Friday, May 28, 2021

U.S. House Committee OKs Bipartisan Bills To Prevent Expiration Of Federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program, Expand Economic Development Opportunities

On May 26, the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee reported out two bipartisan bills to prevent the expiration of the federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program and expand mine reclamation efforts, according to the
Eastern PA Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation.

The bills include--

-- House Resolution 1734-- the Abandoned Mine Land Reauthorization Act--  introduced by Congressmen Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Glenn Thompson (R-PA) which reauthorizes the fee to support the Abandoned Mine Land Trust Fund and expands the payments from the fund for abandoned coal mine cleanups.

-- House Resolution 1733-- the Revitalizing the Economy of Coal Communities by Leveraging Local Activities and Investing More (RECLAIM) Act-- introduced by Congressmen Matt Cartwright (D-PA) and Hal Rogers (R-KY) which would accelerate the release of about $1 billion in funds already collected for the Abandoned Mine Land Trust Fund to provide support for economic revitalization, diversification and development in economically distressed mining communities through the reclamation and restoration of land and water resources adversely affected by coal mining. 

Of these funds, Pennsylvania would receive over $300 million.

Committee action follows a hearing March where advocates for the bills said, “We don’t deserve to have to wait any longer for clean streams, green spaces, vibrant and diversified regional economies, and communities in which our children can safely recreate, live, work, and play.”  Read more here.

More Information

The Pennsylvania AML Campaign, a coalition of conservation districts, watershed groups, and other local nonprofit groups also support reauthorization of the AML fee collection.

Visit the Our Work’s Not Done website supported by states involved in the federal abandoned mine reclamation program, including Pennsylvania.

Visit DEP’s Abandoned Mine Reclamation Program webpage to learn more about this program.

Biden Budget - More AML Money

On May 28, the Biden administration submitted to Congress the President’s Budget for fiscal year 2022, including $312 million for the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation, which features $165 million to address coal mine reclamation and economic development efforts.  Read more here.

(Photos: The dramatic difference federal AML funding makes-- South Fayette Conservation Group’s Gladden mine drainage treatment project in Allegheny County.)

Related Articles:

-- Biden's First Budget Makes Significant Investments In Abandoned Coal Mine Reclamation, Community Economic Development Efforts

-- U.S. House Hearing On Reauthorizing Federal Abandoned Mine Lands Program: We Don’t Deserve To Wait Any Longer For Clean Streams, Diversified Economies

-- Chesapeake Bay Foundation Praises Biden Proposed Budget Giving Chesapeake Bay Program Full Funding

[Posted: May 28, 2021]  PA Environment Digest

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