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DOI announces $300M in funding for states, tribes to reclaim abandoned mines

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement announced $300.7 million in funding for 28 coal-producing states and tribes to reclaim abandoned coal mines in 2018.

"This money will be used to fix highwalls, stabilize land above underground mines, and repair impaired waters, among other things," U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke said in a Feb. 24 release.

The funding increased by roughly $120 million compared to 2017, which is a result of a phase-in period for states and tribes to receive certified in lieu funds that were withheld under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act between the 2009 and 2011 fiscal years.

Wyoming received the largest amount of funding, at $91.3 million, followed by Pennsylvania with $55.7 million, and West Virginia with $36.3 million.

States and tribes that have certified the completion of their abandoned mine land reclamation obligations will receive $61 million in 2018 and 2019, in addition to the certified in lieu funds they otherwise receive each year from the U.S. Treasury. Those states that have not been certified will also receive an increase of the same amount in those years, according to the release.