Federal Funds Help State Clean Up Abandoned Mines

Wed May 09, 2018 - National Edition
Emily Buenzle

Projects will include putting out mine fires that have been burning underground.
Projects will include putting out mine fires that have been burning underground.

One state's mines are in for some spring cleaning. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said it plans to spend $55 million on cleaning up abandoned mines across the state.

Projects will include:

  • Treating polluted water from the mines;
  • Stabilizing mine lands that have been deemed unsafe; and
  • Putting out mine fires that have been burning underground, State Impact reported.

The funds will come from the Abandoned Mine Lands fund, a federal program that is part of the Department of the Interior. Money is collected from a fee on current coal production, State Impact reported, and goes to pay for the cleanup of mines that were created before modern environmental rules came about in the 1970s.

In April 2018, the agency said it would contribute $25 million to fund abandoned mine cleanup projects. This is part of another pilot project that also plans to boost local economies, State Impact reported.

Pennsylvania has the most amount of coal mine cleanups of any state with about $15 billion worth of work.

In a news release, the DEP said, these 12 projects will benefit from funding:

Southwestern Pennsylvania
  • Allegheny County: To extinguish the Renton underground mine fire in Plum Borough.
  • Cambria County: To reclaim the Stineman coal refuse pile in South Fork Borough, to improve water quality in the South Fork of the Little Conemaugh River and facilitate construction of a missing section of the Path of the Flood Trail.
  • Indiana County: To construct an AMD treatment plant in Buffington Township, to treat water from three underground mine pools to improve water quality in Blacklick Creek and the Kiski-Conemaugh Watershed.
  • Westmoreland County: To reclaim the Banning coal refuse pile in Rostraver Township. A solar farm is planned for the site.
  • Westmoreland County: To control mine subsidence in the town of Bradenville to stabilize and help prevent future subsidence for more than 100 homes.
  • Northwestern Pennsylvania
  • Lawrence County: To reclaim the Castlewood West abandoned surface mine in Shenango Township, eliminating a dangerous highwall.
  • Southcentral Pennsylvania
  • Blair County: To reclaim the Glen White (North Site) abandoned surface mine in Logan Township, eliminating a dangerous highwall and improving water quality in Altoona's public water supply area.
  • Northcentral Pennsylvania
  • Centre County: To reclaim the Shettleston abandoned surface mine in Snow Shoe Township, eliminating a dangerous highwall, restoring forestland through tree planting and improving recreational opportunities.
  • Clearfield County: To reclaim the Weber Run West abandoned surface mine in Cooper Township, eliminating a dangerous highwall.
  • Northumberland County: To eliminate a dangerous highwall at the Bear Valley Southwest abandoned surface mine, allowing construction of an off-road vehicle/ATV park to improve recreational opportunities in Coal and Zerbe Townships.
  • Northeastern Pennsylvania
  • Lackawanna County: To extinguish the Dolph underground mine fire in Olyphant Borough.
  • Schuylkill County: To reclaim the Oneida West abandoned surface mine in North Union Township, eliminating a dangerous highwall.

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