Abandoned Coal Mining Clean Up in Appalachia to Cost Billions
AP reported that the clean up and reclaiming of coal mines in seven Appalachian states will cost billions, and Kentucky and West Virginia have the largest bills coming due. According to estimates in the report by Appalachian Voices, total reclamation liability for the two states is between USD 4.1 and USD 5.8 billion, with less than half of that covered by existing bonds. The seven states, which a include Alabama, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, have about 633,000 acres in need of reclamation.
The report, titled "Repairing the Damage: The Costs of Delaying Reclamation at Modern-Era Mines," draws attention to the funding gap, which could cause environmental damage, water contamination and pose safety hazards if mines aren't cleaned up. It said “As the coal mining industry has declined over the last decade, corporate bankruptcies have increased, and "large-scale mine abandonment by several companies has occurred in Kentucky and West Virginia. As more coal companies declare bankruptcy, fewer companies remain to take over mines, so the number of companies forfeiting reclamation bonds and deserting their clean up responsibilities will only increase.”