Rural Abandoned Mine Program

To protect people and the environment from the adverse effects of past coal mining practices, and to promote the development of soil and water resources of unreclaimed mined lands.


Examples of Funded Projects

A 70 acre site near a small community exposed approximately 125 residents to health and safety hazards.

Reclamation includes eliminating subsidence holes through filling and grading to eliminate dangerous water pits and illegal trash dumps; surface water control; wildlife plantings; firebreaks; fencing for exclusion of grazing animals; and stabilizing the site by planting pine seedlings.

A 40 acre site near a small borough presented a constant hazard to life and property.

Reclamation consists of shaping and stabilization of eroding and unsightly "refuse" piles; disposal of "red dog" boulders; removal of a hazardous tipple; filling open mine shafts; back filling to reduce height of "high walls"; removal of acid debris and soil deposition in streams; establishment of diversions, rock and grass waterways; establishing permanent vegetation on the site; and stabilization of stream banks.


Agency - Department of Agriculture

Established in 1862, the Department of Agriculture serves all Americans through anti-hunger efforts, stewardship of nearly 200 million acres of national forest and rangelands, and through product safety and conservation efforts. The USDA opens markets for American farmers and ranchers and provides food for needy people around the world.

Office - See Natural Resources Conservation Service State offices listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.


Program Accomplishments

As of September 30, 2001, there are 20 active contracts with cost share practices valued in excess of $255,000 remaining to be implemented.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Cost-share funds are available only for conservation practices determined to be needed for the reclamation, conservation, and development of up to 320 acres per owner of rural abandoned coal mine land or lands and waters affected by coal mining activities.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Individuals, groups, or units of government who own or control the surface or water rights of abandoned coal land or lands, and water affected by coal mining practices before August 3, 1977.

These areas are not eligible if: (1) There is continuing reclamation responsibility on the part of the mine operator or the State; (2) the lands are in Federal ownerships; and (3) the surface rights are under easement or lease to be remained.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Individuals, group, or units of government who own or control the surface or water rights of abandoned coal land or lands, and water affected by coal mining practices before August 3, 1977. These areas are not eligible if: (1) There is continuing reclamation responsibility on the part of the mine operator or the State; (2) the lands are in Federal ownerships; and (3) the surface rights are under easement or lease to be remained.

Credentials/Documentation

Participants must furnish proof of ownership or management control for the contract period and written consent of the landowner, if not the owner. Participants are responsible for completing an application for assistance that includes statement of financial burden. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-87.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.

12372 and OMB Circular No.

A-102.

Application Procedures

Applicants requests program assistance on Form SCS LTP-156, through the local office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service or conservation district. Applicants must develop, with the assistance of NRCS, a reclamation plan as a basis for program assistance. This program is excluded from coverage under OMB Circular No. A-110.

Award Procedures

Participants must sign a 5 to 10 year contract based on the reclamation plan to receive cost sharing. Cost payments may be made directly to the applicant or the contractor upon satisfactory completion of identifiable units of work. Approval of contracts are made by the Chief of NRCS, State conservationist, or contracting officer depending upon dollar amount of contract. Reclamation work contained in RAMP contracts may be performed under an NRCS awarded contract or by the participant.

Deadlines

If fully operational, NRCS announces, through local media, dates and deadlines for applications.

Authorization

Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, Section 406, Public Law 95-87, 91 Stat. 460, 30 U.S.C. 1236; Abandoned Mine Reclamation Act of 1990; Energy Policy Act of 1992.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Variable, no specified time. Approval will depend on volume of applications received, available funds, and priority assigned by reclamation committee and complexity of the reclamation project.

Appeals

None.

Renewals

Eligible applicants may re-apply for program assistance in accordance with program funding priorities. Subject to a 320-acre limitation per owner.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Allotments of Rural Abandoned Mine Program funds to NRCS State conservationists are to reflect the national program needs; the geographic areas from which funds were derived; the funding priority assigned to applications for program assistance, including benefits expected to be derived; and, the practicability and feasibility of the reclamation work proposed. For 120 acres or less, the Federal cost-share rate for applying land use and conservation treatment may be up to 80 percent, depending upon the income producing potential of the land after reclamation. However, this rate may be increased to a level required to obtain participation when the main benefits of reclamation accrue to the public and there is a declaration of financial burden. For acreage in excess of 120 acres, up to 320 acres maximum, the cost-share rate is reduced proportionately by up to 0.25 percent per acre. The Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service may establish specific rates according to the above criteria. Cost-share rates will range from 25 to 100 percent.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Contract period is not less than 5 or not more than 10 years.

Post Assistance Requirements

Reports

No reports.

NRCS and applicant make a status review that includes maintenance of completed items, need for deletion or addition of contract items, and as appropriate, the need to reschedule installation of practices.

Audits

NRCS makes periodic, random on-site reviews of the quantity and quality of the application and maintenance of scheduled items. Program activities are subject to audit by the Office of Inspector General, USDA.

Records

Recipients should retain the reclamation plan contract, subsequent correspondence and transactions, because they will be held accountable for its implementation.

Financial Information

Account Identification

14-5015-0-2-302.

Obigations

(From carryover funds) (Grants) FY 07 $0; FY 08 $0; and FY 09 est not reported. (Salaries and Expenses) FY 07 $0; FY 08 $0; and FY 09 est not reported.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Not applicable.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

7 CFR 632, available from the Government Printing Office; RAMP operating procedures, and RAMP environmental impact statements are available from NRCS State and National headquarters offices.

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office

See Natural Resources Conservation Service State offices listed in Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Headquarters Office

Deputy Chief for Programs, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 2890, Washington, DC 20013. Telephone: (202) 720-1873.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Proposals are selected based on the criteria specified in 7 CFR 632.12, which considers the effect on public health, safety and general welfare, the environment, and beneficial use.



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