WASHINGTON, D.C. (WBOY) — $140 million in funding will help reclaim abandoned mine lands (AML) and create good-paying jobs in West Virginia, according to a release from the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The Biden-Harris Administration announced funding for the revitalization in 22 states on Oct. 31, totaling more than $725 million over 15 years.

In West Virginia, the project will clean up areas near abandoned coal mines and oil and gas wells to keep them from further polluting the environment. The goal of the project is to address legacy pollution and catalyst economic growth by reclaiming the AML. This in turn will help create “good-paying union jobs,” according to the press release.

“This is about creating vitally needed jobs in communities that have often been marginalized, both in the immediate short-term and in the years to come as these projects become part of the foundation for new economic development,” said Secretary Deb Haaland of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

It will support jobs in coal communities by investing in projects that:

  • close dangerous mine shafts
  • reclaim unstable slopes
  • improve water quality by treating acid mine drainage
  • restore water supplies damaged by mining

The reclaimed land can then be reused for recreational facilities, advanced manufacturing and renewable energy deployment, etc.

Within 15 years, funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are “expected to address the vast majority of inventoried abandoned coal mine lands in this country,” through the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.