WASHINGTON – The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has awarded Alabama more than $10 million in Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) funding to address unfunded high priority abandoned mine land problems and spur economic growth in Alabama’s coal communities.
The AMLER Program, funding by Congress annually since fiscal year 2016, invests in projects that return legacy coal mining sites to productive uses through economic and community development. High priority abandoned mine land (AML) problems, which pose an immediate threat to the health, safety, and welfare of communities, can include clogged streams, dangerous highwalls, underground mine fires, and polluted waters.
AMLER projects address hazards and environmental degradation in coal communities, while providing opportunities for economic revitalization, community development, and job creation as the nation transitions to a clean energy future,” said OSMRE Acting Regional Director William Joseph
“Reclamation projects in Bibb and Jefferson counties will benefit from this round of AMLER funds,” said Dustin Morin, director of the Mining and Reclamation Division for the Alabama Department of Labor. “These projects will provide tremendous opportunity for economic development and community impact, while eliminating dangerous AML features.”
The AMLER Program is part of President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative, which commits to delivering 40 percent of the benefits of certain climate and clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities.
The following projects will benefit from the AMLER grant:
Piper Mine Reclamation Project, Cahaba National Wildlife Refuge
The Piper Mine Reclamation Project, located on the Cahaba National Wildlife Refuge near the historic coal community of West Blocton, will eliminate public safety hazards by reclaiming dangerous abandoned mine land features remaining from legacy coal mining in the early 1900s. The project will also enhance recreational opportunities at the Wildlife Refuge through the construction of a pond, canoe launch, trails, and interpretive signage.
Pine Ridge Project, Vestavia Hills
The Pine Ridge Project, located in the Vestavia Hills community—a suburb of the greater Birmingham area—will eliminate public safety hazards by reclaiming a dangerous highwall remaining from coal mining in the mid-20th century and create conditions favorable for future development.
For more information about the AMLER Program, visit: https://www.osmre.gov/programs/reclaiming-abandoned-mine-lands/amler.