Northam announces $10 million in economic development grants for Virginia’s coalfields
Governor Ralph Northam announced the third round of funding through the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Pilot Program. The $10 million in economic development grants is available for projects in southwest Virginia that reclaim abandoned mine land features while continuing to help diversify the economy of the region.
“The Abandoned Mine Land Pilot Program’s $10 million in additional grant funding will be used to repurpose old mine land and build upon the innovative economic development models in Virginia’s coalfield region,” said Governor Northam. “Through the first two rounds of grants, we awarded funds to several impressive projects in areas that include manufacturing, agriculture, tourism, outdoor recreation, site development, and renewable energy generation. I look forward to seeing the new and exciting plans that will come forward through this third round of grant dollars.”
The Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) will oversee the grants, which are funded through the federal Power Plus Pilot Program. Projects completed with the funds should be designed to boost the economy through strategies that include job creation, infrastructure improvements, broadband access, agriculture, and an increase in tourism in southwest Virginia’s coalfields. Projects must also improve the environment through the reclamation of historic mining features.
“The flexibility of this program provides for some very broad and unique economic development projects,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball. “We look forward to funding new projects that will increase revenue in the coalfields through development of new business models and expansion of the region’s tremendous natural tourism assets.”
“There are a number of historic mine features in the southwest Virginia counties,” said DMME Director John Warren. “Because there are so many, these grants offer considerable flexibility in locating potential projects. We are c happy to be able to offer this development opportunity and combine it with the opportunity to reclaim more historic mine sites along the way.”
An advisory group made up of state and local economic development leaders will review all proposals and submit the selected projects to the Office of Surface Mining for final approval. For additional information about the pilot program and the project application process, which will be announced later this summer, please visit the DMME AML website.