House Natural Resources Committee

Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee

Examining the Biden Administration’s Abandoned Mine Lands and Active Mining Programs

1324 Longworth
Tue, 14 Nov 2023 15:15:00 GMT

On Tuesday, November 14, 2023, at 10:15 a.m., in Room 1324 Longworth House Office Building, the Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing titled “Examining the Biden Administration’s Abandoned Mine Lands and Active Mining Programs.”

Hearing memo

  • Glenda Owens, Deputy Director, Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement
  • Kyle Wendtland, Administrator, Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Land Quality Division
  • Dustin Morin, Director, Mining and Reclamation Division, Alabama Department of Labor
  • Benjamin McCament, Chief, Division of Mineral Resources Management, Ohio Department of Natural Resources
  • Peter Morgan, Senior Attorney, Sierra Club Legislative Office

The two programs under Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) regulating active coal mining and AML reclamation are Title IV and Title V, respectively. Title IV of SMCRA establishes the AML Reclamation Program, which is funded by a fee on each ton of coal produced. This fee has been reauthorized eight times, most recently in 2021 under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), which lowered the fee level by 20 percent and reauthorized it through September 30, 2034. The funds raised by these fees are disbursed through a pre-set formula to states and tribes to reclaim coal mines on their lands that were abandoned prior to the enactment of SMCRA in 1977.4 The IIJA also provided $11.3 billion in additional funding for reclamation grants, distinct from the funds raised by the preexisting SMCRA fee on coal production. For active surface mining, SMCRA has Title V, which regulates production and details requirements for states to receive delegated authority to regulate coal mining in their state. As Title IV funding is exclusively used for AML reclamation, coal sites regulated under Title V are ineligible for grants from the AML Reclamation Fund.