The Division of Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) works throughout the state’s coal fields to protect the public from health and safety problems caused by mining that occurred prior to 1982.
Examples of hazards that can be found on abandoned mine sites are landslides, water-filled pits, open mine portals and dilapidated equipment and buildings. The division restores these degraded sites to a safe and environmentally stable condition through a process known as reclamation.
The division also administers a bond forfeiture reclamation program. Before coal companies begin mining at a site, they must post a reclamation bond. A company's bond may be forfeited to the Commonwealth if the company fails to mine and reclaim a site to the standards specified in its mining permit. The forfeited funds are used by the state to reclaim the site for which the bond was posted.
AML also administers a water supply replacement program. The division extends waterlines into areas where drinking water has been contaminated by past mining.
The division’s AML program is 100 percent funded by the federal government. The federal government gets its funding for AML programs by collecting a fee on every ton of coal produced by mining operations nationwide. The division has a central office in Frankfort and field offices in Prestonsburg, London, Madisonville and Hazard.