Pennsylvania, as well as many other States and Tribes across the Nation, are gearing up to push Congress to reauthorize the reclamation fees associated with the federal Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act. The fees are set to expire in 2021.
These reclamation fees, placed on every ton of coal mined by the active coal mining industry, are deposited into the federal Abandoned Mine Land Fund which provides States and Tribes with funding for the eliminate of health and safety hazards and environmental degradation left over from our Nation's pre-regulation coal mining era.
Without the per-ton fee on today's coal mining industry, communities will continue to be burdened with abandoned mine pollution, degraded economies, and decreased quality of life.
The Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation is participating in the national effort to reauthorize SMCRA by collaborating with States and Tribes to establish a grassroots campaign and publish tools for citizens, non-profits, and legislators to use for advocating for abandoned mine reclamation.
Click Here to watch a video produced by WPCAMR about the need to reauthorize the federal mine reclamation fees and is the first publication to come from this collaboration.
Stay tuned for more materials, including a website, to be available soon.
(Written By Anne Daymut, WPCAMR, and reprinted from Abandoned Mine Posts. Click Here to sign up for your own copy.)
The Department of Environmental Protection reports abandoned mine sites, mine discharges and dangerous highwalls impact 43 of the state’s 67 counties. A total of about $1 billion is needed to cleanup this legacy of past mining.
Discharges from abandoned coal mines is the second leading cause of water quality impairment in Pennsylvania. There are 5,607 miles of mine-polluted streams in the Commonwealth, according to DEP’s draft 2016 Integrated Water Quality Monitoring and Assessment Report.
As a result of Congressional action to sequester (cut) federal funding across-the-board several years ago, Pennsylvania has received significantly less federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Funding that it should have, according to the 2006 reauthorization agreement.
In 2016, for example, Pennsylvania received $42 million-- $40 million less than projected when the fee was last reauthorized.
Recently, Pennsylvania made up some of that ground when the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement announced the state would receive $30 million from a pilot program to reclaim abandoned mines which have economic development potential.
Other Mine Reclamation Stories:Act Now: PA Congressmen Absent From Abandoned Mine Reclamation Funding Debate