An estimated 5.5 million people in Appalachia live within 1 mile of an abandoned mine problem. These lands are supposed to be cleaned up through the federal Abandoned Mine Lands program, which covers sites left behind by coal companies before surface mining regulations were passed in 1977. But the 2021 expiration date for the fee on coal companies that funds the program is fast approaching.
We’re working with partners across the country to ensure that Congress reauthorizes this program so that cleanup of these sites will continue, and are encouraging local governments in areas saddled with safety hazards and pollution problems from these former mines to show their support for the program.
So far, Dungannon and Norton, Va., have passed resolutions asking Congress to continue funding the Abandoned Mine Land program, and more local governments will be considering resolutions throughout the winter and early spring.
Do you want your town or county to get involved? Call our Norton office at (276) 679-1691 or visit reclaimingappalachia.org/reauthorization to learn more and find out about events in your area.