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West Virginia lawmakers shuffle responsibility on “billion-dollar” mine reclamation problem

By Mike Tony, Charleston Gazette-Mail

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Moments after West Virginia lawmakers received copies of an audit report warning that state mine cleanup funds are nearing insolvency, the Senate president sought to put the problem on someone else’s table.

“We need to be able to take your report and repackage it in such a way that we can actually put that on Senator Manchin’s desk,” state Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, said to Patrick Renick, the legislative auditor who spent 20 minutes Monday guiding senators and delegates through the 80-page report filed by the state Post Audit Division.

Blair recalled a meeting with U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm in Morgantown. The session highlighted $38 billion in federal funding that a White House-formed federal work group has identified as available for communities hit hard by the nation’s transition from fossil fuels.

“When they were asking how they could help,” Blair said, “I brought up this issue.”

But the report that Blair wanted on Manchin’s desk calls for West Virginia legislators and environmental regulators to fix the mine cleanup fund themselves, something they have put off for years…

To read more: https://www.wvgazettemail.com/news/energy_and_environment/wv-lawmakers-shuffle-responsibility-on-billion-dollar-mine-reclamation-problem/article_7f7da895-cd56-594f-90d7-7fdcb29ad429.html

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