US Congress to consider RECLAIM bill to support mine rehabilitation


This week, a subcommittee of the US Congress will hear arguments in favour of a bill that would fast-track funding to the Department of the Interior’s Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program (AMLRP), a federal programme that aims to rehabilitate the lands around abandoned mines.

The AMLRP has collected a fund of $11.1bn through a tax on all US-produced coal since its inception in 1977, and has around $2.4bn in available funds. With 6.2 million acres of land and water damaged by mining operations, and the cost of rehabilitating all former mining land reaching at least $9.6bn, according to a 2015 report, the federal fund is an important measure in undoing some of the more harmful consequences of mining in the US.

The bill being considered is the Revitalizing the Economy of Coal Communities by Leveraging Local Activities and Investing More Act (RECLAIM), which would fast-track $1bn of additional funding to the programme over the next five years. The bill would also extend the influence of the AMLRP, which is currently scheduled to end in 2021…