Congress Could Move to Restore Coal Reclamation Funds
There may be hope on the horizon to restore Pennsylvania’s portion of federal money used to clean up abandoned coal mines. In August, StateImpact wrote about how Congress took money from a fund used for mine reclamation, in order to help fund the surface transportation bill. The state stands to lose $178 million dollars.
The House Rules Committee will vote on a continuing resolution this afternoon, which includes language that could restore that funding.
Andy McAllister helps run the Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation. McAllister says he’s hopeful that at least money designated for states with serious problems, like Pennsylvania and West Virginia, may get restored, even if states like Wyoming lose their funding. But McAllister worries about the longterm impact on funding for the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act, which Congress guaranteed in 2006.
“i’m hoping we can go back to having SMCRA to the way it was,” said McAllister. “To use it to cover other bills makes me very nervous for the future.”
Of course, if the funding gets restored, Congress will have to find some other way to fund the transportation bill. Bills in both the House and Senate would restore all funding to SMCRA.