The Biden-Harris administration on Wednesday announced a $22.79 million investment to create well-paying union jobs and create economic opportunity by recovering abandoned landmines in Virginia.
Part of the $725 million in fiscal year 2022 funding the U.S. Department of the Interior has made available to 22 states and the Navajo Nation, according to a press release, the investment comes from the President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure.
Biden’s law will clean up dangerous sites and address environmental injustices, including $11.3 billion in funding for abandoned landmines over the next 15 years, which will be facilitated by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). ).
“Thanks to President Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure act, we have a once-in-a-generation investment to address legacy pollution. The rehabilitation landscape of tomorrow presents endless opportunities for innovation, efficiency and partnership,” said US Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said in the press release. “These funds will support much-needed jobs, creating opportunities for local workers in their own communities. And once these sites are cleared, they become part of the foundations for new economic development.
The press release said millions of Americans lived within a mile of an abandoned coal mine or an orphan oil and gas well. With $16 billion in historic investments in Legacy Pollution, new opportunities to revitalize abandoned landmine areas will be created.
Jobs will be created by investing in projects to close dangerous mine shafts, reclaim unstable slopes, improve water quality by treating acid mine drainage and restore water supplies damaged by the mining. The law requires dislocated coal industry workers to be employed in project prioritization.
The funding will enable states to address methane leaks, a key driver of climate change. Biden’s law investments will complement annual grants that fund coal miners and provide funding through 2034. More than $8 billion has been provided by OSMRE to reclaim land and water that has been mined and affected by mining prior to 1977, when the Surface Mines Control and Reclamation Act was approved by Congress.