Kentucky will receive nearly $47 million from the federal government to help reclaim the state’s abandoned mine lands. The money comes from a fee levied on each ton of coal mined.
The state will receive money from the federal Abandoned Mine Lands fund, which is determined by a formula mandated by the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act, or SMCRA.
When an underground or surface mine is finished extracting coal, there are environmental issues that need to be mitigated. When SMCRA became law in 1977, it included provisions for reclamation. But all over the country there are mine sites that were abandoned before 1977, and have environmental and health hazards that need to be abated.
Common problems include open mine shafts, acid mine drainage and landslides.
Kentucky is receiving nearly $47 million this year, which is a 25 percent increase from last year’s funding levels.