In case you missed it, FOB went to Washington DC last month and had the opportunity lobby for environmental policy that we stand behind. AML Reauthorization Act, H.R.4248, which would reauthorize the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Trust Fund, was one Act that we made sure to represent well on behalf of West Virginia. These funds are critically important for job creation, economic development, wildlife habitat and the environmental health of communities across the United States.
The Office of Abandoned Mine Lands does tremendous work in WV, including mine land reclamation and Acid Mine Drainage treatment. This current fee that supports AML (ranging form 8-25 cents per ton of coal produced) is set to expire in 2021 but the reclamation work in WV that must be done is far from complete!
The AML Reauthorization Act (H.R. 4248) will:
- Extend states’ authority to collect fees at current levels for 15 years;
- Expand funding for states that have not been certified for reclaiming high-priority coal AML areas;
- Provide for the delegation of emergency AML programs to states;
- And reimburse states for AML fees that were sequestered since Fiscal Year 2013.
AML will be engineering and constructing an active treatment site on the North Fork of the Blackwater River in 2021 and 2022 which would remove almost all of the AMD from the North Fork. If these funds expire, the Blackwater won’t see that restoration completed. We are joining with other WV groups, including Friends of the Cheat, Trout Unlimited, and the WV Highlands Conservancy to urge legislators to approve this funding.
Be on the lookout for ways that you can support this AML re-authorization in 2020!