CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Obama administration is bringing back its proposal to stop sending money intended for cleaning up abandoned coal mines to states that have already reclaimed all of their old mine sites.
Interior Department officials included the proposal in their 2012 financial year budget recommendations for the U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.
"This proposal allows mandatory funding to be focused on the highest-priority abandoned coal mine sites to eliminate public health and environmental hazards across the nation," said OSM Director Joe Pizarchik.
President Obama asked Congress to cut OSM's overall budget for the year beginning Oct. 1 by more than 10 percent, to $146 million.
Total spending on the Abandoned Mine Land program would be cut from $35.5 million to $27.4 million. OSM's budget for regulation of active mining would also be cut, from about $127 million to about $118 million.
Obama proposed to shift some OSM funding, so that spending for oversight of state mining regulators would jump by more than 44 percent, to $12.4 million.