Reclaiming Abandoned Mine Lands
Title IV of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act
Restoring the Environment
The Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program is OSMRE’s largest program and one of our primary responsibilities under SMCRA. Since enactment of SMCRA in 1977, the AML program has collected over $10.5 billion in fees from present-day coal production and distributed more than $8.0 billion in grants to states and tribes, mandatory distributions to the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) retiree health and pension plans and to OSMRE’s operation of the national program to reclaim land and waters damaged by coal mining before the law’s passage.
Despite remarkable achievements, more than $4 billion worth of High Priority health and safety coal-related abandoned sites remain in OSMRE’s e-AMLIS inventory. Millions of Americans live less than a mile from abandoned coal mines. OSMRE and its state and tribal partners are also aware of areas overlying deep mines that are not listed in the inventory because they do not currently present a danger to life or property. These sites may become reclamation priorities as the old mines deteriorate and subside in the future.
In the early years, the AML program focused on the physical reclamation of hazards affecting coalfield communities. More recently, the program began working to reclaim the vitality of communities left impoverished and degraded by past coal mining. OSMRE employees and the two OSMRE/VISTA AmeriCorps Teams are doing this in concert with watershed and community groups by assisting them with a variety of improvement projects to address local challenges.
Funding for States and Indian Tribes
- Abandoned Mine Land Inventory System (e-AMLIS)
- Annual Evaluation Reports for States and Tribes
- Applicant/Violator System (AVS)
- National Mine Map Repository
- Reclamation Awards