Utah to grab $4M for sealing abandoned mines

Utah to grab $4M for sealing abandoned mines

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The federal government says it will offer Utah more than $4 million to seal abandoned mines.

State officials say they get the money every year by applying for it.

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the funding levels Tuesday.

Utah has an estimated 17,000 abandoned mines.

Regulators say they don't know how long it will take, but they plug 200 to 300 old mines a year and say they'll probably never finish the job because they keep finding more whenever they look.

Salazar announced a total of $369 million for the program this year. He says closing old mines provides thousands of well-paying jobs in economically depressed coal-mining areas.

Wyoming qualifies for the most money, more than $117 million, according to Salazar's office.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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