State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) today announced the introduction of House Bill 489, legislation to support abandoned mine reclamation, promote mine safety, and encourage the employment of laid-off mine workers.
Under HB 489, three percent of funds from the Kilowatt Hour Tax Receipts Fund will be allocated to abandoned mine reclamation and acid mine drainage (AMD) abatement and treatment. The legislation also calls for earmarking an additional .75 percent of the Kilowatt Hour Tax to the Mine Safety Fund to help with safety training for existing coal miners and for the operation of the Mine Training Center.
“For many years, most electric generation in Ohio came from coal, so it makes sense to use just a small part of this revenue to help reclaim and restore abandoned coal mines,” said Cera. “There are many acres in Ohio that still need reclaimed and many streams with AMD problems. By restoring these sites, we can help improve land and water resources adversely affected by past pre-law coal mining practices, especially in eastern Ohio.”
HB 489 also requires the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to develop a bidding process that encourages the hiring of dislocated coal miners by companies contracted to complete mine reclamation work.
“This bill will help address funding problems for reclamation work, while also helping put displaced miners back to work,” said Cera. “This proposal is a win-win when it comes to addressing some of the critical economic and environmental problems faced by communities in the coal-producing area of the state.”
House Bill 489 will now go to a House committee for consideration.