Date: Tuesday, October 3, 2023
Contact: [email protected]
ROANOKE, Va. — Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland visited Blue Ridge Parkway today to highlight how President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is helping to build healthy communities by restoring ecosystems and remediating abandoned mine sites.
Through the Investing in America agenda, a key pillar of Bidenomics, the Department is utilizing more than $2 billion to restore our nation’s lands and waters and advance the America the Beautiful initiative, the Biden-Harris administration’s goal to restore and conserve 30% of lands and waters by 2030. To guide these historic investments, the Department released a restoration and resilience framework to drive transformational outcomes. Secretary Haaland announced over $36 million earlier this year through this effort for restoration projects that remove hazards and revegetate formerly mined lands and build resilient recreation sites to support access to the outdoors.
During the visit, Secretary Haaland was briefed about the Edith Mine site outside Roanoke, Virginia. A $62,000 investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will help remediate six abandoned iron mine land features and restore the altered landscape. An additional $50,000 will be available to address five other mine sites in the future. The Edith Mine, adjacent to the Parkway and the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, is comprised of a network of open tunnels and shafts that are extremely dangerous to visitors, including hikers and horseback riders in the area. The project will eliminate these significant public safety hazards and enhance the visitor experience.
Blue Ridge Parkway, which is managed by the National Park Service, has also received approximately $200 million from the Great American Outdoors Act for severely needed repair work on over 100 miles of scenic motor road. The GAOA established the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund (LRF), a bipartisan investment that improves visitor experiences, bolsters climate resilience and invests in the economy by creating good-paying jobs in recreation areas, national parks, wildlife refuges and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)-funded schools. GAOA’s LRF funding sunsets after fiscal year 2025 and would need to be reauthorized by Congress to continue the efforts underway to address significant infrastructure needs across public lands.