Abandoned Mine Lands
Pennsylvania’s history with coal goes back well over 100 years, long before safeguards and restoration requirements were put in place. Abandoned mines pose hazards in Pennsylvania of dangerous shafts, mountains of black waste, scarred landscapes, acidic drainages polluting more than 4,000 miles of our streams and other hazards threatening human health and safety and depressing local economies. At least 44 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties are affected by abandoned coal mines, and 1.4 million Pennsylvanians live within one mile of abandoned mine lands.
Abandoned mines and abandoned mine lands create negative impacts on local economies by destroying recreational opportunities, lowering land values, leaving desolate communities once the mines are exhausted and ruining sites for further residential, forestry, commercial or agricultural uses, and threaten the human health and safety of people living in our coal field communities. Reclamation of abandoned mine sites can add to the economy by creating jobs, increasing community pride, increasing property values, decreasing stress-related costs through stream-based recreation, restoring the health of the environment and providing future sites for commercial or industrial endeavors.
WPC supports the STREAM Act (S.3957 and H.R.7283) which would enable Pennsylvania to use its share of the $11.3 billion included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 to be set aside and used for treating abandoned mine drainage in addition to other priorities.