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Congressional Record2017/03/28Senate | House | Extensions

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[Page H2467]
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                         SUPPORTING RECLAIM ACT

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from West Virginia (Mr. Jenkins) for 5 minutes.

Mr. JENKINS of West Virginia. Mr. Speaker, coal communities in my district and across America and across Appalachia are struggling. The war on coal has decimated many small towns and left thousands of hardworking coal miners without jobs.

Help is on the way--the RECLAIM Act, introduced by Congressman Hal Rogers. I am proud to be a sponsor with him.

The RECLAIM Act will send $1 billion in Federal funds to Appalachia to revitalize and diversify coal communities and to create new jobs. For West Virginia, that means nearly $200 million over 5 years to invest in our coalfields. This money will allow us to redevelop abandoned mine lands, bring new companies and industries to West Virginia, and provide more jobs for our people.

Now, the RECLAIM Act doesn't mean we are giving up on coal. Far from it. Coal is our heritage and must play an important part in our State's future. But while we are bringing back our coal jobs, we must also look at how we can redevelop these former mine sites.

Many of these sites are currently sitting vacant, and our towns and counties just don't have the funds to redevelop these sites so that their job-creating potential can be unleashed. The RECLAIM Act will prioritize hard hit States like West Virginia and help employ hundreds of laid-off West Virginians to prepare these sites for new developments and new industries.

In addition, once these sites are open for business, new employers will create hundreds, if not thousands, of good-paying jobs. The RECLAIM Act can be and should be part of the solution to revitalize our coal fields.

I want to say thank you to Leader McConnell and Senator Capito in the Senate for their leadership on this measure as well.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues in both the House and the Senate to join us in supporting this important legislation and helping Appalachia. ____________________


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