Abandoned Mine Land
The division has several programs to address problems resulting from mining that occurred prior to enactment of today’s stricter reclamation requirements.
Staff engineers and project managers design and oversee the reclamation of a variety of hazardous or environmentally degrading mine-land problems, including mine openings, landslides, highwalls, erosion, toxic spoil, subsidence, and acid mine drainage.
The Federal AML Program is completely supported by federal grants derived from fees on every ton of coal mined in the U.S. The program emphasizes the elimination of health and safety hazards left by mining operations prior to May, 1977. A Federal Emergency Program has been created to expedite reclamation when an immediate danger exists.
A separately funded State AML Program, using funds from a severance tax on Ohio mine operators, completes environmental-reclamation projects in areas affected by mining prior to April, 1972.
Reclamation is achieved by means of cost sharing, direct contracting, and state-initiated projects. When possible, acid soils or partially reclaimed land is reforested. Program staff members also work with active mine operators to encourage remining abandoned mine land to eliminate toxic lands and reduce acid mine drainage at limited or no cost to the state.
Through the Acid Mine Drainage (AMD) Abatement Program, the division assists public efforts to restore the quality of water resources in communities impacted by acid mine drainage. Partnerships are formed with watershed groups, government agencies, and private industry. The division provides funding and implements construction projects to restore mine-impacted watersheds. View the 2011 annual report for AMD watershed restoration and long term water quality improvements achieved.