COAL COMPANY UNDERGROUND MINING PERMIT
March 22, 2002
December 13, 2000
Send a message that Tennessee needs money to clean up abandoned mining sites!
[Excerpts from a letter from SOCM]
In February 1998, the Associated Press ran a nationwide story with the title "Frozen Mine Fund Saving Budget But Costing Lives." On New Years Day, 1998, five people were killed when they missed a turn in the road and plunged into an icy, water-filled pit at an abandoned coal mine in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania.
Under the governments budget rules, unspent funds can be counted against the federal deficit. So each year, the federal government withholds more than $125 million in revenue collected for abandoned mine clean-up while over 11,000 old coal mines sit unreclaimed ? 283 in Tennessee. Now we hear that we have balanced the federal budget. Isnt it time this money was spent on what it was collected for?
In 1990, Congress and the White House allocated AML money to states based on their current coal production, not their actual need for funds to clean up abandoned mines. Now some states, such as Wyoming, get more AML money than they can possibly spend on clean-up while other states, especially in Appalachia, never have enough. Tennessee1s coal resources are nearly depleted. Consequently, the need for AML money in Tennessee is unmet while other states use the money for projects unrelated to abandoned mine clean-up.
The estimated cost to clean up Tennessees 283 abandoned coal mines is more than $39 million. This clean-up would create about 1,000 new jobs
in our coal mining communities.
Since sustainable economies and jobs are a priority for SOCM and money is available to clean up these mines, we are asking for your help.
Heres how you can help.
* Join me and 2,000 other SOCM members ? Lets reclaim 283 abandoned coal mine scars, create 1,000 new jobs in Tennessee, and put a stop to death and injury from these abandoned mines.
* Ask your County and City government to pass a resolution requesting the disbursement of AML Funds from DC for clean-up. Sample resolutions are available through the SOCM office. County Commissions in Anderson, Campbell, Sequatchie, Van Buren, and White counties have already taken this step.
* Write Representative Zach Wamp who is on the House Appropriation Committee and Interior Subcommittee. Ask him to support full spending and to spend the AML Funds on what they were collected for. (Address: The Honorable Zach Wamp, U.S. House of Representatives, 423 Cannon House Office Bldg., Washington, DC 20515.) Sample letters available from SOCM office.
* Write a letter to the editor of your local paper about SOCM1s AML work. If you need more information, let us know by indicating so on the enclosed reply card.
The mine that caused the New Years Tragedy was eligible for clean-up. There is plenty of money to get the job done if public safety is put ahead of politics.
Please return the enclosed reply card today. With your gift, we can send a clear message to the federal government, "Create Jobs ? Clean Up the Coal Fields!"
SOCM Strip Mine Committee