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Morgan Griffith: Abandoned mine land reclamation funding

On July 31, I joined the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy in Wise County and Norton to announce the latest projects funded by the federal Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Pilot program. I fought in Washington to make sure money for Virginia was included in this program.

Money from this program goes to projects that reclaim land where mines once operated. It is intended to boost economic development

The projects we announced are funded by a second year of $10 million in funding I secured for AML reclamation in Virginia. The first round of $10 million in funding went to projects announced last year. More projects funded by this round of grant money will be announced soon, and applications are open for projects to be supported by the third round of $10 million.

In Wise, $500,000 will go to the development of a solar project that will power the Mineral Gap Data Center. In Norton, $47,420 will go to upgrade the music venue Country Cabin II.

These projects indicate the diversity of ways AML money can be applied for the purpose of economic development. Country Cabin II is a popular stop on the Crooked Road musical heritage trail, and its improvement will encourage visitors to spend their money at the site and in the surrounding area.

Construction of the solar project will create jobs, and the result will support the data center.

I am proud to have secured these funds in the federal appropriations process. I look forward to the completion of this year’s projects and the unveiling of more in the coming days.

Congressional Award

It was an honor to present Isaac Beasey of Bristol with a Congressional Award Gold Medal at my Abingdon office on August 2.

The Congressional Award was established in 1979 to encourage young people to challenge themselves and expand their horizons, both physically and mentally. Participants can be between 13.5 and 24 years of age and set goals in four areas: voluntary public service, personal development, physical fitness, and expedition/exploration. They then set out to accomplish these goals over a period of months, with a minimum amount of time each month required for bronze, silver, or gold certificates or medals.

Isaac completed his public service goal through the Boy Scouts of America, a food pantry, a mission trip to El Salvador, and a research project to help endangered wildlife. His personal development goals focused on improving his golf game. For physical fitness, he sought to run faster and lift more weight. Finally, his expedition was to Annapolis, Maryland, to learn about sailing.

Participating in the Congressional Award allows young people to develop their skills, whether in something they already enjoy or a new endeavor. It is a way to recognize them for achievement and self-discipline. If you would like to learn more about the program or register, visit

Defense Industry in the Ninth District

When I am not in Washington for votes and committee work, I frequently schedule tours of businesses in the Ninth District. These stops allow me to learn more about industries in our area, meet with constituents, and hear about what I can do to promote job creation and economic growth.

Two stops I made on July 30 highlighted manufacturing and showed how what we do in Southwest Virginia impacts the world.

My first stop was in Dublin at Mar-Bal, a manufacturer of thermoset composite components and material, including insulators for use with electrical systems. While on the tour, I noticed one worker in particular busy finishing an insulator product.

The next stop was at ABB in Bland. Some of its products support the U.S. Navy’s aircraft carriers. At this location, I noticed that they were using the same insulator product I had seen at Mar-Bal.

Defense is an industry often associated with Virginia, but not necessarily our part of it. Yet important components for military equipment are made right here. Our Navy’s aircraft carriers are among the most formidable weapons systems ever devised, and they display America’s military might across the globe. It is heartening to think about this Southwest Virginian contribution to the national defense.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office.  You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.

augusta free press
augusta free press