Friday, February 7, 2020

StateImpact PA: DEP To Receive 36% Less Federal Mine Reclamation Funding This Year

On February 6, Reid Frazier of StateImpact PA reported DEP will receive 36 percent less federal mine reclamation funding this year-- $32 million-- compared to last year-- $55 million-- to cleanup Pennsylvania’s abandoned mines.
He said the drop in funding to the state was caused by the end of a $25 million pilot funding program to turn abandoned mine lands into economically valuable properties and the revenue being brought in by the per ton fee on coal to support the program  is declining due to decreased coal production.
Eric Cavazza, Director of DEP’s Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation, said the federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program is the only major source of funding Pennsylvania has to address $3.9 billion in high-priority abandoned mine problems. Click Here for more.
Fee Set To Expire
In addition to declining revenues, the per ton fee financing the federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program is set to expire all together in 2021 and efforts have been underway over the last several years to get the fee reauthorized in the face of coal industry opposition.
Bipartisan legislation has been moving in the U.S. House to reauthorize the fee, but there has been no action in the U.S. Senate.  Click Here for more.
Pennsylvania Senate Resolution 191 (Yudichak-D-Luzerne) urging Congress to reauthorize the abandoned mine fee was passed on October 28 and has been sitting in the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee ever since, in spite of the obvious importance of the fee revenue to address Pennsylvania’s abandoned mine reclamation problem..
A companion resolution-- House Resolution 439 (Frankel-D-Allegheny)-- has also been sitting in the House Environmental Committee with no action.
For more information, visit the PA Abandoned Mine Land Campaign and the Our Work’s Not Done websites.
(Photo: Orange water is mine drainage.)
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[Posted: February 7, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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