WPC Helps Secure $1.4 Billion to Restore Pennsylvania’s Abandoned Mine Land

n December 2006, the 109th Congress passed a massive piece of legislation that included language for the reauthorization of the federal Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fund.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is proud to have played an active role in the successful and unprecedented coalition that worked diligently over the past three years to secure reauthorization. The Pennsylvania AML coalition was made up of more than 200 watershed groups and conservation organizations, that worked with members of Congress, the United Mine
Workers of America, the coal industry, and eastern and western coal producing states to find a solution that satisfied all of the stakeholders.

This fund is the single most important source of federal dollars to clean up land and waters impacted by old, abandoned mines. Pennsylvania has the worst abandoned mine land (AML) problem in the nation with more than 5,000 abandoned mine sites encompassing 250,000 acres. Acidic drainage from abandoned mines has resulted in 4,600 miles of biologically dead streams. Many of WPC’s priority conservation areas are impacted by abandoned mines and the related acidic drainage.

Moreover, the sites are often dangerous with high walls, flooded pits and open mine mouths creating enormous human safety hazards. Approximately 1.4 million Pennsylvanians live within a mile of an abandoned mine land site.

It was crucial that the fund be continued and that Pennsylvania’s share be commensurate with the enormity of its AML problems. The AML fund is now fully authorized for the next 15 years and will provide Pennsylvania with $1.4 billion in desperately needed dollars to restore our lands and waters within our lifetimes. WPC is part of a coalition that will continue in the process as a non-governmental voice ensuring oversight on the spending and usage of the fund.






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