By Andy McAllister, Regional Coordinator, WPCAMR
On Friday, December 23rd, the US House of Representatives passed the Omnibus spending bill. Attached to that bill was the STREAM Act. The STREAM Act (S3957), introduced by Senator Casey (D-PA) and Senator Braun (R-IN), ensures that Abandoned Mine Land (AML) grants from the Infrastructure Law can be utilized in the same way as grants allocated from the AML Trust Fund. Specifically, this bill would:
Authorize states to set aside up to 30 percent of their annual Infrastructure Law-AML grant into an account for the treatment and abatement of acid mine drainage
Require annual reporting on the use and amount of funds set aside for acid mine drainage abatement
Passage of the STREAM Act is a huge step forward. It provides a mechanism that will allow Pennsylvania and other states affected by AMD to set aside a portion of their annual Infrastructure funding grant to ensure the future operation of AMD water treatment infrastructure and not have those treatment systems become an unfunded taxpayer liability.
The Pennsylvania Abandoned Mine Land (PA AML) Campaign, a coalition of concerned individuals and organizations, asked watershed organizations and all concerned citizens to reach out to members of the PA Delegation to support the STREAM Act. Thanks in large part to thier actions and advocacy, the STREAM Act passed the Senate then ultimately passed the House and to the President for his signature.
The STREAM Act is a win/win for Pennsylvania and will provide the state with more flexibility in putting Infrastructure Law funding to the best use. Please remember to thank Senator Casey and any PA US Representatives who supported the STREAM Act. Thank you for your continued work cleaning up PA’s Abandoned Mine legacy.