NMA Supports “Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fee Reauthorization Act”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Mining Association (NMA) today applauded the “Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fee Reauthorization Act,” introduced by Wyoming Senators John Barrasso and Cynthia Lummis, which would reauthorize the fee for seven years, ensuring a steady source of revenue for cleanup activities by right-sizing the fees to better reflect the state of the industry, while also directing the Department of Interior to identify cost savings and tighten oversight of expenditures.

“The coal industry is committed to supporting the remediation of abandoned mines and has already contributed $12 billion to those efforts over the years. Unfortunately, much of those funds have been expended on administrative costs, or gone to projects other than the cleanup of priority mine sites. The coal industry is not in a position to throw more good money after bad so instituting the reforms necessary to maintain a sustainable fund is essential. Importantly, Sen. Barrasso’s bill will encourage better program controls and oversight, while also acknowledging market realities, and deserves bipartisan support to ensure the ongoing successful remediation intended under the AML program,” said Rich Nolan, NMA President and CEO.

Originally created in 1977, the AML fee is set to expire on September 30, 2021; the bill would extend the fee until 2028.

To date, the coal industry has paid nearly $12 billion into the AML fund to reclaim legacy abandoned mines only to see much of those funds disappear. Due to prior weaknesses in program management, just one in three dollars spent by the fund has gone to priority coal projects that the fund was intended to rehabilitate. A General Accounting Office (GAO) report found that between 1985-1990 $360 million, or 28 percent, of the $1.3 billion spent during that period was used for federal and state administrative expenses.

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