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New version of RECLAIM Act introduced in Senate

Coal county residents haven’t given up on seeing the passage of the RECLAIM Act — legislation meant to free a billion dollars from the federal Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund to help spur economic development in communities hurting from the downturn in the coal industry, Kentucky Public Radio reports.

“ The original RECLAIM Act was introduced in February by Kentucky Congressman Hal Rogers and 27 other representatives,” KPR’s Erica Peterson writes this week. “But despite its bipartisan support, the bill never moved out of committee. Now, another version has been introduced in the Senate.

“ The Senate bill was introduced by West Virginia Senator Manchin, and co-sponsored by Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Tim Kaine and Mark Warner of Virginia and Robert Casey of Pennsylvania. All represent coal states, and all are Democrats.”

Letcher County resident Katie Dollarhide told Peterson the new version of the bill could be just what the doctor ordered for coal country.

“It would mean cleaning up the environment that has been devastated for generations and generations and generations,” Dollarhide told Peterson. “There’s money sitting there in a fund that has billions and billions and billions of dollars — I don’t know how much. It’s sitting there, just taking in the interest and that’s great, that it’s building up. But right now, we need that to boost our economy.”

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