A bipartisan bill led by members of Congress from four Appalachian states aims to revitalize local economies in the region through the restoration of previously mined lands.
Introduced in early February by Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), the RECLAIM Act would amend the primary federal law regulating surface coal mining to accelerate the release of $1 billion from the Abandoned Mine Lands Fund over the next five years.
Projects that could be funded under the bill include land restoration for industrial, commercial, agricultural or recreational purposes that would benefit areas heavily impacted by the coal industry’s decline.
Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), another lead sponsor, called the legislation an “imperative effort to help reinvigorate” Appalachian communities.
— Brian Sewell