Ohio steps up abandoned mine cleanup program

Oct 31, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - An Ohio program that cleans up after abandoned coal mines plans to undertake 53 projects next year, nearly three times as many as in 2007.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Monday that the work to restore land and streams is being expanded thanks to more federal money. A change in the formula for dividing coal company taxes among the states has increased Ohio's share, from $7.5 million in 2007 to $18.4 million for next year.

Terry Van Offeren manages the cleanup program for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and says the state could use even more funding. He says the state is finding about 15 new "problem spots" every week since beginning a new effort in June to identify old coal sites that pose environmental or health threats.