Congress must take specific action to help coalfield communities rebound from the economic challenges that existed before COVID-19 and that continue to worsen amidst the pandemic. At the same time, actions to stimulate the economy must have the support of communities directly impacted by abandoned mine sites, including when and whether to start working in the face of COVID-19.
Fortunately, there are policies that would accomplish these goals. They include reauthorizing the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Fund well beyond fall 2021, when it’s currently set to expire, and passing the RECLAIM Act, which would appropriate current AML funds for good-paying jobs in environmental reclamation. Combined, these policies will set the stage for a longer-term path to economic diversification throughout West Virginia’s coalfield communities.
Here is a link to the full blog post written by Seth DiStefano, Policy Outreach Director with the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy.