Thursday, July 2, 2020

U.S. House Passes Infrastructure Bill Including Abandoned Mine Reclamation Initiatives, And Extension Of Federal Reclamation Fee

On July 1, the U.S. House passed a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that includes bipartisan proposals to address the problem of abandoned mine lands in Pennsylvania and across the country.
These proposals would help eliminate dangerous health and safety risks like acid mine drainage, while making way for new economic development.

“We’ve taken an important step to put Americans back to work in good jobs by rebuilding our physical and digital infrastructure for the twenty-first century,” said Cong. Matt Cartwright (D-PA). “The Moving Forward Act makes critical investments in rural broadband, schools, roads, public transit and hospitals across the nation. I’m also proud that it will help grow northeastern Pennsylvania’s economy by enabling us to transform our abandoned mine lands for years to come. The Moving Forward Act is an investment in our recovery and a down payment on our future.”

The Moving Forward Act includes bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Trust Fund, which is essential to cleaning up our waterways and protecting communities from the hazards of abandoned mines, such as acid mine drainage, dangerous highwalls and waste coal piles. 

The fund would end in September 2021 if Congress does not act, and Pennsylvania’s Eighth District has more than 300 unfinished AML sites.

The infrastructure package also includes the RECLAIM Act, which would accelerate the investment of $1 billion in unappropriated funds from the AML Trust Fund over the next five years, bringing roughly $300 million to Pennsylvania alone for these projects.

The Moving Forward Act also includes provisions to--

-- Protects access to safe drinking water by investing over $25 billion in the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and other programs to ensure all communities have clean drinking water and to help remove dangerous contaminants like PFAS from local water systems. 

-- Modernizes our energy infrastructure for a clean energy future by investing more than $70 billion to transform our electric grid to accommodate more renewable energy, expand renewable energy, strengthen existing infrastructure, help develop an electric vehicle charging network, and support energy efficiency, weatherization, and Smart Communities infrastructure.

-- Promotes new renewable energy infrastructure by incentivizing the development of wind and solar on public lands and building a workforce for offshore wind.

Click Here for a summary of the Moving Forward Act.


The Hill: U.S. House Approves $1.5 Trillion Green Infrastructure Plan

Related Article:

Over 100 Groups Sign Letter Urging Congressional Action On Federal Mine Reclamation Fee, Black Lung Bills

Bipartisan Call For Continued Federal Funding For Abandoned Mine Clean-Up By Cong. Cartwright, Meuser, State, Local Officials

[Posted: July 2, 2020]  PA Environment Digest

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