New Mexico – U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman today announced that the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) is releasing $4.56 million to restore abandoned mine lands in New Mexico. Additionally, the Navajo Nation will receive $6.7 million for mine reclamation.
"Mining has been, and continues to be, an important part of New Mexico's economy. This funding will help restore land mines that are no longer in use and help ensure they are restored to a safe condition," Bingaman said.
Uses of the funds include correcting environmental damage from past mining, reclaiming steep and unstable slopes, improving water quality by treating acid mine drainage, and restoring water supplies damaged by mining.
The grant, which is funded in part by a reclamation fee levied on the tonnage of coal produced in the United States, allow state and tribal Abandoned Mine Land (AML) programs to eliminate health and safety hazards caused by past coal mining.