Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Campaign

About the campaign

The Pennsylvania Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Campaign is a no-budget, no-letterhead group of organizations and individuals advocating for policies and programs that benefit the coal-impacted communities of Pennsylvania and beyond.

The organizations that participate in PA AML Campaign activities include local, regional, state-wide, and national non-profit organizations, county conservation districts, townships and municipalities, trade associations, landowners, business owners, sportsmen clubs, and individuals.

Citizens Coal Council
Eastern Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (EPCAMR)
Foundation for Pennsylvania Watersheds
Mountain Watershed Association
Pennsylvania Association of Conservation Districts
Pennsylvania Environmental Council
Trout Unlimited and many of its chapters
Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation (WPCAMR)
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

We are advised by state and national agencies, associations, and commissions such as the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Bureau of Abandoned Mine Reclamation (PA DEP BAMR), National Association of Abandoned Mine Land Programs, and Interstate Mining Compact Commission.


Current Focus

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) was sweeping federal legislation regulating coal mining in the U.S. Prior to its original passage in 1977, the coal mining industry was largely unregulated, especially with regard to the environment. Over a century of environmentally insensitive mining practices took a huge toll on the land and water where mining occurred. But SMCRA changed the face of the coal mining industry into one with a significantly smaller environmental impact. SMCRA also provided a dedicated, but insufficient and declining, source of funds for states and tribes to address some of the most dangerous abandoned coal mines. Over the years, SMCRA has been amended several times, most recently on November 15, 2021 with the passage of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) or Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL).  BIL provides Pennsylvania and the nation with a once-in-a-life time opportunity to further address the Abandoned Mine Drainage (AMD) caused by the unregulated mining practices of the past. This orange water coats our streams and causes thousands of miles of streams to not support life.

Through the federal BIL funding, Pennsylvania will receive approximately $244.9 annually for the next fifteen years. Missing from the legislation is the ability to retain some of those funds for the operation, maintenance, and rehabilitation of AMD treatment systems beyond the 15 year period covered by the BIL.

The STREAM Act (S3957) introduced by Senator Casey (D-PA) and Senator Braun (R-IN) in the Senate and by Representative Cartwright and Representative McKinley in the House addresses this omission to ensure that Abandoned Mine Land (AML) grants from the infrastructure law can be utilized in the same way as grants allocated from the AML Trust Fund. Specifically, this bill would:

  1. Authorize states to set aside up to 30 percent of their annual IIJA-AML grant into an account for the treatment and abatement of acid mine drainage
  2. Require annual reporting on the use and amount of funds set aside for acid mine drainage abatement

The PA AML Campaign is working to convince Congress to pass the STREAM Act.  Passage of the STREAM Act will provide a mechanism that will allow Pennsylvania and other states affected by AMD to set aside a portion of their annual BIL grant to ensure the future operation of AMD water treatment infrastructure and not have those treatment systems become an unfunded taxpayer liability.

On July 30, 2022, the House of Representatives passed the STREAM Act - 391 yes votes and 9 no votes.  We will continue to support Senator Casey's efforts to get the Senate to pass the STREAM Act.


What the campaign supports








Legislative Roundup


S.3957 and H.R. 7283 - STREAM Act - 117th Congress (2021 - 2022)

Safeguarding Treatment for the Restoration of Ecosystems from Abandoned Mines Act or the STREAM Act This bill allows a state to set aside up to 30% of its annual grant for abandoned mine reclamation provided under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for the treatment and abatement of acid mine drainage, which is the release of acidic water from abandoned coal mines.

S. 1455 and H.R. 1733 - Revitalizing the Economy of Coal communities by Leveraging local Activities and Investing More Act - 117th Congress (2021 - 2022)

This bill revises requirements concerning the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund, including by expanding the eligible uses of the fund. Specifically, the bill allows the fund to be used to provide support for economic revitalization, diversification, and development in economically distressed mining communities through the reclamation and restoration of land and water resources adversely affected by abandoned coal mines.

In addition, it requires specified amounts to be annually distributed from the fund through FY2026 to states and Indian tribes for reclaiming and restoring lands and waters so affected.

H.R. 1146 - Community Reclamation Partnerships Act - 117th Congress (2021 - 2022)

To amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to authorize partnerships between States and nongovernmental entities for the purpose of reclaiming and restoring land and water resources adversely affected by coal mining activities before August 3, 1977, and for other purposes.


PA HB 2020

An Act amending Title 27 (Environmental Resources) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, in environmental stewardship and watershed protection, further providing for legislative findings, for fund and for agencies. This bill seeks to establish a framework for a Growing Greener III program.

PA HB 604

An Act amending the act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177, No.175), known as The Administrative Code of 1929, providing for environmental permits and plan approvals; making related repeals; and abrogating regulations.