A fun fact buried in here that I wasn’t aware of is that PA has $15 billion worth of mine-related obligations to fix. Zach Geiger says he federal transportation bill is making it worse for state taxpayers:
Pennsylvania lawmakers hope to repeal an amendment in the national Surface Transportation Bill that is estimated to deprive the commonwealth of about $178 million to $200 million in federal mine reclamation funds over the next decade.
Used for mine reclamation and acid mine drainage programs, the funds come from a federal tax on the active coal mining industry under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. Money is placed into the Abandoned Mine Lands fund and then distributed to qualifying states for remediation projects directly related to the coal industry.
While Pennsylvania received about $67 million from the fund in 2012, the new amendment places a cap on those annual payouts at just $15 million – leaving officials to question how the state can foot a $15 billion cleanup bill across dozens of counties.
“Pennsylvania has the most abandoned mine problems of any state in the country,” said Andy McAllister, regional director of the nonprofit Western Pennsylvania Coalition for Abandoned Mine Reclamation. “This is very disconcerting for our communities.”