Cartwright highlights funding for abandoned mine land reclamation

SCRANTON — U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright Wednesday said Pennsylvania has more unreclaimed abandoned mine land acreage than any other state in the country and represents 40.7% of the country’s reclamation costs.

Cartwright, D-Moosic, said funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will support the reclamation of AML sites in Pennsylvania with nearly $3.8 billion coming directly to the Commonwealth.

Cartwright was joined by local partners following the enactment of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to begin discussions on efforts to reclaim and clean up abandoned mine lands (AML) in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Cartwright said the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which was signed into law on Nov. 15, “will create good-paying American jobs, heal scarred land and clean polluted water.” He said it includes $21 billion for addressing Legacy Pollution and will clean up brownfield and superfund sites, reclaim abandoned mine lands and plug orphan oil and gas wells.

“With these funds, we will be able to reclaim our land and water from mine run-off, protect and create jobs and grow our economy,” Cartwright said. “And to do it, we need our public and private partners to be talking to these three folks and their peers who are familiar with the work and who know our needs. We need municipal and county leaders and landowners to get involved. We need them to help identify places for remediation or ask if they have a mine running under them and how they can give these environmental remediation efforts access.”

Lindsey Griffin, Executive Vice-President & CEO, Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce., said the $3.8 billion to be invested into the Commonwealth brings incredible economic and environmental opportunities into Northeastern PA to reclaim and clean up our abandoned mine lands.

“Not only will funding like this give a pathway to several current initiatives, it will provide opportunities for future development in our communities to address long standing environmental issues in an effort to build a sustainable future,” Griffin said. “This will include business and job creation and an ability to enhance tourism and recreation, while significantly enhancing the quality of life in NEPA.”

Griffin thanked Cartwright and all of the partners for their dedication and commitment to projects like this which will bring significant transformation to the area.

“Our Chamber is here to act as a connector and resource hub to connect businesses and community members with available resources and information on this funding,” Griffin said.

Cartwright also noted that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will improve the environment by reducing the air and water pollution caused by AML sites and the effort to protect the people, homes, businesses and infrastructure currently at risk. He highlighted the economic development activities that are likely to result from the reclamation efforts and the impact it will have on Northeastern Pennsylvania’s growing economy.

Cartwright was joined today by Bobby Hughes, Executive Director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR), along with Charlie Medico, Medico Industries, Inc.; Bernie McGurl, Executive Director, Lackawanna River Conservation Association; Bob Durkin, President/CEO, Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce; John Dawes, Executive Director, Foundation for PA Watersheds; and Lindsey Griffin, Executive Vice-President & CEO, Greater Wyoming Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“No shovels will get put into the ground or funds put on the table without the consent of the landowner where these historic problem areas and features are located in our coalfield communities.” Hughes said. “We will continue to advocate for opportunists to create job opportunities and economic development through infrastructure investments in clean water from polluted abandoned mine drainage (AMD) and reuse of these abandoned mine lands for manufacturing and mixed use industrial or commercial development, in addition to warehouse distribution centers.”

Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.

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