By Dana Kuhnline
Dana Kuhnline is the RECLAIM Campaign Coordinator. The national RECLAIM Coalition consists of more than 25 community, labor, faith, and business groups across the United States (including Appalachian Voices) working to create jobs and restore land through initiatives like the RECLAIM Act and reauthorization of the Abandoned Mine Lands Program.
We want to let you know about an incredible step forward for coal communities across the US – and how you can help make sure we get over the finish line.
The Senate just passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill – The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act – that includes the LARGEST-EVER investment in abandoned mine land clean-up. Now we need the House to pass this bill as a powerful step toward revitalizing communities hit hardest by the coal industry’s downturn, with a few small changes that will make a big difference for local communities.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes several key components for our work, including $11.3 billion of federal funding to help create jobs while cleaning up the nation’s inventory of abandoned coal mines. However, we must ensure that these funds have maximum economic and environmental impact in our hard hit communities.
Please tell the House that we need them to pass funding for AML in The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act- with a few improvements to make this as impactful as possible.
We have compiled recommendations from community and industry leaders to help ensure that these investments employ local workers, are equitably distributed to states that need them most, and provide for acid mine drainage remediation, and that the abandoned mine land fee is reauthorized at its historic rate.
This proposed funding is a major opportunity for good jobs and economic stability in historically coal-dependent areas. It is by no means a cure-all for the regions adversely affected by America’s shift away from coal, but it is a strong answer to the call from community members for more diversification in their local economies.
- Read the RECLAIM Coalition press release for more details on the Senate bill passage, including estimates on how much each state will receive.
- Join our webinar Aug. 19 at noon for more info on what the bill’s Senate passage means for abandoned mines, plus updates on efforts to address reclamation at modern mines and the role of the administration’s Interagency Working Group on Coal Communities.
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