House committee to hold hearing on important coal-related bills


Dan Radmacher, (540) 798-6683),

WASHINGTON, D.C. — On June 9 at 9:30 a.m., the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing discussing important coal-related legislation, including a bill that would shore up the troubled mine cleanup system and another that would ensure that abandoned mine land funding can be used for long-term acid mine drainage treatment facilities.

The committee will hear from expert witnesses, including Elaine Tanner, Program Director of Friends for Environmental Justice, Erin Savage, Senior Program Manager at Appalachian Voices, and John Dawes, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Watersheds.

One of the bills under discussion will be the recently introduced RENEW Act, which addresses the crisis in the mine reclamation system established by the 1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. As the coal industry has declined, it has become clear that the funding requirements for mine cleanup established by SMCRA are far from adequate. The RENEW Act, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pennsylvania, is an effort to ensure that coal companies don’t succeed in shifting the burden of cleanup to taxpayers and local communities.

Another bill, the Safeguarding Treatment for the Restoration of Ecosystems from Abandoned Mines Act, or STREAM Act, would ensure that some of the money dedicated to cleaning up pre-SMCRA abandoned mine lands in last year’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law could be set aside in interest-bearing accounts to pay for the long-term treatment that will be required.

Tanner, who lives with her partner in Eastern Kentucky, will discuss the impacts of coal mining on mined out lands, as well as her experiences with Friends for Environmental Justice. Savage will discuss her extensive research on outstanding reclamation needs and bonding programs for post-SMCRA mines, as well as current surface mining trends in Appalachia. Dawes will focus on acid mine drainage treatment issues.

The hearing will be livestreamed and copies of testimony will be available on the committee’s webpage.

Appalachian Voices is a leading nonprofit advocate for a healthy environment and just economy in the Appalachian region, and a driving force in America’s shift from fossil fuels to a clean energy future.