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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Nearly $5.8 Million from Investing in America Agenda to Address Legacy Pollution, Revitalize Coal Communities in Utah

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WASHINGTON – The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement today announced nearly $5.8 million in fiscal year 2023 funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to address dangerous and polluting abandoned mine lands (AML), create good-paying, family-sustaining jobs, and catalyze economic opportunity in coal communities in Utah.

This hazardous mine opening was one of nearly 150 similar abandoned mine land sites near a state park and recreation area in Emery County, Utah, that were closed using AML funding. Photo courtesy of the Utah Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program.
This hazardous mine opening was one of nearly 
150 similar abandoned mine land sites near a state 
park and recreation area in Emery County, Utah, 
that were closed using AML funding. Photo courtesy 
of the Utah Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program.

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.

“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 President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law allocated a total of $16 billion to address legacy pollution, including $11.3 billion in AML funding over 15 years, facilitated by OSMRE. This historic funding is expected to address nearly all of the currently inventoried abandoned coal mine lands in the nation, which will help communities address and eliminate dangerous conditions and pollution caused by historic coal mining.

“The Utah Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program has been addressing public health, safety, and environmental issues related to historic coal mining for over 40 years,” said Steve Fluke, Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program director. “This additional BIL funding will expedite our work on coal reclamation and allow us to apply more robust reclamation techniques and designs that we would not have been able to afford with our traditional funding sources. The 2023 BIL award will be used primarily to fund a coal waste removal and stream reclamation project and a waterline project, both located in Carbon County.”

Today’s announcement builds on nearly $5.8 million from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda allocated to Utah in fiscal year 2022. In addition to today’s announcement, more than $684.9 million in awards for fiscal year 2023 have been announced to 19 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. As directed by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, funding will 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