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DEP Secretary Writes Congressional Delegation On Mining Reclamation Funding Cut

Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Mike Krancer has weighed in against recent Congressional action reducing federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Funding to Pennsylvania by $200 million over the next 10 years.

On July 6 the the new federal Surface Transportation Bill (H.R. 4348) was signed into law.  Included in the bill within Section 100125 was an amendment sponsored by U.S. Senator Max Baucus (D-Montana) which will limit states like Pennsylvania to a maximum of $15 million in total annual payments from the AML Fund.

“The amendment fundamentally reverses the bipartisan compromise that was reached in the 2006 reauthorization of SMCRA which, among other things, directed more funds from the AML Trust Fund to states like Pennsylvania with a greater legacy of historic coal mining problems in need of reclamation,” said Secretary Krancer.  “Our AML Program has already identified 36 reclamation projects with an estimated reclamation cost of approximately $70 million that will be delayed or suspended over the next two years as a result of the significant reduction in AML grants to Pennsylvania.”

Secretary urged members of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation to support the repeal of these AML funding limits contained in H.R. 6113 and S. 3514.

Statewide there are a total of more than 184,000 acres of abandoned mine lands and 5,500 miles of biologically dead rivers and streams due to mine pollution.

A copy of the Secretary’s letter is available online.


9/24/2012

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