Environmental due diligence is a critical component of any property transaction where potential environmental risks are a concern—minimize risks and protect yourself from...
The Interior Department is spending $26 million to clean up an abandoned mine site and help trigger economic growth in western Pennsylvania, agency officials said Aug. 4.
The department said it sees the project as a jumping-off point for future efforts, similar to those envisioned in the Obama administration's Power+ Plan and the RECLAIM Act sponsored by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), both of which have stalled.
The three-year project will turn 2.4 million yards of coal waste in Ehrenfeld, Pa., into backfill for abandoned coal mine pits. That land will then be regraded, reseeded and mulched to promote the growth of new vegetation, Interior said.
The project includes plans for a parking area that will allow hikers and bikers to more easily access a National Park Service trail. The parking plan will also bring economic opportunities to the area, according to Interior.
Of the project's $26 million budget, $3.5 million is set aside for pilot project funding, with the remainder being used for land reclamation.
In its current state, acid drainage from the Ehrenfeld site leaks into the Little Conemaugh River, and a five-acre section of the waste that had been burning has degraded air quality, DOI said. Moreover, 150 residences are located within 500 feet of the waste pile. One home is only 20 feet away.
“While there are no silver bullets for solving the environmental and economic difficulties in Appalachia or other struggling coal regions in the United States, we have a moral commitment to assist hardworking and increasingly hard-pressed coal country residents in transitioning to a more sustainable economic future,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement. “The Ehrenfeld project is one example of how we can work together to make strong and smart investments in coal communities that not only put people back to work but restore our lands and waters to benefit the health and well-being of these communities.”
The Ehrenfeld effort is the first outgrowth of a larger program, known as the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization (AMLER) Pilot Program, that provides $30 million each to Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky for reclamation and economic development.
Congress approved AMLER in late 2015 as part of the 2016 omnibus spending bill.
When Pennsylvania's entire $30 million disbursement is spent, that money is expected to generate $123 million in economic development benefits, Interior said. Projects will include new roads, new water lines, reconfigured historic mine shafts and expanded infrastructure.
Both the Power+ Plan and the RECLAIM Act propose $1 billion to states over five years from the existing abandoned mine land fund to promote job growth and economic redevelopment, while simultaneously reclaiming old mines.
Ehrenfeld, located 70 miles east of Pittsburgh, is home to an underground mine that operated from 1903 to 1971.
“Smart, sustained, collaborative investment in coal country makes a real difference in people's lives—in the well-being and prosperity of communities,” said Joe Pizarchik, head of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, which will manage the pilot project grants. “The men and women who worked in the coalfields were there for our country in good times and bad; now our country should be there for them. Sustaining our efforts and accelerating investments will help meet these vital obligations.”
The text of the RECLAIM Act (H.R. 4456) is available at https://www.congress.gov/114/bills/hr4456/BILLS-114hr4456ih.pdf .
More information on the Power+ Plan is available at http://src.bna.com/hta .
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)