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Va. in line for $9.8m in mine-reclamation funds

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- The federal government is making nearly $10 million available to Virginia to eliminate environmental hazards caused by past coal mining operations.

The $9.8 million in grant funding was announced by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. The federal dollars are intended to improve water quality by treating acid mine drainage and restoring water supplies damaged by mining, among other things.

Officials say the total funding approved for 28 coal-producing states has been slashed by 10 percent in anticipation of the automatic budget cuts kicking in March 1.

The mining reclamation grants are awarded annually. They are funded in part by a per-ton reclamation fee levied on all coal produced in the U.S.