MACOUPIN COUNTY, Ill. – The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Abandoned Mine Land Program and Amanda Pankau, senior energy campaign coordinator with Prairie Rivers Network, visited abandoned mine land and acid mine drainage sites. Amanda is tasked by the Interagency Working Group on Coal and Power Plant Communities and Economic Revitalization to identify projects that help communities realize the benefit of clean, renewable energy and address the legacy impacts of coal mining and fossil fuels on the environment in the Illinois coal basin.
The group toured four abandoned mine land and acid mine drainage sites in Illinois: Superior Washer, Consolidated Number 7 & 15, Mount Olive and Livingston #1.
At the Superior Washer abandoned mine land reclamation site, the team met to determine the needs of the community when prioritizing upcoming Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding for projects and begin outreach efforts.
“This exchange is one of many beginnings that will lead to future partnerships with the community to better understand their needs and prioritize the projects that will bring the most benefit to all affected by the legacy impacts of abandoned coal mine lands," said Tiff Hilton, OSMRE abandoned mine land and regulatory program specialist.
The sites were chosen for the visit because the previous land reclamation had, over time, developed acidic discharges. This costly, damaging and low priority environmental impact can now be remediated due to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding.
“The tour allowed the state program to communicate some of its thoughts on how it wants to proceed with projects like these, while also receiving feedback from Prairie Rivers Network," said Derick Jones, OSMRE AML and regulatory program specialist. “Prairie Rivers Network is interested in what role they can play to make the expenditure of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds as successful and beneficial as possible for the community.”
Visit https://www.osmre.gov/programs/watersheds to learn more about acid mine drainage and watersheds.