September 27, 2016 Read More →

Strong Public Support for RECLAIM Act in Eastern Kentucky

Bill Estep for the Louisville (Ky.) Herald-Leader:

There is strong support among voters of all stripes for a proposal that would provide $1 billion for mine reclamation projects in Eastern Kentucky and other areas hurt by a slump in coal jobs, according to a seven-state poll released Monday.

The poll found that 89 percent of registered voters back what is known as the RECLAIM Act.

The proposal would speed up the release of $1 billion from the federal abandoned mine land fund.

The idea behind the proposal is to use the money for reclamation work linked to efforts to diversify the economy of Eastern Kentucky and other areas long tied to coal.

More than half the coal jobs in Eastern Kentucky have withered away in recent years, sapping the economy.

If the RECLAIM bill is approved, it would release a total of $1 billion over five years to participating states and tribes for reclamation projects.

U.S. Rep. Hal Rogers, a Republican who represents Eastern and Southern Kentucky, said the state would get a total of $100 million under the bill.

That would be on top of its regular appropriations. The state received $17 million from the fund this fiscal year, according to the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet.

Rogers announced the RECLAIM bill in February. The House has approved it, but not the Senate.

Rogers said the measure has bipartisan support.

In addition to overall backing of 89 percent for the proposal, there was clear support among respondents in every age group, income bracket and political party, according to the polling company.

For instance, 93 percent of Democrats, 89 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of independent votes said they support the measure, according to a release.

At least 84 percent of voters in each age group said they supported the proposal, and minimum support among various income levels was 88 percent, the release said

Full article: $1 billion aid proposal for coal areas has strong support in poll

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