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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Nearly $1.7 Million from Investing in America Agenda to Address Legacy Pollution and Spur Economic Growth in the Navajo Nation

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WASHINGTON – The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement today announced nearly $1.7 million in fiscal year 2023 funding from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to the Navajo Nation to address dangerous and polluting abandoned mine lands (AML), create good-paying, family-sustaining jobs, and catalyze economic opportunity in the Navajo Nation. 

Millions of Americans nationwide live less than a mile from an abandoned coal mine. The President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided 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.  

Heavy equipment digs into brown ground among white extinguishing liquids
Funds are used for abandoned mine land 
reclamation projects like this one 
that extinguished a subsurface coal 
fire within the Navajo Nation, 
which was burning for nearly 85 years. 
Photo courtesy of the Navajo 
AML Reclamation Department.

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.”

Today’s announcement builds on nearly $1.7 million from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda allocated to the Navajo Nation in fiscal year 2022. In addition to today’s announcement, more than $699.3 million in awards for fiscal year 2023 have been announced to 21 states and Tribes. Funding will be awarded to additional eligible states 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 can also enable economic revitalization by reclaiming hazardous land for recreational facilities and other redevelopment, 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: FacebookFlickrInstagramLinkedInX, and YouTube.