The Missouri Department of Natural Resources will receive more than $5.8 million in new federal funding to reclaim abandoned coal mine sites across the state.

Allocated through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the department will use the funding to reclaim abandoned coal mine sites to protect public safety and the environment. This funding is in addition to the $3 million the department has been receiving annually from the U.S. Department of Interior for reclamation projects.

The department’s Abandoned Mine Land Program will assess Missouri’s current inventory of abandoned coal mine sites to select and prioritize the best sites at which to use the funding for reclamation work. Currently, there are 10,834 acres in Missouri’s inventory yet to be reclaimed. Prior to the new funding, the state had completed projects to reclaim 5,034 acres.

Reclamation is the process by which adverse environmental effects of surface mining are minimized and mined lands are returned to a beneficial end use. End uses may be open space, wildlife habitat, agriculture or residential and commercial development. Some components of reclamation include practices that control erosion and sedimentation, stabilize slopes and repair impacts to wildlife habitat. The final step is usually topsoil replacement and revegetation with suitable plant species.

“We are grateful for this funding and look forward to using it to help clean up Missouri’s abandoned coal mine sites,” said Dru Buntin, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “It’s also a great example of our commitment to passing through nearly all of the funding we receive so it can be applied directly to protecting public health and the environment, strengthening communities and making life better for Missourians.”

A total of $11.3 billion in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding has been allocated nationwide to reclaim abandoned mine lands during the next 15 years, according to the U.S. Department of Interior. The funding will help communities effectively address dangerous environmental conditions and pollution from past coal mining. Awards of nearly $659 million have been announced for Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Funding allocations are determined based on the number of tons of coal that were produced in each state or on Tribal lands before Aug. 3, 1977, when the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act was enacted. States are guaranteed at least $20 million over the program’s 15-year life if their inventory of abandoned coal mine sites would cost more than that amount to address. Future distributions may change as state inventories are updated.

For more information, contact the department’s Land Reclamation Program at 573-751-4041, toll-free at 800-361-4827 or by email at mining@dnr.mo.gov.

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