By Bob Weaver

The US House is proposing to spend $1 billion dollars for cleaning up abandoned WV mine sites.

WV has thousands of abandoned mine sites, but at least 775 have not officially been cleaned-up.

Coal companies just left their old sites, while others went into bankruptcy, claiming they had no money for reclamation.

The abandoned mine lists does not include current mountaintop removal practices, which have allowed nearly 1,000 miles of nearby streams and valleys to be filled with the debris and the replacement of one-half inch of re-seeded soil on the stripped land.

Those practices are approved.

About $325 million has already been spent on the old WV sites since the 1977 reclamation law was passed.

Prior to 1977 the abuse was rampant.

The law has increased the cost of coal by adding a reclamation fee to each ton of coal produced, passing the cost to consumers.

The increased cost of coal was the reason given for Allegheny Power to seek a new rate increase last week.

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