This legislation includes an amendment offered by Congressman Morgan Griffith (R-VA) that expands on the Administration’s POWER Plus program, a program which acknowledges the damaging effects of the Administration’s regulatory onslaught in coal-producing communities. Griffith’s amendment provides an increase in grant funding to Appalachian states for the reclamation of abandoned mine lands in conjunction with economic and community development and reuse goals.
The House Interior Appropriations Committee initially recommended that Virginia receive $5 million when expanding these grants. Believing additional funding is needed to assist with economic development work in Appalachia, Griffith worked closely with Committee staff on his amendment to double that amount to $10 million.
Griffith said, “While I continue fighting to defend the reasonable, rational use of coal and working to counter the ongoing regulatory onslaught on coal regions, my efforts to advance economic development strategies are ongoing as well. Frankly, the need is great in hard-hit areas like Southwest Virginia. I was encouraged that the underlying Interior Appropriations bill expands these important grants to central Appalachian coal-producing states including Virginia, and appreciate the support of my colleagues in passing my amendment. It will have a significant impact on economic development work throughout Appalachia. Much more work must be done to reinvigorate the economic prospects in coal communities in Southwest Virginia and throughout our region. But this program is an essential tool to help Appalachian areas struggling with reclaiming and restoring abandoned mine sites in a way that will put people back to work.”