October 6, 2008

WVU Receives Brownfields Grant to Rehab Old Mine Lands

By Anonymous

West Virginia University has received a federal grant to identify mine scarred fields that may be redeveloped into alternative energy production sites, the university announced Sept. 10.

A team at WVU's West Virginia Water Research Institute has received a $550,000 award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its project to develop sustainable energy parks on mine- scarred lands.

The announcement came during the 2008 West Virginia Brownfields Conference in Huntington.

Mine-scarred lands qualify as brownfields - properties that once were used for industrial or commercial activity and where redevelopment is complicated by the presence of a contaminant - under the EPA's brownfields program.

During the four-year project, the WVU team will produce an inventory of abandoned mine sites throughout the state that are suitable for redevelopment into biofuel and other alternative energy production sites called sustainable energy parks.

The project team will identify large tracts of mine-scarred land that can be used for renewable energy production, conduct surveys of potential sites and engage affected communities.

One community will be selected for the development of a comprehensive pilot program to showcase sustainable energy park concepts.

The award is "an outstanding complement to the work West Virginia University is poised to execute as part of its Advanced Energy initiative - a strategy that will tackle America's energy problems with innovative research and public policy development," according to WVU Vice President for Research and Economic Development Curt Peterson.

"Creation of sustainable energy parks on mine-scarred lands is the kind of strategy that this nation and its best thinkers and leaders must pursue in the drive toward energy independence," Peterson said.

Paul Ziemkiewicz. WVWRI director and leader of the project team, credited Sen. Robert Plymale, D-Wayne, for his vision in supporting the creation of the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Centers at WVU and Marshall University with his colleagues in the state Legislature.

Copyright State Journal Corporation Sep 12, 2008

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