Stop mine cleanup payments to states that have already completed the cleanups

  • Potential 10 Year Savings: $1.2 Billion
  • Sponsor: Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick
  • Legislation: H.R. 3739
  • Status: Introduced

The federal government collects fees from coal mining companies to restore abandoned mining sites. Money from those fees is paid to states to restore abandoned mines within their state. However, several states have successfully restored all of their abandoned mining sites and now are permitted to use the federal mine cleanup payments for anything they want to spend it on. Effectively, for the states that have been "certified" as having successfully restored critical mining sites, the mine payments serve as an unrestricted federal subsidy. Several tribal governments also receive payments despite having already remediated all contaminated mining sites on their land. The Obama administration has proposed terminating these mine reclamation payments to states that no longer use them for their intended purpose.