WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush signed legislation Wednesday that
gives billions of dollars to coal-producing states to clean up hazardous abandoned coal mines. The measure also pays for health
care for retired miners.
His signature ends a long fight that has pitted coal-producing states against each other over the best use of funds collected for the nation's coal mine reclamation program.
Coal-producing states will get an estimated six-point-three billion dollars for abandoned mine cleanup and another one-point-six billion dollars to pay for health care for retired miners who worked for coal companies that no longer exist.
The money will be distributed from 2007 to 2025.
The bill, part of a sweeping tax bill, renews the abandoned mines land reclamation program that was created in 1977.