The state of Kentucky intends to use Abandoned Mine Land Pilot funds to build water and sewer lines for a proposed federal prison, a project that does not support true economic renewal or justice.
Regional leaders testified in front of a U.S. House subcommittee about strategies to restore abandoned mines and witnesses expressed support for the RECLAIM Act.
West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice made nearly $2 billion off Appalachia’s coalfields, but his family’s mines owe back taxes in multiple states. They have also accrued hundreds of environmental violations, and many idled mines are still unreclaimed.
A coalition of environmental groups including Appalachian Voices released a report in November detailing opportunities to give old mine lands new life.
Virginia and Kentucky regulators are seeking to hold West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice accountable for his companies’ failure to meet mine land reclamation deadlines.
Despite problems with the current system, coal companies are being granted more leeway in paying for mine reclamation.
Several charts and maps show the enormity of the abandoned mine problems that still need to be cleaned up — and the inadequacy of the current cleanup fund.
The White House nominated J. Steven Gardner, who has worked in the coal industry for over four decades, to lead the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.
Supporters of the RECLAIM Act traveled to Washington, D.C., in October to urge legislators to cosponsor the bill and hold a vote before the end of 2017.
Independent farmers and entrepreneurial groups are looking to abandoned mine land sites and seeing potential for agricultural projects, both large and small.