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Reports on Wyoming State Government Activity

Funding for cleanup of abandoned coal mines approved by Gov. Gordon

 A coal plant belches out steam on a snowy day.
Caitlin Tan
/
Wyoming Public Media
A coal plant belches out steam on a snowy day in Kemmerer.

This story is part of our new Quick Hits series. This series will bring you breaking news and short updates from throughout the state.

A bill that will fund the cleanup of abandoned coal mines in Wyoming was signed into law by Gov. Mark Gordon this month.

It creates a long-term abandoned mine reclamation account that is funded by federal and state dollars meant for infrastructure investment.

The bill allows for the new account to fund the costs of building, rehabilitating and operating acid mine drainage treatment systems.

Abandoned coal mines can sometimes leak acidic drainage, the result of rainwater or snowmelt mixing with minerals below the surface.

That drainage can hurt nearby watersheds and the environment.

The legislation also allows for the funds to be used to prevent and control coal mine fires.

More than 100,000 acres of mine lands are currently being reclaimed through the state’s Department of Environmental Quality.

This account could help speed that process up.

Coal mining has been ongoing in Wyoming since 1865.

This reporting was made possible by a grant from the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, supporting state government coverage in the state. Wyoming Public Media and Jackson Hole Community Radio are partnering to cover state issues both on air and online.

Chris Clements is a state government reporter and digital media specialist for Wyoming Public Media based in Laramie. He came to WPM from KSJD Radio in Cortez, Colorado, where he reported on Indigenous affairs, drought, and local politics in the Four Corners region. Before that, he graduated with a degree in English (Creative Writing) from Arizona State University. Chris's news stories have been featured on KUNC, NPR newscasts, and National Native News, among others.

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