Repairing the Damage: The costs of delaying reclamation at modern-era mines
Central Appalachia may be facing a new wave of abandoned mines as more companies declare bankruptcy and desert their cleanup responsibilities. Despite a federal law, some states have not set aside enough money to guarantee mine reclamation in the face of widespread bankruptcy.
Reclaiming Justice Family-owned Coal Mines Could Create Hundreds of Jobs Across Appalachia, an October 2021 Appalachian Voices report, estimates that there is enough outstanding reclamation liability on coal mines owned by West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and/or his adult children to employ 220 to 460 workers for five years.
In our report, “Repairing the Damage: The costs of delaying reclamation at modern-era mines,” we examine the total outstanding amount of reclamation still needed at mountaintop removal and other coal mines from seven Eastern states, as well as the staggering estimated costs of that cleanup. Our examination determined that over 633,000 acres of coal mines across seven Eastern states require cleanup, with an estimated price tag of $7.5 to $9.8 billion.
This report, produced by Appalachian Voices, is the third paper in the Repairing the Damage series. The full report document was updated July 12, 2021.