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Mine-Scarred Lands Initiative Tool Kit: Project Examples and Resources Related to Privately or Publicly-Owned Properties

Project Examples

Engaging Private Land Owners:
The Kelly’s Creek Project
Kelly’s Creek, West Virginia is a community approximately 20 miles from Charleston, West Virginia that is hoping to develop residential housing and a retirement community on a portion of a 3,000-acre privately-owned property. Representatives from the project team held a meeting with the private owners to provide an overview of the project. They developed an overview of the project fact sheet (PDF) (555 K, 2 pp, About PDF) that focused on the owner’s needs. The project team described how redeveloping this property would be a significant financial benefit to the owner, especially since the land did not appear to be mineable in the future. Additionally, there is a need for residential housing for Charleston’s workforce and the number of retirees is projected to increase significantly in the coming years. A study conducted by an Office of Surface Mining (OSM) intern gave preliminary ideas on where this housing could be sited.

At the time of these initial conversations, the community had resources to support an environmental assessment of the proposed redevelopment area and a market feasibility study to further assess the projected costs and benefits of the project. The county, federal and state partners were willing to provide significant support in developing the necessary infrastructure, including a wastewater treatment system that is very expensive. Negotiations are currently underway with the private owner.

Working with a Federal Land Owner:
The San Juan County Project
San Juan County has been working closely with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to undergo a land trade that would consolidate the current checkerboard land ownership. This will make it easier to accomplish reuse goals such as protecting historic mining features, developing camping facilities, removing mining impacts on wetlands, and restoring natural functions to the floodplain. BLM has spent more than $500,000 on site investigation associated with the land trade and has supported two interns to help develop the revitalization plan and apply for a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Targeted Brownfields Assessment Grant.

Easing Private Owner Liability Fears:
The Beatty Renewable Energy Project
Barrick Gold, Inc, the former owner of the Bullfrog Mine, transferred 81 acres of former mine property to the Beatty Economic Development Corporation. Before the property transaction took place, an EPA Targeted Brownfields Assessment was conducted to ensure there were no contamination issues at the site. The Nye County Natural Resources Office and EPA held several conversations with Barrick Gold managers to assure them that the future use of the property would not pose a liability risk to the former mine operator. In the end, restrictions were included in the deed to prevent certain uses of the land.

During the conversations with Barrick Gold managers, the project team described how the transaction would benefit Barrick. For example, a renewable energy project may make it feasible for them to develop renewable energy on their remaining adjacent properties. Their corporation has gas-fired generation plants elsewhere and could use the renewable energy credits.

Resources

GeoCommunicator
This site enables the user to search and map federally-owned lands

 

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