By JOHN RABY
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — Nearly $725 million in federal funding is available this fiscal year to 22 states and the Navajo Nation for the reclamation of abandoned coal mines and cleanup of acid mine drainage. The U.S. Department of the Interior announced the funding Monday. It’s included in President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure package and is part of an overall plan to spend $11.3 billion in the U.S. abandoned mine lands program over 15 years. Reclamation of shuttered coal mine sites is considered crucial to preventing environmental pollution and returning land to its natural setting. The funding is considered key to removing toxic metals and returning fish and wildlife to waterways.