FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 20, 2022) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that Kentucky has been awarded more than $74 million through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to create jobs and clean up hazards left by historic mining such as subsidence, slides, open portals, refuse piles and mine seam fires.
The $74,252,680 award, issued through the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), is the first of 15 years of BIL funding that will go to the Energy and Environment Cabinet’s Division of Abandoned Mine Lands (DAML). The funding will also be used to rebuild ailing water infrastructure and to address water supply issues.
“This grant will go a long way to help close dangerous mine shafts, reclaim unstable slopes and improve water quality,” Gov. Beshear said. “This will attract new industry to the region while creating good-paying jobs for many, including engineers, environmental experts, GIS specialists, geologists and contractors and their crews.”
Last year, DAML completed 70 projects at almost $9 million. This grant will allow the agency to more than double the number of projects completed each year. The funding also will enable DAML to revive its Water Supply Replacement Program (WSRP), which provides clean water to areas impacted by historic mining.
“We have already held workshops so that contractors can hit the ground running,” Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Rebecca Goodman said. “There is much work to be done.”
Land and water problems that are eligible to receive BIL funding in Kentucky are those affected by coal mining that ceased before May 18, 1982.
Earlier this week, OSMRE announced that Kentucky’s AML program received the 2022 AML Reclamation Appalachian States Award for work at the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area in McCreary County. The $1.6 million project reopened a portion of the Big South Fork Railway that had been closed due to unstable track and ensured the safety of more than 22,000 passengers who ride the line annually.