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Governor Justice urges West Virginia Congressional Delegation to reauthorize AML Program

By John Tyson, The Welch News

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Friday, Gov. Jim Justice sent a letter to West Virginia’s congressional delegation, urging immediate action to reauthorize the Abandoned Mine Lands (AML) program.

“West Virginia coal has powered the country for decades and paid for the reclamation of thousands of AML sites,” Gov. Justice said. “Not only does this funding provide a tremendous environmental benefit, but it is an amazing economic driver for our local communities.”

The fees paid by the coal industry since 1977 to fund correction of hazards left behind by mines operated before 1977 is set to expire in September of this year. A federal inventory of the work yet to be done by the AML program estimates that more than $11 billion-worth of AML work remains across the country. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s (WVDEP) own inventory estimates that $4.2 billion-worth of this work needs to be done in West Virginia.

AML work funds millions of dollars in good paying jobs that are well-suited to the skills of West Virginia’s coalfield workforce. In his letter, Gov. Justice asked members of West Virginia’s congressional delegation to take immediate action on legislation to extend the AML fee at current rates for another 15 years, conveying his support for an extension of the fees paid by industry so this important work can continue. The Governor also voiced his support for the acceleration of the use of monies in the existing federal AML Trust Fund – currently about $2.2 billion through the channels of the existing AML program – so abandoned mine hazards can be corrected sooner rather than later…

To read more: https://www.welchnews.com/2021/06/14/gov-justice-urges-west-virginia-congressional-delegation-to-reauthorize-aml-program/

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