ILLINOIS—Illinoiswillreceive more than $75 million from the U.S. Department of Interior to help clean up abandoned coal mines, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Monday.
“This new federal funding will help clean up abandoned mines across our state, creating jobs and keeping our communities safe,” Pritzker said in a statement.
The federal money will be directed to projects where environmental hazards associated with abandoned mines have been detected. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) Abandoned Mine Lands Program oversees mine reclamation.
Currently, Illinois has an inventory of 590 unfunded mine reclamation projects estimated to cost at least $156 million.
Long-forgotten and abandoned mines have been inventoried throughout the state, usually on private property. To be considered abandoned, a former mine property must have no
responsible party and no mining activity since 1978.
“Everyone knows about Illinois’ history as a mining colossus, but fewer people are aware of what happens on the back end after these once- bustling industrial sites shut down,” said Colleen Callahan, natural resources director. “This money is a welcome boost for the department because Illinois has a large amount of abandoned mine acreage and problem areas that need to be addressed so that we can protect our land and water.”
To date, the state’s Abandoned Mine Lands Program has completed more than 2,300 projects, addressed more than 670 mine sites, and reclaimed nearly 9,400 acres of land at a cost of $231 million.
In addition, more than 1,200 mine openings have been sealed, 907 hazardous tipple structures removed and nearly 6,000 acres of gob and slurry and 1,900 acres of spoil stabilized, and 1,400 acres of affected landandwaterrestored.