CHARLESTON– Governor Jim Justice and Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Austin Caperton announced today that $50.65 million in abandoned mine land grants has been awarded to 15 projects in 12 counties and those projects are contributing to job growth, increased tourism, and redevelopment across West Virginia.
“From ATV trail camps to increasing access to broadband, these projects all have one thing in common, and that’s to make West Virginia a better place,” said Gov. Justice. “I share in their goal of improving the quality of life for West Virginians, providing good paying jobs, and to make good use of land that has been reclaimed after being utilized as a mine site.”
The deadline to apply for an additional share of $25 million in economic redevelopment grants for abandoned mine land sites has been extended to June 29.
“The projects that will be approved following this latest round of applications will help to keep stimulating economic development or help to continue great work that is already underway,” said Secretary Caperton. “These projects reflect how eager West Virginians are to redevelop these abandoned mine land sites to create jobs, increase tourism, and promote a positive image of West Virginia.”
The grant funding, provided by the federal government through the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), is administered by the WVDEP’s Office of Abandoned Mine Lands. The recipients applied for the grant funding in 2016 and 2017 and were each considered by a committee of representatives from the WVDEP, West Virginia Department of Commerce, Department of Transportation, and the Governor’s Office.
The projects that are receiving funding from applications received in 2016 and 2017 are:
- Boone County: Northern Cardinal Price-Hunter Branch Hatfield greenhouse operation to produce commercial quantities of leafy greens, vegetables, and fruits, $3,206,198;
- Boone/Lincoln County: Ivy Branch Off Road Development Project to acquire 2,600 acres for Hatfield-McCoy Trail development, $3,320,000;
- Fayette County: Danese PSD-Highland Mountain waterline extension, $2,629,711;
- Fayette County: Danese PSD-Crickmer Road waterline extension, $944,208;
- Kanawha County: Buzz Value Added Meats to construct a modern food-safe facility to convert local livestock to marketable meat products, $4,000,000;
- Logan County: Triadelphia ATV Resort Project to construct 40 miles of new ATV trails and reclaim additional AML features, $1,570,000;
- Logan County: West Virginia Elk Restoration Project visitor center complex project to develop an elk observation platform, $1,029,011;
- Marion County: I-79 Technology Park road expansion to prepare three additional building pads for future development, $3,994,000;
- Mercer County: ATV trail camp at Coaldale to develop a lodge and other accommodations for ATV tourists, $1,800,000;
- Mingo County: Aquaponics project raising fish and vegetables, providing jobs and training to the local community, $3,581,989;
- Nicholas County: Patriot “Guardens” Golden Delicious Apple Project to reintroduce the Golden Delicious apple and develop juicing facilities, providing cooperative farming for veterans and unemployed coal miners, $5,295,000;
- Preston County: Former TAZ Sawmill site project to purchase property, complete renovations, and provide utilities for potential industrial development, $2,208,102;
- Raleigh County: Clear Fork Rail Trail to complete development of eight miles of trail, $2,250,000;
- : Mountain State Broadband Expressway to develop towers throughout West Virginia to provide affordable broadband services, Phase I, $12,526,081;
- : Mountain State Broadband Expressway Phase II, $2,000,000;
- Tucker County: Beaver Creek Fishery enhancement to improve in-stream riffle and pool habitat, $295,700.
WVDEP is currently accepting applications for the 2018 round of grant funding.
The grant application and additional information on the funding is available here on the WVDEP website (https://bit.ly/2vkEEpX). Completed applications are due June 29, 2018.
The economic development projects must be located on or adjacent to mine sites that ceased operations prior to the signing of the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) on August 3, 1977.
The WVDEP is ultimately responsible for determining which projects get funded, working with an advisory committee made up of representatives from the West Virginia Department of Commerce, Department of Transportation, and the Governor’s Office. Recipients of grant funding from the 2018 round of applications could be announced as early as September. The grant funding must be approved by OSMRE.