PRIOR PRINTER'S NO. 1130
PRINTER'S NO. 1286
THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PENNSYLVANIA
SENATE RESOLUTION
No.
191
Session of
2019
INTRODUCED BY YUDICHAK, FARNESE, FONTANA, IOVINO, ARGALL,
GORDNER, COSTA, YAW, PITTMAN AND TARTAGLIONE, AUGUST 7, 2019
SENATOR YAW, ENVIRONMENTAL RESOURCES AND ENERGY, AS AMENDED,
OCTOBER 22, 2019
A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION
Urging the Congress of the United States to reauthorize
provisions related to the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund.
WHEREAS, Substantial coal mining has occurred in the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for more than 130 years and the
industry has been a significant employer of our residents for
most of these years; and
WHEREAS, At least 44 of Pennsylvania's 67 counties are
affected by abandoned coal mines; and
WHEREAS, At least 1.4 million Pennsylvanians live within one
mile of abandoned mine lands; and
WHEREAS, Abandoned mines in Pennsylvania pose serious
hazards, including dangerous shafts, mountains of black waste,
scarred landscapes and acidic drainage, which has polluted more
than 5,500 miles of Pennsylvania streams and other hazards
threatening human health and safety; and
WHEREAS, Abandoned mines and abandoned mine lands create
negative impacts on local economies by destroying recreational
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opportunities, lowering land values and leaving desolate
communities when the mines are exhausted; and
WHEREAS, Abandoned mine lands ruin sites for further
residential, forestry, commercial or agricultural uses and
threaten the human health and safety of people living in our
coal field communities; and
WHEREAS, The estimated cost of Pennsylvania's abandoned mine-
related cleanup is $15 billion; and
WHEREAS, Reclamation of abandoned mine sites can add to the
economy by creating jobs, increasing community pride, increasing
property values, decreasing stress-related costs through stream-
based recreation, restoring the health of the environment and
providing future sites for commercial and industrial endeavors;
and
WHEREAS, The Congress of the United States enacted the
Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund under Title IV of the Surface
Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA), which
reclaimed areas abandoned before 1977 and established the modern
environmental standards requiring mine operators to reclaim
their sites; and
WHEREAS, The SMCRA imposed on coal operators a fee of 35¢ per
ton on surface mined coal, 15¢ per ton on deep mined coal and
10¢ per ton on mined lignite to provide a source of revenue for
the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund; and
WHEREAS, The scope of the abandoned mine problem continues to
outpace available resources; and
WHEREAS, In 2006 Congress reauthorized the SMCRA, which
extended fee collection through 2021, increased the set-aside
for acid mine drainage from 10% to 30% and provided for
mandatory distribution of abandoned mine lands money; and
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WHEREAS, The Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund is not derived
from a tax and is not funded from the United States Treasury;
and
WHEREAS, Money in the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund is
derived from a per-ton fee assessed on coal mined by the active
mining industry that can only be used for purposes authorized
under Title IV of the SMCRA; and
WHEREAS, The deposit of mined coal fees into the Abandoned
Mine Reclamation Fund under Title IV of the SMCRA is set to
expire in 2021; and
WHEREAS, Pennsylvania has relied upon the Abandoned Mine
Reclamation Fund as a primary source of money to clean up toxic
mine water in our water supplies, restore land, extinguish mine
fires and eliminate other dangerous abandoned mine hazards;
therefore be it
RESOLVED (the Senate HOUSE concurring), That the General
Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania urge the Congress
of the United States to reauthorize the collection of fees on
mined coal at the restored 1977 levels of 35¢ 28¢ per ton on
surface mined coal, 15¢ 12¢ per ton on deep mined coal and 10¢
8¢ per ton on mined lignite; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania urge the Congress of the United States to extend
the collection of fees through 2036, exempt the Surface Mining
Control and Reclamation Act Title IV grants from sequestration
and require all Title IV sequestered money to be transferred to
states retroactively to fiscal year 2013; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania urge the Congress of the United States to raise the
mandatory distribution from the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund
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for minimum program states to $5 million; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania urge the Congress of the United States to establish
in the budget of the United States Office of Surface Mining
Reclamation and Enforcement a direct line item for emergency
projects to reflect the need for remediating abandoned mine land
emergencies in all states and tribes; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania urge the Congress of the United States to continue
mandatory distribution of future allocated reclamation money and
to maintain the current definition of "reclamation priorities"
to adequately address all land and water problems created by
abandoned mines, including water polluted by acid mine drainage;
and be it further
RESOLVED, That the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania urge the Congress of the United States to use
future allocations from the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund in
ways that promote reclamation, leverage private investment,
encourage development where appropriate and complement or match
other funds available for redevelopment of abandoned mine land
sites; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania urge the Congress of the United States to limit the
transfer of interest generated by the Abandoned Mine Reclamation
Fund to the Combined Benefit Fund to defray health costs for
retired miners and their dependents whose companies are bankrupt
or are no longer in business and maintain the SMCRA 30% set-
aside option.
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