Utah will receive $1.75 million from the federal government for the state's coal mine reclamation efforts, Gov. Norm Bangerter has announced.
Most of the money from the U.S. Department of the Interior, $1.26 million, is earmarked for state inspection of active coal mines. The rest, $491,000, will be used to restore areas scarred by abandoned coal mines.Some of the money, about $365,000, was left over from federal grants awarded in previous years. The money will pay for the salaries of 33 state employees as well as other program expenses through June 1989.
Through an agreement with the Interior Department's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation, Utah is responsible for overseeing coal mining operations on federal land as well as elsewhere throughout the state.
The larger of the two grants awarded will be used to reimburse the state for its inspection and enforcement expenses on federal lands as well as half its expenses on non-federal lands. Most of the state's 33 mines are on federal land.
The smaller grant will go toward the state's abandoned mine reclamation program, which had been awarded $1.6 million in federal funds last March for five projects, including sites in the Wasatch National Forest.
Utah has received a total of $9.4 million in federal money for the abandoned mine reclamation program, which restores abandoned coal mines to their original condition, making them both more attractive and safer.
Money for the grant fund is collected from coal operators at a rate of 15 cents per ton for coal mined underground.