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Federal funding targets Pennsylvania's abandoned coal mines and economic development

A pile of coal waste.
Carolyn Kaster
A huge pile of waste coal is being remined in Shamokin, Pa., and sent to area power plants.

Pennsylvania is getting another $29 million in federal funding to clean up abandoned mines, as part of the mine cleanup projects also aimed at promoting economic development.

Sharon Buccino, principal deputy director at the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, noted that much of the coal mining in Pennsylvania was done in past decades.

“The companies aren't there and a lot of these sites, they left behind the pollution after they mined," Buccino said. "And so the abandoned mine land program is designed to address those past those legacy pollution sites.”

The Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization program — known as AMLER — was established in 2016 to address problems like clogged streams, dangerous piles of mine waste and polluted water. It’s also aimed at economic development.

“It's about creating jobs and communities," Buccino said. "And it's about improving the quality of life.”

Past projects have included the Morgan Run Recreational Facility in Clearfield County and the Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area in Northumberland County.

Along with AMLER funding, Pennsylvania is getting nearly $245 million for mine cleanup in the latest round of funding through the federal infrastructure law.

Read more from our partners, WPSU.