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Local News

PA secures $244 million for abandoned mine cleanup


Danielle Smith, Public News Service

Pennsylvania will receive $244 million to clean up the pollution left over from decades of coal mining.

The money is part of $725 million in abandoned mine cleanup funding the Biden administration is providing to more than two dozen states. About 1.4 million Pennsylvanians live within one mile of an abandoned mine.

Eric Dixon, senior researcher for the Ohio River Valley Institute, said the funding is expected to create jobs in rural Pennsylvania, while reclaiming abandoned mine lands and addressing mining site hazards and environmental pollution.

“The Biden administration has called for these remediation jobs to be good-quality, union jobs,” Dixon pointed out. “We’ve started to see some of the first union contracts awarded, in states like Kentucky and Ohio, and that’s extremely encouraging.”

The most recent funding is the third installment of more than $11 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for cleaning up environmental hazards and pollution by past coal mining operations, aligning with President Joe Biden’s environmental justice initiatives.

Dixon noted state agencies will use the funding for projects to close dangerous mine shafts, reclaim unstable slopes, and improve water quality by treating acid mine drainage.

“Those agencies, they’ll identify those projects, they’ll design reclamation projects,” Dixon outlined. “Then they’ll actually bid out that reclamation contract to a construction contractor, who will execute the work.”

Over the next 15 years, more than $3.7 billion in funding will come to Pennsylvania under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.