FRANKFORT, Ky. (July 24, 2018) – U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) and Gov. Matt Bevin today announced a grant by the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement (OSMRE) through the 2017 Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) Pilot program that will create jobs in Eastern Kentucky.
The City of Hazard has been given preliminary approval for a $900,000 AML grant that will bring a natural gas pipeline from a wellhead in the central Perry County area to the Coalfields Regional Industrial Park. The addition of natural gas to the industrial park will attract jobs to a region that has been adversely impacted by changes in the coal economy.
Through the efforts of Congressman Rogers (KY-05), chairman emeritus of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, the state has received $80 million through the AML Pilot Program from fiscal year 2016 to 2018 to return coal sites to productive use and attract new jobs to replace those lost during the downturn of the industry.
“The AML Pilot Program is actively reclaiming land for job creation, tourism expansion and fruitful innovative opportunities,” said Congressman Rogers. “Hundreds of new long-term, sustainable jobs are being created and I’m inspired by the ingenuity of Eastern Kentuckians that is being highlighted through this new pilot program.”
The project is expected to cost $2.98 million, of which $32,000 is coming from the City of Hazard and $2 million from other federal funds.
“We are grateful for an additional federal AML allocation that will be designated for economic development projects in our Appalachian counties,” said Gov. Bevin. “This is another valuable tool that many Eastern Kentucky communities are utilizing to help revitalize their economies.”
The AML Pilot project is a joint effort by the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, the Department for Local Government, the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and the Energy and Environment Cabinet, Division of Abandoned Mine Lands.
“It is rewarding to see a project like this get funding so that Hazard can take part in the economic rebuilding of Eastern Kentucky,” said Sec. Charles Snavely of the Energy and Environment Cabinet. “I want to thank state Rep. Chris Fugate and state Sen. Brandon Smith for their support and encouragement of this project.”
The 236-acre Coalfields Industrial Park serves a five-county area and is owned and operated by the Coalfields Regional Industrial Authority. It provides approximately 500 jobs including those at Sykes, a shipping, logistics, and supply-chain management company, and Federal Express. The park is constructed on former surface mine land with highway access and infrastructure resources readily available.