Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce Business Journal and Other Publications Q1 2016 Business Journal - Page 19

Wyoming. This provision is the culmination of three years of work by this delegation to properly restore AML funds to Wyoming, and I sincerely thank John and Cynthia for their efforts.” Barrasso, who served on the House-Senate Conference Committee that helped negotiate final details of the highway measure said, “It came down to a matter of fairness to return what was wrongfully taken from Wyoming years ago. The delegation was relentless and after a long stubborn fight, the federal government will be forced to stand by their commitments to the people of Wyoming. With energy revenues on the decline, it’s even more important now that Wyoming receives the money Washington owes us,” Barrasso said. “This Abandoned Mine Land money has always rightfully belonged to Wyoming, despite Senate Democrats’ middle-of-the-night provision in the last multi-year highway bill that stripped this money from Wyoming,” said Rep. Lummis. “I am very proud and very pleased that our hard fought battle has won this victory for Wyoming. Righting this wrong could not have come at a better time, especially with the drop in revenues from coal, oil, and gas. I thank and congratulate Senator Enzi and Senator Barrasso. This was a team effort and I couldn’t be happier: a full restoration of the AML monies legally owed to Wyoming.” Since 1977, federal law requires coal operators to pay a fee on each ton of coal into the Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund. Annually, ABANDONED MINE LANDS half of the funds were to be returned to the state from which they were collected to be used for such purposes as mine reclamation and restoration of land and water resources affected by coal mining. In 2012, a provision was added to a transportation bill to limit funds paid to each state to $15 million annually, shorting states like Wyo- The Bureau of Land Management’s Abandoned Mine Lands ming by hundreds of millions of dollars. (AML) program enhances The House of Representatives voted 359 to 65 and the Senate vot- improves water quality by ed 83 to 16 to approve the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, the bill that includes the AML provision. M public safety and reducing or eliminating the effects of past hardrock mining in the western United States. BUSINESS JOURNAL | 19