Under President Trump’s proposed budget funding for the Appalachian Regional Commission, a federal-state partnership intended to create economic opportunities in thirteen Appalachian states would be eliminated. The Commission is an independent agency established in 1965 under President Linden Johnson as part of his War on Poverty. Many of the projects funded by the Commission involve the cleanup of abandoned mine sites, sometimes turning them into agricultural or recreational lands, and to provide training and jobs for workers dislocated from the coal and coal-fired power plant industries. The Commission’s annual operating budget is $146 million, and from October 2015 to January 2017, the program supported 662 projects in Appalachia that created or retained more than 23,617 jobs and trained more than 49,000 students and workers.
President Trump’s budget would also cancel Discretionary Abandoned Mine Land Grants that overlap with existing with mandatory grants. One discretionary program expected to be affected is the Watershed Cooperative Agreement Program which helps local group’s clean up acid mine drainage sites. Also vulnerable under the proposed budget is the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization Pilot Program which provides $30 million each to Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and West Virginia for reclamation and economic development.
For more information, please contact Phillip Hoover.