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Alabama Awarded $5.1 Million in Federal Mine Reclamation Grants

March 21, 2019

Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 21, 2019

Alabama Awarded $5.1 Million in Federal Mine Reclamation Grants

MONTGOMERY - Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that Alabama was awarded $5.1 million in federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation (AML) grants, distributed by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE).

The grants are provided to the 25 coal-producing states and three tribes according to a congressionally mandated formula based on their past and current coal production. Each year, eligible states and tribes apply, and OSMRE evaluates and verifies the requests, and then makes the awards. More than $291 million was distributed nationwide.

“AML Programs create numerous job opportunities each year. For every federal dollar spent for construction, $1.59 in the form of labor income, state and local tax revenue, and construction value improvements were returned to the economy,” said Washington. “Additionally, thousands of citizens in Alabama have been protected from abandoned mine hazards.”

With the $185 million in AML grant funding received since 1984, Alabama’s AML Program has completed 661 Abandoned Mine Land projects on sites left at abandoned coal mines, resulting in increased safety for the thousands of Alabama citizens still residing in and around these communities:
• 14,000 acres of high priority abandoned coal mine sites have been reclaimed.
• Hazards associated with more than 1,613 open mine shafts and portals have been eliminated.
• Over 81.6 miles of High Priority dangerous highwalls have been reclaimed and are no longer a threat to people.
• Over 2,279 acres of dangerous piles and embankments have been eliminated and the land reclaimed.
• Over 506 acres of gob fires and surface burning has been reclaimed and the associated hazards eliminated.

The AML Program exists to restore lands and water impacted by coal mining prior to the enactment of the Surface Mining Control & Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA). The AML program uses the funds to complete reclamation projects that pose threats to public health and safety. These reclamation projects restore impacted land and water resources to a safer, more natural, and productive use.
*Info on attached photos: Before and After of the Marvel (AL) gob fire. Located in the Marvel community near several residences and involved an old abandoned underground coal mine waste (Gob) pile which had been ignited by a forest fire and was causing a severe noxious smoke/fume impact, and an increasing danger of fire to several families.

The Alabama Department of Labor / The Alabama Career Center System is a partner in Alabama Works, Alabama’s unified workforce system.

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Members of the media needing more information should contact Tara Hutchison at 334-242-8616 / tara.hutchison@labor.alabama.gov



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