Department of the Interior — Office of Surface Mining
The Office of Surface Mining (OSM) is a small bureau with responsibility, in cooperation with states and Indian tribes, for the protection of citizens and the environment during coal mining and reclamation. OSM is organized around two principal requirements: regulating active coal mining and reclaiming mines abandoned before 1977. Additionally, OSM operates programs to: eliminate the environmental and economic impacts of acid mine drainage from abandoned coal mines; encourage reforestation of reclaimed mine land; develop techniques that can ensure reclamation of prime farmland soils; and publicly recognize outstanding reclamation.
- Provides information on pre-regulatory mine site issues and development opportunities — targeted to local governments, states, tribes, quasi-public development organizations, non profits, and other entities eligible to apply for EPA Brownfields assessment and cleanup grants.
- Offers grant writing training and assistance through its Clean Streams Program — targeted to watershed groups and other entities eligible to apply for grants to support brownfield redevelopment.
- Supports the assessment, reclamation, and redevelopment of abandoned mine lands as brownfields — targeted to local governments.
Clean Streams Program
This program works to eliminate acid mine drainage from abandoned coal mines. Since its start in 1994, this program has funded 77 projects in 10 states.
Eligibility Requirements: Eligible entities include nonprofit organizations, especially small watershed groups. Applicants must have financial management and internal controls systems adequate to manage federal funds.
Limitations: Federal, state, local governments and colleges/universities are not eligible to receive funding directly, but are eligible to participate as subcontractors.
Availability: In fiscal year 2005, OSM will make $6,900,000 available to fund State Reclamation Grants, $200,000 for the Acid Drainage Technology Initiative (ADTI) and $150,000 for program management, maintenance and assistance.
Watershed Cooperative Agreement Program
The Watershed Cooperative Agreement Program makes funds available for reclamation projects to clean streams affected by acid mining drainage.
Eligibility Requirements: Eligible entities include nonprofit organizations, especially small local watershed organizations.
Availability: Applicants normally receive up to $100,000 for each reclamation project, primarily for project construction. Cooperative Agreements have a two-year performance period
- Project construction
- Administrative costs
Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Program
The program addresses threats to public health, safety and general welfare through the reclamation of environmental hazards caused by past mining practices. OSM provides training and support to watershed groups interested in brownfields application and helps them prepare grant applications for brownfields projects in coal impacted watersheds.
Eligibility Requirements: Eligible entities include: watershed groups working on properties mined prior to August 3, 1977 and limited sites mined after that.
Limitations: Each state must have an approved Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act regulatory (Title V) program and a reclamation (Title IV) program before it is eligible to receive reclamation grant funding. Tribes are allowed access to AML funds derived from reclamation fees if they have an approved reclamation program.
OSM/VISTA Watershed Development Team
OSM and the AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) program assists watershed groups in capacity-building to improve communities. The OSM/VISTA initiative can provide a watershed group with a full-time, college graduate VISTA Volunteer to support brownfields development and implementation.
Eligibility Requirements: The sponsoring watershed organization must demonstrate its capacity for effective supervision and support of the OSM/VISTA, adherence to the Core Goals for OSM/VISTAs and community support.
Limitations: There is a small cost share requirement for all OSM/VISTAs.
Availability: Complete an application form that documents the poverty of the watershed, the support of local agencies and a work plan. The position is for three years.
- Build capacity in the watershed organization
- Organize the water quality monitoring critical to future funding
- Reach out to youth and adults in their community to create awareness about watershed issues
- Engage in economic revitalization efforts
- Find funding for the revitalization efforts
Mine-Scarred Lands (MSL) Working Group
In July 2003, the MSL Working Group, which includes ARC, was established as a component of the Brownfields Federal Partnership. In order to learn about mine-scarred lands challenges and how federal, state and local entities can work together, the MSL Working Group identified six demonstration projects. State and federal partners are providing resources and assistance to the communities to expedite redevelopment and create models that other mine-scarred lands can adapt in redevelopment.
Eligibility Requirements: Six pilot projects have been selected and activities are underway.
Limitations: There are no plans for other rounds of demonstration projects. However, stakeholders interested in learning about current MSL efforts should contact OSM.
Availability: Assistance is currently being provided to the six MSL pilot projects.
- Address acid mine drainage issues associated with mine-scarred lands
- Develop economic development plans
- Attract investors and private sector stakeholders
- Coordinate acid mine drainage cleanup with other infrastructure issues (e.g. waste water systems)
Kelly’s Creek, West Virginia
Several mine-scarred land communities are located within the Kelly’s Creek watershed of West Virginia, including the towns of Monarch, Shrewsbury, Cedar Grove, Ward, Mammoth, Glasgow and Riverside. The post World War II decline of the area’s coal industry and related businesses left the watershed communities with no economic stability and residents with few transferable job skills. The Kelly’s Creek Communities Association (KCCA) was formed by local stakeholders and a partnership with the Office of Surface Mining. The purpose of the program is to inventory and prioritize brownfields in these communities and come up with a strategic redevelopment plan for the Kelly’s Creek watershed. Kelly’s Creek is one of six nationally recognized projects participating in the federal Mine-Scarred Lands Initiative, which develops model communities for mining related revitalization. This achievement highlights the benefits of interagency partnerships.
T. Allan Comp, Ph.D.
Watershed Assistance Team
Office of Surface Mining
Department of the Interior - Room 121
Washington, DC 20240
Main Website: http://www.osmre.gov