As I predicted yesterday, (See Obama and abandoned coal mines) political leaders from Wyoming are not too happy with President Barack Obama’s plan to stop giving them Abandoned Mine Lands money to use for projects other than cleaning up abandoned coal mines.
According to an Associated Press account, Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal (a Democrat) — among others — said he would work withÂ his state’s congressional delegation to resist Obama’s plan.
We will work shoulder to shoulder with our delegation, as we did when the state’s share of federal mineral royalties was reduced from 50 percent to 48 percent.Â We intend to work closely with the congressional delegation on this going forward.
Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said: “This is a past obligation and to threaten to take away what we are already owed is outrageous.”
Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., joined Enzi in blasting Obama’s AML proposal.
“In 2006, after nearly 30 years of bipartisan effort, an agreement was found and signed into law. A commitment was made not to change the bill in middle of the game,” Barrasso said.
Said Lummis, “I can say with full confidence that I and Wyoming’s current congressional delegation will not rest until President Obama’s current AML proposal is buried.”
Interestingly, the AP story had this bit of background:
In Wyoming, the state Legislature votes on which projects to fund with AML money. Last year, the Legislature’s appropriation included $17.4 million for the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources operating budget, $20 million for the School of Energy Research to build a gasification facility and technology center, and $10 million for the construction of a road to a planned coal-to-liquid plant in Carbon County.
None of those projects sound much like abandoned mine cleanups to me…
Recall that what Obama proposes is to stop allowing states to use money from the coal production tax that’s intended to clean up abandoned coal mines for other projects.
The president said Thursday his proposal “will save nearly $200 million [a year] by stopping wasteful payments to clean up abandoned coal mines that just happen to have already been cleaned up.”