BOONE COUNTY, W.Va. — In an effort to clean up abandoned coal mine lands and give them new life, a coalition of groups in the Appalachian region has formed.
20 former coal sites stretching across four states were mentioned in the report authored by the Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition, “Many Voices, Many Solutions: Innovative Mine Reclamation in Central Appalachia.” A highlight in the report of the sites is a mixed agriculture and renewable energy project proposed on a former strip mine in Boone County.
“We are trying to find ways to not necessarily reinvent the wheel but take what we see as best practices in different areas that would be applicable in different sites such as abandon land mine sites,” Jacob Hannah, Conservation Coordinator with Coalfield Development Corporation, said.
The Reclaiming Appalachia Coalition consists of lead organizations in four states: Appalachian Voices in Virginia, Appalachian Citizens’ Law Center in Kentucky, Coalfield Development Corporation in West Virginia, and Rural Action in Ohio, and a regional technical expert, Downstream Strategies, based in West Virginia.
Hannah noted a few examples of how they are trying to breath new life into the old mines. Because in the aftermath of a strip coal mine the area does not have fertile soil in the ground, so the group starts by using equipment to try and bust up the rocky terrain and make fertile land.