WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the House Natural Resources Committee passed the RECLAIM Act, legislation that will speed up the process to turn our nation’s backlog of abandoned coal mines back into useable land for wildlife and outdoor recreation. The act’s acronym stands for “Revitalizing the Economy of Coal Communities by Leveraging Local Activities and Investing More” and invests in reclaiming abandoned mining land while creating many economic opportunities for rural areas and local communities in the process.
“The RECLAIM Act passing through committee with broad bipartisan support is a major victory for local communities and our natural resources,” said Collin O’Mara, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Wildlife Federation. “When abandoned mine lands are reclaimed, it creates thousands of jobs in rural communities — including in agriculture, outdoor recreation, tourism, and retail. These communities can’t afford to wait on this funding any longer. We strongly encourage Congress to swiftly pass this legislation to reclaim these abandoned mine lands for wildlife and to put rural economies back on track.”
“Since the 1977 enactment of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA), the Abandoned Mine Lands program has collected over ten billion dollars in reclamation fees assessed for each ton of coal produced,” said Brandi Colander, Associate Vice President for Natural Resources and Energy of the National Wildlife Federation. “RECLAIM puts one billion dollars into rural communities across our nation. Opposition to this legislation is precisely opposition to promoting economic revitalization and diversification of distressed coal mining communities — plain and simple.”
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