The U.S. Department of Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement has granted the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining $1.75 million to administer the state's active and abandoned coal mine reclamation programs.
About $1.26 million is earmarked for Utah's regulatory program covering reclamation inspections at active coal mines, and $491,000 is targeted for abandoned mine land reclamation programs, said Secretary of the Interior Donald Hodel.Utah has regulatory authority for coal mining operations of federal and non-federal lands. The state will be reimbursed for its inspection and enforcement expenses on all federal lands and half on non-federal lands. The majority of the 33 inspectable coal mines are on federal lands.
"Utah has the lead role in enforcement and on-the-ground inspections as well as reclaiming abandoned mines," Hodel said. "We are working together to ensure sound coal mining followed by good land reclamation, while protecting the environment."
The $491,000 grant will pay for all of the state's costs for operating its program to reclaim abandoned mines. Utah was also awarded $1.6 million in March for five mine reclamation projects, raising the total amount of money the state has received to restore land and water resources to $9.4 million.