Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Andy Barr must fight to strengthen and pass the RECLAIM Act. In Kentucky, we need strong policies that clean up our abandoned mining sites and attract new businesses and opportunities for working families. Most people agree that we need more diverse job options that provide family wages, union benefits and economic stability.
RECLAIM directs $1 billion to mine cleanup projects that prioritize economic diversification and development, along with community participation. McConnell and Barr must go all out to not only get this bill passed, but also to protect it from being watered down. Recently, a new version was introduced that stripped away vital language about economic diversification and local input for selecting projects.
This would be unacceptable. Kentucky communities need the RECLAIM Act to work as it was originally intended. It is not just about cleaning up mining sites (though this is critical), it’s also about letting local residents have a say in the projects and creating new businesses to diversify the economies of coal communities. The bill’s champion, Rep. Hal Rogers, has shown a willingness to hear concerns, so we need McConnell and Barr to do everything they can to get this language into the 2017 bill and get it passed.