development. AML reclamation projects support vitally needed jobs for coal communities by investing in projects that close dangerous mine shafts, reclaim unstable slopes, improve water quality by treating acid mine drainage, and restore water supplies damaged by mining. The AMLER program has supported additional community revitalization by taking these blighted or polluted sites and turning them into recreation destinations, training facilities, agricultural processing centers, business parks, solar farms and more.
AMLER funds supplement nearly $725 million in fiscal year 2022 funding that has been made available to 22 states and the Navajo Nation to reclaim abandoned mine lands as part of President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In addition, $144 million in fiscal year 2022 funding was made available through OSMRE’s traditional AML grant program.