Ohio Secures $46 Million Federal Funding to Combat Coal Mining Pollution

Ohio is gearing up to receive a substantial $46 million boost from the federal government to address the long-standing pollution issues stemming from decades of coal mining. This funding is part of a larger $725 million package allocated by the Biden Administration to more than two dozen states under the Abandoned Mine Land program.

Enabled by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed in 2021, this funding aims to tackle environmental degradation, minimize the threat of landslides, and improve drinking water quality in areas affected by coal mining.

Eric Dixon, a senior researcher at the Ohio River Valley Institute, stressed the importance of cleaning up old mine sites to ensure they are safe for public use.

“By restoring these areas, we can transform them into places where everyone can enjoy without worrying about hazards like abandoned mineshafts or unreclaimed strip mines,” Dixon emphasized.

This injection of federal funds marks the third round of investments in abandoned mine land reclamation as part of the Infrastructure Law. Advocates are pushing for the creation of well-paying, unionized jobs through the expansion of reclamation efforts.

“The Biden administration has stressed the need for these remediation jobs to be high-quality union jobs,” Dixon highlighted, pointing to recent union contracts awarded in states like Kentucky and Ohio.

State agencies will oversee the distribution of funds for projects aimed at sealing dangerous mine shafts, stabilizing slopes prone to collapse, and addressing water pollution caused by acid mine drainage. These agencies will identify and design reclamation projects before contracting construction firms to carry out the work.

According to Appalachian Voices, mountaintop-removal mining has devastated approximately one million acres in central and southern Appalachia, underscoring the urgent need for remediation efforts.

The investment in cleaning up legacy pollution not only improves environmental conditions but also holds the potential to stimulate economic growth in affected communities.

As Ohio and other states embark on these cleanup endeavors, they aspire to create safer, healthier environments for residents while breathing new life into local economies.

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