JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Natural Resources is expected to reclaim more than 10,000 acres of abandoned coal mine sites across the state.
The department recently received $5.8 million in federal funding for reclamation efforts. Missouri DNR received the funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Officials are expected to use the funding to reclaim abandoned coal mine sites, an effort to protect public safety and the environment. Reclamation is the process by which adverse environmental effects of surface mining are minimized and mined lands are returned to a beneficial end use.
End uses may include open space, wildlife habitat, agriculture or residential and commercial development. Such developments are meant to address dangerous environmental conditions and pollution from past coal mining.
“We are grateful for this funding and look forward to using it to help clean up Missouri’s abandoned coal mine sites,” said Dru Buntin, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. “It’s also a great example of our commitment to passing through nearly all of the funding we receive so it can be applied directly to protecting public health and the environment, strengthening communities and making life better for Missourians.”
Currently, there are around 10,800 acres in Missouri’s inventory that have yet to be reclaimed. Prior to the new funding, the state had completed projects to reclaim 5,034 acres of coal mines.
Missouri DNR’s Abandoned Mine Land Program will assess the state’s current inventory of abandoned coal mine sites to select and prioritize the best sites at which to use the funding for reclamation work.