Office of Surface Mining Reclamation to honor efforts in Moffat County
The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement announced this week it will honor the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety, Inactive Mine Reclamation Program during a national gathering of mine land reclamation professionals.
Colorado’s IMRP won a regional Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Award for reclamation work at the Wise Hill Underground Fire Mitigation project in Moffat County.
“One of the biggest underground mine fires in Colorado burned for more than 70 years, frustrating repeated efforts to contain or extinguish it. After several unsuccessful attempts to suffocate it, the fire migrated thousands of feet, grew in size, and threatened a nearby coal mine, and a town,” the OSMRE news release stated. “The fire also generated toxic gases and heat that could have ignited surface vegetation, potentially leading to wildfires. Colorado’s program used methods learned from a previous underground mine fire project to mitigate the threat and contain the fire deep underground, minimizing the danger of wildfire and toxic fumes.”
In the 2019 fiscal year, Colorado received $3.1 million in Abandoned Mine Land funding from OSMRE.
“Colorado is among five recipients of the 2019 Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Awards recognizing reclamation excellence,” the release said. “Awards are presented for the best reclamation project nationally, as well has the best projects from around the country, and for the project that costs less than $1 million and is in a state that receives less than $6 million in annual AML funds. A panel of judges composed of directors of state and tribal reclamation programs and OSMRE managers voted to determine this year’s awardees.”
Additional award winners include projects in Alabama, Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.
OSMRE will present the 2019 Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Awards Sept. 9 during the annual conference of the National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs in Pittsburgh.