Press release: Funding available to reclaim long-abandoned mining land in Indiana

The following was sent to the Bloomingtonian Wednesday:

For immediate release: December 20, 2023

Funding available to reclaim long-abandoned mining land
Indiana DNR received nearly $25 million for reclamation in FY23

In federal fiscal year 2023, Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) received nearly $24.7 million in federal funding to reclaim more former coal mines to their pre-mining status.

Hoosiers who own such property are encouraged to report it to the DNR — even if you don’t want the work done right away.

This funding is part of $377 million Indiana will receive over 15 years to reclaim former mine land and builds upon the historic funding Indiana received in fiscal year 2022.

Reclamation is the process by which adverse safety, health, and environmental effects of unregulated legacy mines are minimized and mined lands are returned to a beneficial end use. In Indiana, more than 2,000 reclamation projects have been completed since 1982 on both public and private lands.

“Over the last 41 years, Indiana has worked to actively reclaim thousands of acres of former mine land, opening this space for new uses,” said Kit Turpin, assistant director for the DNR Division of Reclamation’s Abandoned Mine Land program (AML). “With this influx of funding, we’re continuing to reclaim more land across Indiana’s coal country.”

Because reclamation funding is distributed based on need, the AML program is cataloging future projects. Indiana’s eligibility for these federal grants depends upon the state’s inventory of abandoned mine land. To qualify for funding, the land must have been mined and abandoned prior to 1977.

Owners of such land should email their information directly to the AML program at [email protected]. They can also call 1-800-772-MINE (6463) or the Reclamation office number, 812-665-2207.

Once land is reported, an AML project manager and the landowner will review the site together to determine if the impact on the property was caused by unregulated mining. If it was, the project manager will talk with the landowner to determine what needs to be done and discuss accommodating other requests they may have to add to the reclamation design. After that, the project manager will work closely with the landowner during the design process to ensure the property’s needs are met. If the landowner approves the design, the project is put up for bid through the state public works process.

The contractor who wins the bid then completes the work under the supervision of the AML program. When the project is complete, AML conducts a meeting to assess the work and make sure all requirements and agreements have been met. Most reclamation projects can be completed within a year. 

To view more DNR news releases, please see dnr.IN.gov.

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