On Tuesday morning, the House Natural Resources Committee passed the RECLAIM Act, a bipartisan bill aimed at revitalizing coal mining communities. The legislation would direct $1 billion over five years to restoring abandoned mine lands.
Committee members also approved an amendment put forward by Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) to require projects that receive funding under the bill to spur local economic development — an improvement to an earlier version. The RECLAIM Act passed on a voice vote against the objections of the National Mining Association. It now goes to the full House for a vote.
A statement from Appalachian Voices Senior Legislative Representative Thom Kay:
When the RECLAIM Act was first introduced, getting a billion dollars to coal communities seemed like a bit of a pipe dream. But today, we took a major step toward making it a reality. It’s encouraging to see lawmakers move beyond rhetoric and work together to address pressing challenges.
As Congressman Hal Rogers has said, this legislation is proof that “neither Democrats nor Republicans have a monopoly on good ideas.” We’re prepared to press forward with the help of both parties to see the RECLAIM Act signed into law and new economic opportunities created in Appalachia.
Read more about our New Economy for Appalachia campaign.