Wyoming's two U.S. Senators voted against the continuing resolution (CR) today that would fund the federal government for the next six months. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso oppose the bill, which includes a provision that restores Abandoned Mind Land (AML) Trust Fund funding for all states except Wyoming.
"The money in the AML trust fund isn't an ATM for the federal government," said Enzi. "If you're going to tax our coal, you sure better be ready for a share of that money to stay in the state. We will take every opportunity to restore what was promised to Wyoming."
"The AML provision in the continuing resolution fails to fix a problem created in the transportation bill," said Barrasso. "By leaving out Wyoming, it fails to make the AML program whole. This fight is far from over. We'll continue to pursue every opportunity to fully restore the money that belongs to the people of Wyoming."
The money in the AML Trust Fund comes from an agreement between coal producing states and the federal government. Coal is taxed on a per-ton basis and that money is set aside and distributed annually to coal producing states. Wyoming stands to lose more than $700 million from a provision included the Surface Transportation Bill, which passed earlier this year. In addition to Wyoming, numerous other states were slated to lose more than $600 million because of that provision.
The continuing resolution applies a quick "fix" to the AML provision from the Surface Transportation Bill. States that stood to lose funding will have their funding restored, while as of now, Wyoming still stands to lose its funds. The Wyoming delegation has introduced bipartisan legislation in the House and Senate to strike the AML provision from the recently-passed transportation bill. This would restore the money to coal-producing states from the AML Trust Fund.