Democratic News

RECLAIM Act supports economic and community development opportunities in impacted coal communities 

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced the Revitalizing the Economy of Coal Communities by Leveraging Local Activities and Investing More (RECLAIM) Act of 2019 to provide opportunities for coal reclamation and economic development in communities impacted by the downturn in the coal industry. 

“The RECLAIM Act is an investment in the coal communities that have done the heavy lifting that produced the energy that powered our country to greatness. These bills will provide a boost to struggling coal communities to help diversify their economies without a dime of taxpayer money. I’m proud to join my colleagues in fighting for these investments and introducing the RECLAIM Act,” Senator Manchin said.

"Mine reclamation supports hundreds of jobs in Virginia each year, strengthens our economy, and helps clean up the environment,” SenatorKaine said. “This bill would let money already sitting in the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund be used to boost economic development in coal communities.”

 “As technologies evolve and our economy changes, we cannot forget about the coal mining communities that for years fueled our nation. The RECLAIM Act reiterates our economic commitment to these mining communities by fast-tracking the release of $1 billion from the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund and using it to fund projects that reinvigorate communities, promote economic growth and counteract the environmental effects of coal mining locally,” Senator Warner said.

“Ohio coal communities helped build and power this country and they deserve our respect and attention,” said Senator Brown. “This investment would provide a down payment toward creating new jobs and giving local communities across Appalachia the financial tools they need to grow.”

“Coal mining communities deserve a fair shot in our nation’s economy and restoring land and rivers impacted by coal mining is one step towards that,” Senator Casey said. “Pennsylvania has the highest number of acres of land and miles of stream in the country in need of reclamation. It’s time for Congressional Republicans to stop talking about their support for coal mining communities and start voting for policies that will improve the economy in places like Washington, Westmoreland and Greene counties. Too many coal mining communities have gone far too long without substantial investment, this legislation will change that.” 

“This legislation will help communities in Southern Illinois – who have helped power our nation – by putting people back to work to clean up contaminated, abandoned mines and providing economic development opportunities to areas that need them,” said Senator Duckworth. “I’m proud to join Senator Manchin and my colleagues in reintroducing this legislation because we can’t afford to leave any community in any part of our country behind.” 

The RECLAIM Act of 2019 releases $1 billion from the remaining, unappropriated balance in the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund to states to be spent on reclamation projects in communities impacted by abandoned mine lands (AML) and the recent decrease in coal mining production. The RECLAIM Act will also requires States to carry out reclamation projects that will create favorable conditions for economic development.

These projects must be conducted in areas that have been adversely affected by a reduction in coal mining related activity and/or in communities that have traditionally relied on coal mining for a substantial portion of their economy.  Under the RECLAIM Act, $195 million will be distributed to uncertified States and tribes with approved AML programs each year from Fiscal Year 2020 to 2024. 

To learn more about the RECLAIM Act click here and to read the full bill text click here

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