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Washington, D.C. – Wyoming is set to receive about $100.7 million from the federal government in fiscal year 2009 as payment in Abandoned Mine Land (AML) money, according to an announcement today from the Office of Surface Mining.

Wyoming’s share for fiscal year 2009 is $100,783,068, an increase of $18,082,000 over fiscal 2008. 

Wyoming Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., believe the state will put the money to good use.

"The times today cry for energy innovation and infrastructure improvements.  With this money that is largely payment of a past debt, we can build a better future for our state while at the same time helping the whole country," Enzi said. "This is money that had been dammed up in the federal reservoir, but a few years ago I along with help from other members from coal-producing states were able to get the money flowing back to the states as it should.  The most important thing is that the Wyoming legislature, not the U.S. Congress decides how to spend it. To put it mildly, we’ve seen some very bad examples lately of how the majority in Washington chooses to spend taxpayer money."

"Wyoming has contributed a great deal to our nation’s resource needs. These reclamation funds are rightfully ours. I will continue to fight along with Senator Enzi to ensure we receive the balance for our state and Indian Tribes," said Barrasso.

In 1977 Congress promised coal states half the money they paid in coal taxes so the states could use the money for reclamation and other mining related issues, but instead the federal government spent the money on other federal priorities. The "grants" to states announced today were made possible through requirements added by members of the Wyoming delegation in 2006 to the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA).  The changes required federal government to pay Wyoming back more than half a billion dollars that is owed to the state and an estimated total of more than $1.6 billion over the life of the program in past and future payments.