MountainRose Vineyard in Wise County, VA is located on a reclaimed coal mine. Image:  Youtube/American Express

MountainRose Vineyard in Wise County, VA is located on a reclaimed coal mine.
Image: Youtube/American Express

As the coal industry has declined over the past few years, thousands of jobs have been lost. Policies like the RECLAIM Act can assist communities struggling with these mass layoffs in diversifying their economies, addressing environmental problems, and building a bright future.

The RECLAIM Act would provide an immediate economic boost through the release of $1 billion to reclaim abandoned coal mines. This money could put laid off miners—who possess the earth-moving skills necessary for reclamation work—and others to work reclaiming mines.  Estimates from OSMRE show the funds would create at least 4,600 reclamation jobs across the country.

Reclaimed sites could serve as locations for long-term economic opportunities to create permanent local jobs. By empowering citizens in coalfield communities to turn old pollution liabilities into business opportunities, the RECLAIM Act could help create a strong, just, and sustainable economy in Appalachia at a time when the economy is in dire straights. 

The RECLAIM Act was first introduced during last Congress, in February 2016 by a bipartisan group of legislators led by Congressman Hal Rogers (R-KY). The bill was introduced in the Senate in December 2016 by a group of senators led by Joe Manchin (D-WV).  In this Congress, the legislation was reintroduced in the House by Congressman Rogers and a bipartisan set of cosponsors in March 2017. In the Senate, Senator McConnell introduced a version of RECLAIM,  though it abandons the long-term economic development provision of the bill. Senator Manchin also re-introduced the version of the RECLAIM Act from last Congress. 

In June 2017, the House Natural Resources Committee strengthened the RECLAIM Act and passed the bill out of committee, both on a bipartisan basis. 

Abandoned underground and surface mines across the country have been leveraged to create thousands of jobs in agriculture, recreation, tourism, renewable energy production, retail, and beyond. View some examples below.

 

Examples of economic opportunities on reclaimed mines

The RECLAIM Act would help spur long-term economic projects on reclaimed mine sites. Abandoned underground and surface mines across the country have been leveraged to create thousands of jobs in agriculture, recreation, tourism, renewable energy production, retail, and beyond. View some examples below. 

Resources on the RECLAIM Act

Learn more about RECLAIM by checking out these resources:

 

How would the RECLAIM Act impact my state or region?

The RECLAIM Act will distribute more than $1 billion to states and tribes over five years. Funds will be distributed  to the following states and tribes: AL, AK, AR, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MD, MO, NM, ND, OH, OK, PA, TN, UT, VA, WV. In addition, WY, MT, TX, LA, MS, Hopi, Navajo, and Crow will all have the opportunity to apply for a portion of the total funding.

The documents below provide information on how the RECLAIM Act could impacts select state and congressional districts specifically. Estimated benefits for additional states and districts coming soon.

Illinois

Virginia

 

 

 

* Estimates of how much each state will receive through the RECLAIM Act are based on projections by OSMRE, August 2015. These projections are calculated based on a formula that distributes $195 million per year, under RECLAIM, to the 20 Uncertified states according to historic (pre-1977) coal production.  Estimates of the cost of remaining abandoned mines in a state or congressional district are based on data downloaded from e-AMLIS in March  or April of 2016