LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Lawmakers from Appalachian states hit hard by a downturn in the coal industry are proposing to set aside $1 billion from a federal fund to use for economic development.
The House bill announced Wednesday mirrors a plan laid out last year in President Barack Obama’s budget proposal that diverts money from a fund devoted to redeveloping abandoned mining sites.
Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers is one of the bill’s co-sponsors. Rogers says the measure has bipartisan support and was crafted with help from the White House. The $1 billion taken from the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund would be used for economic development — tourism, infrastructure, new business — on or near sites that have been deemed abandoned mines.
Rogers says the funding is crucial to replacing lost coal-mining jobs.