Date: August 24, 2022
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Final rule implements portion of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law addressing legacy pollution
WASHINGTON — The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement announced today the final rule extending the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund program through 2034 and making other changes to the program as directed by President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This extension provides for continued funding to states and Tribes for reclaiming hazardous abandoned mines, replacing polluted water supplies, and reducing legacy pollution in coalfield communities.
“Hardworking coalfield communities helped power our country,” said Laura Daniel-Davis, principal deputy assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management. “The AML reclamation program extension will make critical investments to help communities eliminate dangerous conditions and pollution caused by past coal mining, while building the foundation for job growth.”
The final rule reflects the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Amendments of 2021, extends OSMRE’s authority to collect reclamation fees for an additional 13 years and reduces the fee rates by 20%. This rule provides consistency between OSMRE’s regulations and the new law and clarifies that fee collections are to continue without interruption at the new rates.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law contains additional impacts to the Abandoned Mine Land Program, including an investment of $11.3 billion to accelerate and expand AML cleanup activities throughout the country. These funds support vitally needed jobs for coal communities by funding projects that close dangerous mine shafts, reclaim unstable slopes, improve water quality by treating acid mine drainage and restore water supplies damaged by mining.
Collectively, these funds represent one of the most significant investments in the revitalization of America’s coalfield communities since passage of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. Since the establishment of the AML fund, OSMRE has distributed more than $6 billion to states and Tribes for AML reclamation activities.
– OSMRE –