RECLAIM Act Needed to Accelerate Reclamation of Abandoned Mine Lands
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a legislative hearing on H.R. 1731 (Rep. Hal Rogers, R-KY), the “Revitalizing the Economy of Coal Communities by Leveraging Local Activities and Investing More Act of 2017” or “RECLAIM Act.”
“[H.R. 1731] finds a hard struck balance between many interested states and interested parties… this bill represents how an existing federal program can be leveraged to provide an economic stimulus for numerous states,” Subcommittee Chairman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) said.
The RECLAIM Act addresses outstanding abandoned mine lands (AML) issues, including ensuring that monies authorized to be spent under the program are limited to reclamation work alone, while encouraging economic revitalization in coal communities nationwide.
“I sponsored the RECLAIM Act to help revitalize coal communities all across the nation that have been devastated by the downturn of the coal industry. In my District in Eastern Kentucky, we have lost over 11,6000 coal mining jobs over the last 8 years,” Rep. Rogers said.
Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), representative for Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District and an original cosponsor of the RECLAIM Act, talked about supporting growth in coal-reliant communities and the need to safeguard AML funds for reclamation purposes. Pennsylvania’s 5th district has the most AML sites of any congressional district in the country.
“One of my counties, Clearfield County, has more abandoned mine sites than the State of New Mexico… There is a need for reclamation and this money was contributed by hard working coal miners. First and foremost we really need to make sure that it’s being used for the purpose of what it was intended,” Rep. Thompson said.
Robert Scott, Director of the Division of Abandoned Mine Land in the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources, testified that the bill would accelerate both reclamation and economic benefits.
“The balanced approach in H.R. 1731, if carefully implemented, offers the potential to accelerate progress with reclamation, and in turn, to accelerate the economic and community benefits that progress brings,” Scott stated.
Click here to view full witness testimony.