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Bipartisan RECLAIM Act Would Expand Rural Community Revitalization, Support Wildlife

Washington, DC — The bipartisan RECLAIM Act would help spur rural communities recovery and growth by supporting the conversion of abandoned mine lands to usable land for community redevelopment, wildlife and outdoor recreation. The legislation, introduced by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-Penn.) and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), amends the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to fund states and tribal projects to promote economic revitalization, diversification and development in economically distressed communities through reclamation and restoration of land and water resources adversely affected by coal mining. It would commit and invest $1 billion over five years in surplus collected abandoned mine land fund fees to create jobs and accelerate clean up.

“The RECLAIM Act will strengthen distressed rural communities by investing in economic development, accelerating the reclamation of abandoned coal mine lands and restoring essential wildlife habitat,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We thank Representatives Matt Cartwright, Hal Rogers, Don Beyer, and Glenn Thompson for their steadfast leadership working to revitalize communities and restore natural resources.”

“The RECLAIM Act is one important step in accelerating investments in communities hit hardest by the coal decline, in a way that advances economic development and reclamation of degraded lands and waters at the same time,” said Angie Rosser, executive director of West Virginia Rivers Coalition. “We must make sure that the waters, lands, and people in coal country — that helped power this nation for decades — have a healthy future.”

“When ‘king coal’ makes its final move out of Pennsylvania, coal workers will be left without livelihoods, the environment will be scarred and communities will be destroyed,” said Jacquelyn Bonomo, president and CEO of PennFuture. “The RECLAIM Act is a great step to ensure a fair transition for all, and to continue the restoration of hundreds of thousands of acres of land and streams impacted by the legacy of this waning extractive industry.”

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