Cheney Introduces Bill To Reauthorize The Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fee For 7 Years
Congresswoman Liz Cheney on Thursday introduced 4/13 H.R. 2462 "The Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Fee Reauthorization Act of 2021," which would reauthorize the collection of the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) fee for seven years and reduce the fee rates by 40%. Cheney said:
"The AML fund plays a key role in ensuring that hazardous coal mining sites that have been abandoned are reclaimed by distributing funds to the sites that are deemed a priority. … We need to do what we can to ensure our coal industry can continue to provide good paying jobs and contribute to local and state economies.”
Reps. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Carol Miller (R-WV), and Steve Stivers (R-OH) are original cosponsors of the House bill introduced by Rep. Cheney.
Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) introduced a similar bill in the Senate last year which would have lowered the fee rates by 35%.
The Wyoming Mining Association Executive Director Travis Deti issued the following statement:
“The Wyoming Mining Association applauds this effort. Wyoming coal miners continue to pay the lion’s share into the AML fund in very difficult operating conditions. The bill will allow for some much needed relief for coal operators while keeping the fund strong."
Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon issued the following statement:
Wyoming coal producers currently pay more than 50% of the current fee. It is also the time to make well-reasoned changes in the program. This bill reauthorizes the process for seven years.
In addition, recognizing what is happening to the coal market, it reduces the fee by 40%. A healthy coal industry means that the nation has a healthy abandoned mine cleanup program. Considering the current balance in the AML Trust Fund, this fee reduction will not hamper historic or current reclamation efforts in AML programs nationwide.”
The authority to collect AML fees expires on September 30, 2021. The seven-year extension is shorter than the usual fifteen-year reauthorization allowing for more frequent opportunities to update and revise the AML program.