Mine land program has $10 million in fed grants available

The Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mine Lands is seeking economic and community development proposals that will attract new industry and jobs to the state’s Appalachian counties.

It was announced Tuesday that the 2021 Abandoned Mine Land Pilot Program has $10 million in federal grant money available through the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement and the Kentucky Division of Abandoned Mine Lands, or AML, for projects at historic coal mining sites that will create long-term economic benefits.

Gov. Andy Beshear said the pilot program, now in its sixth year, has a proven record of growing jobs, improving infrastructure, and providing an economically sustainable future for communities.

“Many Eastern Kentucky communities are already seeing the benefits of this program,” he stated.  “One of the best ways to improve the health of the Appalachian region and build a better Kentucky, is to create more stable, good-paying jobs like the ones these projects can provide.”

Since 2020, the Beshear administration has recommended 11 projects in 10 Appalachian counties totaling almost $25 million in AML pilot funding for federal approval. These projects will improve community water systems, provide job training, enable industrial park growth, and encourage Eastern Kentucky tourism.

Since the program began in 2016, 54 projects in 21 counties have been selected for the AML pilot funding.

They include the HCTC utility training program for lineman and crane operation in Leslie County, a Knott-Perry water interconnect and storage tank in Knott County, the Dajcor aluminum extrusion project in Perry County, the Pinnacle Park industrial development in Martin County, the King’s Daughters Health System expansion in Boyd County, and increasing the chemotherapy treatment area at Pikeville Medical Center’s Leonard Lawson Cancer Center by 7,000 square feet.

Fifth District Congressman Hal Rogers, R-Somerset, has championed $540 million in federal funding for the AML Pilot program, of which $130 million has been awarded to Kentucky.

“So far, we’ve seen local leaders leverage these grants to strengthen our infrastructure, revamp tourism, enhance access to health care, expand workforce opportunities, and much more,” said Congressman Rogers. “As we continue to work together, investing in quality projects, we are paving the way for a brighter future in Kentucky’s Appalachian region.”

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet is accepting applications in the 54 eligible coal counties through June 30.  For more details, go to AMLPILOT.