Cleaning up abandoned mines can help environment, create jobs in Appalachia – by Joseph Pizarchik ( – April 29, 2021)

Thousands of miles of streams across the country are running orange, contaminated by highly acidic water draining from abandoned coal mines.

Rather than supporting local economies, these abandoned sites and their pollution render water supplies and more than 850,000 acres of land unusable, while posing a risk of flooding and mudslides that could devastate entire towns.

All told, abandoned mine lands are an American infrastructure crisis. But, like many infrastructure problems, we can turn these liabilities into job-creating opportunities with investment at the scale of the problem.

President Biden’s recently released infrastructure investment package — the American Jobs Plan — recognizes that by proposing billions to clean up abandoned mines across the country.

Those same goals are reflected in bipartisan bills like the RECLAIM Act and HR1734 to reauthorize the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Fund at its current rate, the resource that has supported much of the clean up that has happened since the AML Fund was created in 1977.

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