MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Dr. Steve Feldgus announced $140 million from fiscal year 2023 from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to address dangerous and polluting abandoned mine lands (AML) in Morgantown Monday. The plan is expected to create good-paying, family-sustaining jobs, and catalyze economic opportunity in coal communities across West Virginia.

“There are thousands of miles of streams throughout Appalachia that are polluted and lifeless due to acid runoff from former mines,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Dr. Steve Feldgus. “With once-in-a generation funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda, we can create jobs and restore waterways to health while harvesting new sources of critical minerals that will help reduce our dependence on foreign nations.”

“Our mission at OSMRE, at its core, is about making people safer, cleaning up the environment, and encouraging economic development in coal communities,” said Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Principal Deputy Director Sharon Buccino. “What we will be able to accomplish due to the historic investment from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is an unprecedented, once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

Statistics show millions of Americans nationwide live less than a mile from an abandoned coal mine and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated a total of $16 billion to address legacy pollution, including $11.3 billion in AML funding over 15 years. The funding is expected to be able to address nearly all of the currently inventoried abandoned coal mine lands in the nation.

These Bipartisan Infrastructure Law AML funds are a supplement to traditional annual AML grants, which are funded by active coal operations through OSMRE. Dr. Feldgus toured the Richard Mine acid mine drainage treatment plant, which is in part funded by AML grants to West Virginia. The facility will extract rare earth elements from acid mine drainage emerging from the defunct Richard Mine and then discharge treated, clean water into Deckers Creek.

This funding is in addition to nearly $140.7 million allocated to West Virginia in fiscal year 2022 from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.