Thursday, October 24, 2019

Op-Ed: Let's Get Reauthorization Of The Federal Abandoned Mine Land Fund Done, Get PA's Congressional Delegation On Board

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) is the primary federal law that regulates the environmental effects of coal mining in the United States and provides for a funding stream for reclamation for states that are affected by abandoned coal mines.
Title IV is the section of SMCRA that addresses problems associated with the poor coal mining practices of the past and contains the funding mechanism to reclaim land and water that was degraded by mining done before SMCRA’s passage in 1977.
Funding for reclamation activities is derived from a reclamation fee on every ton of coal mined in the U.S. since 1977.  
However, the current SMCRA Title IV fee collection is set to expire in 2021.  Congress needs to act to extend the fee collection.
On September 9, 2019, a bill was introduced in the US House of Representatives that seeks to reauthorize that funding stream.  HR 4248 “Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act Amendments of 2019,” was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by [Pennsylvania] Representatives Matt Cartwright (D) and Glenn Thompson (R).  
This legislation is an excellent chance for Pennsylvania to secure continued funding for abandoned mine reclamation through the next 15 years.  
For Pennsylvania and other states with significant abandoned coal mine problems, HR 4248 is the chance we’ve been looking for to extend the SMCRA Title IV fee collection.
Even though there are eight U.S. Representatives from Pennsylvania currently listed on the bill, we need to get our ENTIRE Congressional Delegation to co-sponsor this bill….All 18 of them!
HR 4248 is languishing due to lack of co-sponsorship from every single member of the Pennsylvania U.S. Congressional Delegation. 
HR 4248 deserves better.  The citizens of coal-producing states deserve better.  
It’s time to deliver legislation that adequately addresses the tremendous reclamation needs imposed by a century of unregulated mining.  HR 4248 does that. 
What You Can Do
How do we go about getting it done?  If your U.S. Representative hasn’t co-sponsored this vital legislation, urging your Representative to do so is the most effective way to get the action that’s needed.  
They have the power and prestige necessary to see this important bill move forward.  
Pennsylvania needs reauthorization, not an excuse why we don’t have it.  Tell your U.S. Representative we need this legislation and we need it now.
The following is a list of those U.S. Representatives representing Pennsylvania who have already sponsored or co-sponsored HR 4248:
Rep. Cartwright, Matt [D-PA-8]
Rep. Thompson, Glenn [R-PA-15]
Rep. Doyle, Michael F. [D-PA-18]
Rep. Kelly, Mike [R-PA-16]
Rep. Meuser, Daniel [R-PA9]
Rep. Lamb, Conor [D-PA-9]
Rep. Reschenthaler, Guy [R-PA-14]
Rep. Fitzpatrick, Brian [R-PA-1]
[Note: The Pennsylvania members NOT co-sponsoring include- Brendan Boyle (D), Dwight Evans (D), Madeleine Dean (D), Mary Scanlon (D), Chrissy Houlahan (D), Susan Wild (D), Scott Perry (R), Loyd Smucker (R), Fred Keller (R), and John Joyce (R).]
If your US Representative IS NOT listed above, please contact their office by Email or telephone and urge them to co-sponsor HR 4248.  
Click Here to find the contact information for your US Representative. If wish to Email and cannot find an Email address for your Representative, simply call any of their offices to get the appropriate Email address.
We need every member of PA’s Congressional Delegation to co-sponsor this bill!
If your U.S. Representative is already one of the current co-sponsors of HR 4248, we urge you to Email or call their office to THANK THEM for co-sponsoring this important bill.
One more thing… if you do contact your US Representative, I’d appreciate a brief Email telling me you’ve done so.  Thanks so much. 
[For more information on this issue, visit the Our Work’s Not Done website, an information resource put together by Pennsylvania, Wyoming and other states with abandoned mine reclamation issues.].

Andy McAllister, Regional Coordinator, Western PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation. He can be contacted by sending email to:   
Related Article:
[Posted: October 24, 2019]

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