Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Abandoned Mine Posts: More Federal Attention Given To Abandoned Mine Reclamation

By Anne Daymut, Watershed Coordinator, Western Coalition For Abandoned Mine Reclamation

Over the past six months, members of the Abandoned Mine Reclamation (AMR) community have seen an increased interest of the Federal government in issues relating to our important work.  
Spurred by events such as the Gold King Mine spill in Colorado, the public nationwide is also getting a taste of what we here in Pennsylvania deal with on a day-to-day basis with abandoned mine lands and abandoned mine drainage.  
Due to the Gold King Mine spill, policy makers got a crash course in topics the Pennsylvania AMR community has been discussing for some time including the need for Federal Good Samaritan Legislation, the importance of Operations, Maintenance and Rehabilitation funds for existing AMD treatment systems, the need of states and tribes for funding to address emergency issues such as mine fires and subsidence, the impending need for another reauthorization of the fee collections associated with the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, and so on.
It seems now that our voices are being heard as Congress is starting to respond to these needs.  Two Bills were introduced last week in the U.S. House of Representatives of the 114th Congress.  Each has the potential to impact Pennsylvania’s AMR community.  
The first has the potential to provide Good Samaritan protections and the second establishes a foundation for reclamation activities.  WPCAMR is analyzing these two Bills closely.
Nov. 4 Hearing
PA DEP's Eric Cavazza will be testifying at a Congressional hearing on these two bills on November 4th at 10:30 a.m. You can watch a live stream of the hearing here.
WPCAMR is also anticipating the introduction of a Bill that may provide pertinent exemptions for the waste coal industry.
Quarterly Meeting
A legislative roundup of all the issues we face will be discussed in detail at the upcoming WPCAMR quarterly board meeting on November 12 at the Westmoreland Conservation District Barn, 218 Donohoe Road, Greensburg from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m.  
Lunch will be provided at the meeting for a $4 suggested donation.  Organizations and individuals who participate in abandoned mine reclamation are encouraged to attend and join the discussion.
For more information on programs, initiatives and special events, visit the Western Coalition For Abandoned Mine Reclamation website, call 724-832-3625 or send email to: amp@wpcamr.org.
Also visit the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Clearinghouse website for watershed associations and others interested in abandoned mine cleanup.
Related Articles:
Trout Unlimited Supports Good Samaritan Provision In Federal Law To Aid Cleanups

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