Charleston Gazette-Mail – A bill nearing passage in the West Virginia House of Delegates that would set up an insurance company with $50 million in taxpayer money to provide alternative bonding for coal mine operators drew opposition from nearly all speakers at a public hearing Monday. Read the full article.
Environmentalists and other concerned citizens spoke out against Senate Bill 1, whose lead sponsor Senate President Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, has argued would be a pivotal step toward keeping the state’s mine cleanup funds from slipping further toward insolvency.
The bill aims to protect the state’s Special Reclamation Fund from further financial strain as the coal industry declines, resulting in a potential spike in bankruptcies that leave the fund — and state taxpayers — on the hook for coal companies’ unfulfilled mine reclamation obligations.
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