Former Washington County mine sites receiving federal funds for reclamation

Brad Hundt

Former mine sites in the Washington County communities of Muse and Walkertown will be reclaimed as a result of federal funding, it was announced Monday.

They are two of 13 sites across Pennsylvania that will be remade through $25 million in funds from the federal Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization Program (AMLER), which is designed to speed up the reclamation of onetime mine sites and make them available for economic and community development.

At an abandoned mine site in Luzerne County Monday, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Patrick McDonnell said, “This program demonstrates that investments in environmental cleanup can have strong economic benefits to communities, creating new opportunities for recreation, land reuse, and clean energy development.”

McDonnell was joined by U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland.

The site in Muse is a 5-acre abandoned refuse pile that will be redeveloped for a storage facility business. The refuse pile will be regraded, and four abandoned mine structures will be demolished and buried onsite. The project in Walkertown, located in West Pike Run Township, involves the reclamation and regrading of a 7-acre abandoned refuse pile and the restoration of a clogged segment of the Little Pike Run stream. Once the work is completed, it will be donated to the township for recreational green space.

The other sites being funded are in Armstrong, Indiana, Clarion, Elk, Clearfield, Luzerne and Schuylkill counties.

Gov. Tom Wolf said in a news release, “These newly approved projects will bring economic opportunity and activity to Pennsylvania and eliminate dangerous environmental scars left over from Pennsylvania’s mining history. Removing the dangerous hazards from these sites also removes barriers to productive use. These sites will become hiking trails, farm fields, and solar farms – a new future for sites still marred from past use.”