Mine-Scarred Lands Initiative Tool Kit: Privately or Publicly-Owned Properties
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Many former mine properties are owned by private land owners or the federal government. In order for their projects to move forward, some of the MSL communities have had to engage federal and private property landowners. Some considerations learned through these projects include:
- Respect the rights of the owners (i.e., do not trespass).
- Describe how the reuse will benefit the private or federal property owner. For example, by supporting the project, a coal company may improve its community relations or a redevelopment may bring it financial gains.
- Consider ways to support the land owners. For example, if the private land owner invests in the redevelopment project, the county may agree to fund associated infrastructure and provide tax incentives. The federal government is working to clean up the countrys mine-scarred lands, but due to funding limitations it can only support a limited number of projects at anytime. If it can be shown that the public supports the project and resources can be leveraged, the federal government partners may be able to prioritize the project.
- Identify possible legal considerations to ease any liability fears the land owner may have. It is helpful to develop a relationship with regulatory partners (e.g., EPA and state environmental protection departments) so they can provide an overview of liability management approaches. After initial conversations with the land owners, suggest a meeting with the regulatory partner to answer any questions the owner may have.
Be patient! Working with government or private land owners can be a lengthy and complex process.