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 Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), which would reauthorize the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) fee while instituting key reforms to the program to increase accountability.

“When you consider the years that priority reclamation projects have languished while funds have been siphoned off for purposes not imagined under the scope of the program, there’s no doubt that the AML program is in need of reform. The common sense actions outlined in this bill to encourage program transparency, accountability and effectiveness, while better reflecting the realities of the market, coupled with the President’s recent identification of the cleanup of abandoned mine lands as a priority, can help us chart a path forward to bipartisan partnership in achieving the program’s original purpose,” 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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