An informal cooperative of non-profit organizations, government agencies, and concerned citizens working across the coal regions of the United States to promote Federal, State, and Tribal policies for the remediation of the issues caused by our nation’s pre-regulation and abandoned coal mines. Presently, the AML Campaign’s main focus is the Re-Authorization of the Surface Mine Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) of 1977, federal legislation that set a per-ton collection fee on today’s coal mining industry that is used to correct the environmental and socio-economical degradation from pre-regulation abandoned coal mines. An action by the United States Congress will ensure that funding will continue into the future.
Based on requested funding levels, projected future production, and estimated costs of cleaning up inventoried sites, it will take 15 years to address most of the abandoned mine problems.
Since the enactment of SMCRA in 1977, the per ton reclamation fees have never accounted for inflation while the cost of reclamation continues to rise. We propose that the reclamation fee should be restructured to 35 cents per ton of coal produced by surface coal mining and underground mining, except that the reclamation fee for lignite coal shall be at a rate of 2 per centum of the value of the coal at the mine, or 10 cents per ton, whichever is less.
Since 2006, this funding has been set at $3 million. In recent years, minimum program states have received significantly less due to sequestration. Additionally, in recent years, OSMRE has discontinued support to states and tribes with AML emergencies forcing states and tribes to use annual allotment to mitigate AML emergencies. Increasing this amount would help make up for past under- funding and ensure that states and tribes with significant AML problems but low production would be able to continue running effective programs. This potentially affects ten states.
Funds in the AML Trust Fund collected through SMCRA Title IV are not taxpayer funds, they are dedicated funds which can only be sued for AML reclamation, and thus will not accomplish deficit reduction. The only way to exempt these funds from sequestration is to include it in legislation. If the AML Fund grants continue to be subject to sequestration, States will lose upwards of $188 Million and Pennsylvania alone stands to lose upwards of $37 million over the remaining seven years of the current AML program. The SMCRA Title IV grants should be exempt from sequestration and all Title IV sequestered funds should be given back to the states, retroactive to FY 2013.
There is another spending Bill put forth by the House of Representatives for the 2016- 2017 year which calls for another infusion of funds to selected states very similar to the one from last year. If this spending bill passes this fall, it will result in another infusion of funding to Pennsylvania.
No supporting documents at this time.