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10/13/2004

UMWA head says reclamation program must continue

The president of the United Mine Workers of America says the Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation program must stay afloat for public safety and to protect health-care benefits for retired miners.U-M-W-A president Cecil Roberts told an audience in Castlewood on Saturday that Congress took a "good step" in deciding to continue collecting the federal coal production fee past the September 30th expiration.

Lawmakers have until November 20th to decide the future of the program, which reclaims abandoned coal mines that were active prior to the 1977 federal surface mine laws.

Coal companies pay 35 cents for each ton of strip-mined coal and 15 cents per ton for coal harvested in underground mines.

Some of the money is also used for public water projects since some mining practices damaged water supplies in coalfield communities.

The interest collected on the A-M-L funds provides health benefits to more than a thousand retired union miners in Virginia.

Roberts says the abandoned mine sites pose serious danger to the public.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION AND SAVE THE MINERS HEALTH CARE

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