Manchin, Capito, McKinley Announce $140 Million To Reclaim Abandoned Mine Lands In West Virginia

Historic funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will help reinvigorate coal communities, create good-paying jobs, and clean up the environment

November 1, 2022

Charleston, WV – Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Representative David McKinley (R-WV) announced West Virginia has received $140,751,000 from the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which all three members supported, to reclaim abandoned mine lands (AML). This critical funding will help ensure the health and safety of West Virginia’s coal communities and reinvigorate the economy in impacted areas. 

“Coal communities across the country and in West Virginia have done the heavy lifting to power our great nation as America became the superpower we are today. Today’s funding announcement will help address abandoned mine lands across West Virginia and will usher in a new chapter for many of these communities. By restoring abandoned mine lands and making them safer, more inhabitable and ready for economic development, we can bring new opportunities to coal communities to help them thrive once again. As Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, I was proud to include a provision in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that prioritizes reclamation projects that employ workers in the coal industry impacted by the changing energy sector and also extended the AML fee which will ensure there is even more funding available for abandoned mine land clean-up efforts for years to come. Our brave coal miners have powered our nation for generations, and I will continue working with the Administration and my bipartisan colleagues to invest in West Virginia’s future,” said Chairman Manchin.

“Reclaiming our abandoned mine lands will help improve water quality, revitalize landscapes, and further economic development and job creation in West Virginia. I saw efforts like this firsthand earlier this year, and understand the impact of investing in these types of projects,” Senator Capito said. “I’m pleased to see that West Virginia has been awarded this funding through the bipartisan infrastructure law I helped craft and negotiate, and I look forward to the difference this investment will make in our communities.” 

“For more than a century West Virginia has provided the energy to power America. As a result, our landscape is dotted with abandoned mine sites. With nearly 200,000 acres of land in West Virginia requiring reclamation, the need outstrips the resources available. However, in the bipartisan infrastructure law we were able to secure significant investments to clean up AML sites. This funding will help restore the land, clean up streams and rivers, and lead to economic development and jobs for coal communities across the state,” said Representative McKinley.

“This funding will provide West Virginia with an amazing opportunity to clean up our water and continue working toward the elimination of the backlog of health and safety issues left by pre-1977 mining. Clean water is the centerpiece of every community in West Virginia, and we must do everything in our power to ensure everyone has access to clean water. I appreciate Rep. David McKinley for his leadership in sponsoring the STREAM Act and making sure places like West Virginia stay at the forefront of everything going on in Washington. The STREAM Act will allow West Virginia to build and maintain advanced AMD treatment plants that clean up whole watersheds. More AMD treatment also has the added benefit of recovering Rare Earth Elements and Critical Materials for our nation's manufacturing and security needs and will help make West Virginia the hub for these critical components in the modern economy. This presents a great opportunity to do a bunch of good in West Virginia,” said Governor Justice.

The historic Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provided nearly $11.3 billion in AML funding over 15 years in annual allotments to eligible States and Tribes. In West Virginia, these grants will help the State’s Department of Environmental Protection invest in projects that close dangerous mine shafts, reclaim unstable slopes, improve water quality by treating acid mine drainage, and restore water supplies damaged by mining, while providing local jobs including those for former coal workers.

Read the full release from the U.S. Department of the Interior here