Overview of the Issue

Abandoned coal mines can be a big problem for local fish. Over time, hazardous runoff from these mines can pollute nearby lakes, rivers and streams and have a negative impact on wildlife.

The Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Trust Fund was established in 1977 to require coal companies to pay a fee on each ton of coal mined in order to restore lands no longer in use. These abandoned mines are potential sources of hazardous materials that can leak into nearby  lakes, rivers and streams, harming the ecosystem, including fisheries.

Since its inception, the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Program has invested more than $5.7 billion in mitigating the hazards posed by abandoned mines. Approximately $616 million has been spent to clean up water hazards in communities across the country.

What ASA is Doing

The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Amendments Act of 2021 and the Revitalizing the Economy of Coal Communities by Leveraging Local Activities and Investing More Act of 2021 (RECLAIM) were introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.) and Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.), and Reps. Cartwright (D-Pa.) and Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), respectively. Collectively, these bills would reauthorize the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) trust fund, which expires in September 2021, and make updates to provide additional resources for the improvement of communities around AML projects.

ASA engaged Keep America Fishing supporters nationwide by asking them to send a message to their U.S. Representative requesting their support on these two bills.

What You Can Do

Sign up to receive updates from Keep America Fishing.

Download the Advocacy Checklist and learn how you can get involved with the issues that affect our industry.

For more information, contact ASA Vice President of Government Affairs Mike Leonard.