Overview of the Issue
Abandoned coal mines can be a big problem for local fish. Over time, hazardous runoff from these mines can pollute nearby lakes, rivers and streams and have a negative impact on wildlife.
The Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Trust Fund was established in 1977 to require coal companies to pay a fee on each ton of coal mined in order to restore lands no longer in use. These abandoned mines are potential sources of hazardous materials that can leak into nearby lakes, rivers and streams, harming the ecosystem, including fisheries.
Since its inception, the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program has invested more than $5.7 billion in mitigating the hazards posed by abandoned mines. Approximately $616 million has been spent to clean up water hazards in communities across the country.