Alabama Dept. of Labor taking applications for abandoned mine land development funding
Alabama Secretary of Labor Fitzgerald Washington has announced that the department’s Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Program has opened the third round of applications for $10 million in grant funding available for AML-related economic development projects.
Applications will be accepted through 4:00 p.m. CST on April 6, 2020.
Eligible economic development projects must be located on or adjacent to coal mine sites that ceased operations prior to the signing of the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) on August 3, 1977.
Counties eligible for projects include: Bibb, Blount, Cherokee, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Shelby, St. Clair, Tuscaloosa, Walker and Winston.
The grant funding, provided by the federal government, is being administered by the Alabama Department of Labor’s AML Program, and all funding must be approved by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation, and Enforcement (OSMRE).
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL), the powerful chair of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, managed to get Alabama added to the program after it was initially created. It should also be noted that the Shelby-negotiated Fiscal Year 2020 federal budget included a total of $115 million for the program nationally.
Since 2017, three Yellowhammer State projects have already received a total of $10 million in grant funding through this program. Those projects are in Jefferson and Shelby counties and include the Southern Museum of Flight’s relocation to the Grand River Technology Park situated near Barber Motorsports and the Bass Pro Shop near Leeds; a commercial and residential development in Helena; and the expansion of the City of Vestavia Hills’ Sicard Hollow Athletic Complex. These three projects are expected to provide approximately 1,695 new jobs and generate an economic impact of $152.1 million.
Alabama applications for an additional $10 million made available in 2018 are currently under review by the OSMRE.
In a statement, Washington said, “The ADOL AML Reclamation Program has long made a significant impact on protecting the safety of the citizens of Alabama, and these new Pilot Program funds are providing opportunities to transform abandoned mine lands into doorways of economic opportunity for the future.”
“It is rewarding to see so many worthy projects get funding so that they can be an important lasting part of the economic rebuilding of the Coal Region of Alabama,” he concluded. “I again encourage any group who has a plan to develop an abandoned mine land site to apply for this grant funding. Whether the project is big or small, they’re all important.”
More information can be found here.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn