State Announces $25 Million for Cleanup of Abandoned Mine Land

April 24, 2019 - 5:23 pm
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The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced the approval of $25 million in funding for environmental cleanup and revitalization projects at abandoned mine land (AML) locations across Pennsylvania.

“The approved abandoned mine cleanup projects will help eliminate public health and safety hazards and improve stream, groundwater, and land quality,” said DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell. “The funding is an important investment in the community from environmental, recreational, and economic development standpoints.”

The local community and economic development projects include three surface mine reclamation projects, one acid mine drainage treatment or remediation project, three coal refuse pile/culm bank remediation projects, and a historic mining preservation project to move a historic mine fan and other artifacts to a mine museum.

Project funding comes from the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) 2018 AML Pilot Program, which specifically targets abandoned mine cleanup projects that are linked to local community and economic development goals. This is the third year that Pennsylvania has received funding from the AML Pilot Program.

The following projects were recently approved:

Carbon County

No. 9 Coal Mine and Museum Complex/Dorrance Colliery: This project will carefully dismantle and transport historic ventilation fans and steam engines from their location in Luzerne County to a mine museum in Carbon County where the pieces will be reconditioned and reassembled. The project significantly expands the No.9 Mine and Mine Museum Complex, preserves unique pieces of coal mining history, and strengthens the presence of historic sites in the coal mining area. The project is expected to increase visitation by 15 to 20 percent at the tour site and increase utilization of all types of visitor services in the vicinity.

Luzerne County

 

Earth Conservancy Bliss Bank 4: Reclamation of 31 acres of AML refuse/culm banks of the overall 220-acre Bliss Bank project, including the reclamation of a section of Espy Creek. This project allows the site to be developed in anticipation of nationwide companies potentially coming to the area, creating more than 1,000 permanent full-time jobs.

Susquehanna and Wayne Counties

Forest City East Fish & Boat Commission Access: Reclamation of 55 acres of AML that will eliminate dangerous and erosive refuse/culm banks and a dangerous AML mine structure. The site will be used as a future community attraction for fishing and canoeing and will create job and development opportunities.

The cleanup of abandoned mines is a priority of the Wolf Administration and has been included in the Restore Pennsylvania initiative, a statewide plan to aggressively address the commonwealth's vital infrastructure needs. Funded through a commonsense severance tax, Restore Pennsylvania is the only plan that would help make Pennsylvania a leader in the 21st century.

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