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Ky.gov An Official Website of the Commonwealth of Kentucky

Division of Abandoned Mine Lands

The Division of Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) works throughout the coal fields of Kentucky to protect the public from health and safety problems caused by mining that occurred prior to 1982.

  • AML restores abandoned mines and the problems they cause to a safe and environmentally stable condition through reclamation projects.
  • AML administers a bond forfeiture reclamation program, acid mine drainage program, and water supply replacement program.

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) of 1977 established national standards for coal mining and requirements for reclamation of mine sites.

AML programs are state implemented and 100 percent federally funded.  The federal government collects fees on each ton of coal produced by mining operations nationwide and then distributes those fees back to the state AML programs in the form of a grant.

Kentucky's AML program is a collaborative effort among:

  • private land owners
  • industry representatives
  • federal and state agencies
  • local officials
  • watershed groups

Kentucky's AML program has restored abandoned mine lands into:

  • farmland
  • pasture
  • open space
  • wildlife habitat
  • recreational areas
  • military training ground

AML Enhancement Rule projects are a special type of reclamation project.  They are focused on reclaiming abandoned mine lands that have little likelihood of otherwise being reclaimed.  These projects allow the AML contractor to remove coal from an abandoned mine site (e.g. coal refuse or slurry site) and sell the coal to offset the cost of the project.  The land is then reclaimed via grading and revegetation.  At a later time, trees are planted on the project site.

Benefits of AML Enhancement Rule Projects:

  • offending problem completely removed
  • site reclaimed and restored to original appearance
  • trees planted on site
  • fossil fuel provides source of energy
  • government saves money
  • contractor makes profit