Rep. Cera Delivers Keynote Address To Ohio Mineland Partnership
Lawmaker discusses challenges, benefits to reclaiming abandoned mines
October 16, 2015
 
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State Rep. Jack Cera (D-Bellaire) recently served as the keynote speaker at the Ohio Mineland Partnership 2015 Fall Conference in Marietta. The Ohio Mineland Partnership is a group of governmental, business and individuals who work to responsibly reclaim abandoned former mined lands in Ohio.    


Ohio has thousands of acres of abandoned surface mines, underground mines and land impacted by coal refuse. Over 1,800 miles of streams have also been affected by acid mine drainage and sedimentation. In his speech, Rep. Cera discussed a number of issues Ohio faces in dealing with the problems left behind by the mining industry, including funding, which primarily comes from the federal Surface Mining Reclamation Control Act.


“Since the funding for these projects comes from the tax on both surface-mined and underground-mined coal, we have to be concerned that the new environmental rules may reduce the overall amount of coal mined and therefore make much less money available for completing important mine reclamation projects,” Cera stated. “Furthermore, I believe that reclamation funds should not be diverted for other, unrelated projects. The fact that federal reclamation funds have been spent on a college gymnasium in the West while our residents here deal with severe environmental damage caused by past mining is unacceptable.”


Rep. Cera has a long history of working on issues involving abandoned mined land problems in Eastern Ohio. He currently serves as the Chair of the Council on Unreclaimed Strip Mined Lands (CURSML) which approves funding for projects to restore and repair problems with abandoned mined lands.


“I appreciate the work done by the Ohio Division of Resource Management to make the best use of the funding that comes to Ohio to deal with these issues and as Chair of CURSML, I look forward to working with them to find other ways to fund projects to restore the lands and waterways affected by pre-law mining activities,” Cera stated.


Types of projects considered by CURSML include re-mining, in which old, abandoned sites are reopened to private interests, who contribute to cleaning up the site while benefitting from the coal that is removed. Re-mining is often accomplished with little or no cost to the taxpayers. 


For more information on Ohio Minedland Partnership, visit:  http://www.buckeyehillsrcd.org/Ohio%20Mineland%20Partnership.html

 
 
 
  
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