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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Nearly $8.6 Million from Investing in America Agenda to Address Legacy Pollution, Revitalize Coal Communities in Tennessee

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WASHINGTON – The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement today announced nearly $8.6 million in fiscal year 2023 funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to create good-paying jobs and catalyze economic opportunity by reclaiming abandoned mine lands in Tennessee.

Communities once powered by the coal industry are now polluted by abandoned mine lands, which leach toxic discharge into lands and waterways, cause land subsidence and structural issues, and fuel underground mine fires. This funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will ensure coal communities are not left behind, but rather revitalized by the jobs created for displaced coal workers, economic opportunity, and clean air and water provided by these cleanup projects.

A 23-acre landslide on a formerly reclaimed mine threatened the Smokey Creek Watershed in Scott County, Tennessee
A 23-acre landslide on a formerly reclaimed
mine threatened the Smokey Creek
Watershed in Scott County, Tennessee

“Our mission at OSMRE, at its core, is about making people safer, cleaning up the environment, and encouraging economic development in coal communities,” said 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.”

Millions of Americans nationwide live less than a mile from an abandoned coal mine. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated a total of $16 billion to address legacy pollution, including $11.3 billion in abandoned mine land funding over 15 years, facilitated by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. This historic funding is expected to address the majority of currently inventoried abandoned coal mine lands in the nation, which will help communities address and eliminate dangerous environmental conditions and pollution caused by historic coal mining.

Today’s announcement builds on nearly $8.6 million allocated to Tennessee from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda in fiscal year 2022. In addition to today’s announcement, nearly $690.7 million in awards for fiscal year 2023 have been announced to 20 other states. Funding will be awarded to additional eligible states and Tribes on a rolling basis as they apply.

AML reclamation supports jobs in coal communities by investing in projects that close dangerous mine shafts, reclaim unstable slopes, improve water quality by treating acid mine

drainage, and restore water supplies damaged by mining. Awards also enable economic revitalization by reclaiming hazardous land for recreational facilities and other redevelopment uses, such as advanced manufacturing and renewable energy deployment. In accordance with the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, States and Tribes are encouraged to prioritize projects that employ current and former employees of the coal industry.

This funding is a part of the Biden-Harris administration’s unprecedented investments in communities and workers to support an equitable transition to a sustainable economy and healthier environment after the closure of mines or power plants. This effort also advances the President’s Justice40 Initiative that sets a goal to deliver 40 percent of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that have been historically marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. Additionally, reclaiming abandoned coal mines is a pillar of the Biden-Harris Administration’s Methane Action Plan, which includes historic efforts to reduce methane emissions—one of the biggest drivers of climate change—while creating good-paying jobs and promoting American innovation.


OSMRE carries out the requirements of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 in cooperation with states and Tribes. OSMRE’s objectives are to ensure that coal mining activities are conducted in a manner that protects citizens and the environment during mining, to ensure that the land is restored to beneficial use after mining, and to mitigate the effects of past mining by aggressively pursuing reclamation of abandoned coal mines. For more information, visit or connect with us through any of these social media channels: Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, LinkedIn, X, and YouTube