Rep. Cartwright, Advocates Highlight Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act Funding for Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation

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U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (PA-08) today was joined by local partners following the enactment of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to begin discussions on efforts to reclaim and clean up abandoned mine lands (AML) in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was signed into law on November 15, 2021 with Rep. Cartwright’s support, will create good-paying American jobs, heal scarred land and clean polluted water. It includes $21 billion for addressing Legacy Pollution and will clean up brownfield and superfund sites, reclaim abandoned mine lands and plug orphan oil and gas wells.

Rep. Cartwright speaking at the press conference.

Pennsylvania has more unreclaimed abandoned mine land acreage than any other state in the country and represents 40.7% of the country’s reclamation costs. Funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will support the reclamation of AML sites in Pennsylvania with nearly $3.8 billion coming directly to the Commonwealth. An estimate of each state’s recipient amount can be viewed HERE.

“With these funds, we will be able to reclaim our land and water from mine run-off, protect and create jobs and grow our economy. And to do it, we need our public and private partners to be talking to these three folks and their peers who are familiar with the work and who know our needs,” said Rep. Cartwright. “We need municipal and county leaders and landowners to get involved. We need them to help identify places for remediation or ask if they have a mine running under them and how they can give these environmental remediation efforts access.”

Rep. Cartwright also noted that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will improve the environment by reducing the air and water pollution caused by AML sites and the effort to protect the people, homes, businesses and infrastructure currently at risk. He highlighted the economic development activities that are likely to result from the reclamation efforts and the impact it will have on Northeastern Pennsylvania’s growing economy.

Rep. Cartwright was joined today by Bobby Hughes, Executive Director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR), along with other advocates. EPCAMR has long been engaged in advocacy to clean up the AML sites in Northeastern Pennsylvania and welcomes the funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

“EPCAMR is interested in continuing to develop positive relationships and open dialogue with private landowners and entities across NE PA that may or may not be aware that their land and associated mine water pollution from AMD could be eligible for funding under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. No shovels will get put into the ground or funds put on the table without the consent of the landowner where these historic problem areas and features are located in our coalfield communities,” said Bobby Hughes, Executive Director, Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR).

“We want to help facilitate access agreements, conduct water quality and flow monitoring, connect landowners with private companies interested in reclamation and mine water cleanup, advocate for clean energy alternative projects such as solar or mine pool geothermal projects, ensure that any liability concerns are addressed and resolved, navigate potential funding sources, and work with them to restore our watersheds impacted by past mining practices. We will continue to advocate for opportunists to create job opportunities and economic development through infrastructure investments in clean water from polluted abandoned mine drainage (AMD) and reuse of these abandoned mine lands for manufacturing and mixed use industrial or commercial development, in addition to warehouse distribution centers.”

A group of people standing next to a sign

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Left to right: Charlie Medico – Medico Industries, Inc.; Bernie McGurl – Executive Director, Lackawanna River Conservation Association; Bob Durkin – President & CEO, Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce; Rep. Cartwright; R. John Dawes (back)  – Executive Director, Foundation for PA Watersheds; Lindsey Griffin – Executive Vice-President & CEO, Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce; Bobby Hughes – Executive Director, EPCAMR; Michael Hewitt – EPCAMR.

Learn more about the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act HERE.