The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, or OSMRE, works with State and Tribal partners to reclaim abandoned coal mine land and regulate active coal mines reclamation practices. OSMRE works every year to ensure abandoned mine lands are returned to a safe and productive use, as agreed upon reclamation plans. Additionally, OSMRE provides oversight of active mines to guarantee that operating coal mines are upholding the requirements of their permits. And 2021 is no different. Glenda Owens Deputy Director of OSMRE spoke of some of the achievements of 2021.
“This year, we provided more than $260 million dollars to States and Tribes to support reclamation efforts and an additional $115 million through the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization program. To support economic development in communities impacted by past mining practices.” She further emphasized, “We are committed to the communities that are most impacted by surface coal mining.”
2021 was also the year of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This historic legislation will launch OSMRE’s largest federal investment into the reclamation of Abandoned Mine Lands. More than $11.3 billion will be invested to reclaim legacy pollution and Abandoned Mine Lands.
“We are going to tackle lacy pollution and reclaim abandoned coal mine lands. We are helping working families, often in rural and Tribal communities, who may face hazardous pollution, toxic water levels, and land subsidence. These funds will support vitally needed jobs for coal community residents while restoring our nation’s most valuable resources,” said Owens.
In 2021, OSMRE also distributed more than $1 million through the Watershed Cooperative Agreement Program. The program that supports watershed restoration efforts by providing funds to small watershed organizations to reclaim watersheds affected by Acid Mine Drainage.