The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s (WVDEP) Office of Abandoned Mine Lands and Reclamation (AML) is taking applications for a portion of $25 million in grant funding available for economic development projects.
The economic development projects must be located on or adjacent to mine sites that ceased operations prior to the signing of the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) on August 3, 1977. A map of known AML sites in West Virginia can be found here.
The grant application and additional information on the grant funding is available on the WVDEP website (http://bit.ly/2vkEEpX). Completed applications are due June 15, 2018. The WVDEP is ultimately responsible for determining which projects get funded, working with an advisory committee made up of representatives from the West Virginia Department of Commerce, and the Governor’s Office. Recipients of grant funding could be announced as early as September.
Since 2016, 18 projects have received a total of $53 million dollars in grant funding through this program. Those projects are located in Boone, Clay, Kanawha, Fayette, Lincoln, Logan, Marion, Mason, McDowell, Mercer, Preston, Raleigh, and Tucker counties. The projects that received grant funding ranged from water line expansions and public sewer system improvements to new construction at a YMCA facility and development of an ATV trail.
“These vital projects will help improve the lives of people who live near or on abandoned mine land sites and will help to promote tourism and other economic development,” said WVDEP Cabinet Secretary Austin Caperton. “I encourage any group who has a plan to develop an abandoned mine land site to apply for this grant funding. Whether the project is big or small, they’re all important.”
The grant funding, provided by the federal government, is being administered by AML and all funding must be approved by the US Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Enforcement (OSMRE).