A group of senators has introduced legislation aimed at restoring the economies of coal communities.
Lawmakers say the Reclaim Act will support those struggling in coal country.
“We care about coal country,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH).
The bill would provide a 15-year extension of the fee coal companies pay to fund reclamation programs.
Brown, a sponsor of the bill, says coal workers will also benefit from the American Rescue Plan that was passed back in March.
“To fix the pensions of these coal miners, and these coal miner’s widows, that’s the first step. But we need to do more for these communities,” said Brown.
Republicans, like West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito support the bill, but are still concerned that coal miners are leaving states like hers because of the lack of opportunities.
“I encourage all of that, but I’d rather see it be actual result in, you know, stemming our population loss,” said Moore Capito (R-WV).
Capito says the coal industry in her state has struggled for years and wants to make sure the workers are not left behind.
“We’ve heard this so many times, oh, we’re going to retrain and rework our workforce, and it’s going to be great for everybody. And we know that hasn’t happened,” said Moore Capito.
Last week the Energy Department announced they were investing $100 million to support jobs in coal and power plant communities.