December 15, 2016

Warner, Kaine Introduce Bill To Reinvigorate Coal Communities

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine introduced the RECLAIM Act last week, legislation that will provide funds to states and Indian tribes for the purpose of promoting economic revitalization, diversification, and development in economically distressed communities through the reclamation and restoration of land and water resources adversely affected by coal mining.

“We have a lot of work to do to ensure that communities that have historically relied on coal are not being left behind by rapid technological and economic shifts,” said Warner. “The RECLAIM Act will speed up the release of a billion dollars already set aside to help Appalachian communities respond to environmental damage from coal mining, and fast-track investments in projects to restore the environment, create new jobs, and diversify the economy so that more people have greater access to economic opportunities.”

“Mine reclamation supports 300 to 400 Virginia jobs per year, contributes to economic revitalization, and cleans up contaminated land and water. For decades, coal companies have been paying fees per ton of coal to support reclamation projects, and today, many of those dollars sit in a federal account, unused. Senator Warner and I are proud to co-sponsor this common-sense bill, with our Democratic colleagues from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia, that will turn those dollars loose to support new reclamation projects in Southwest Virginia,” Kaine said.

The RECLAIM Act aims to support new economic and community development opportunities in impacted coal communities. This legislation utilizes $1 billion of existing funds from the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund to revitalize coal communities. Last week, Warner spoke on the Senate floor to push Congress to protect the health and pension benefits of retired coal miners and their families by passing the bipartisan Miners Protection Act, which both he and Kaine sponsored.