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$74 Million Going Back to Coal-Producing Communities, Marking 10-Year High in Coal Severance

From the Office Of Ky. Governor Beshear -

FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 29, 2023) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that in Fiscal Year 2023, Kentucky’s coal-producing communities will receive more than $74 million in coal severance tax funds, which marks the most money allocated to these communities in 10 years. This year’s funds nearly double the $37,558,202 amount from 2022. As the fiscal year ends Friday, the money will be distributed among 29 coal-producing counties and municipalities, within those counties, to support their economies and communities.


“I am proud to keep Kentucky’s coal severance money in our coal-producing counties and towns,” said Gov. Beshear. “These communities fueled this country through two world wars, and they deserve our continued support. Just think about the counties hit by flooding and tornadoes and the needs they have right now. These are important dollars that will help these communities thrive.”


The funding comes from Kentucky's two coal severance programs, which are funded by state taxes paid by Kentucky coal mining companies. After reserving funding for bond payments for past coal county projects and processing administrative fees, the remaining tax revenues are shared exclusively with coal-producing counties.


From Fiscal Year 2022 to Fiscal Year 2023, Union County received an increased allocation from $8 million to over $13.8 million. Union County has used coal severance money in the past to develop a campsite, to construct a new volunteer fire department and to rehabilitate critical infrastructure.


“Union County has used coal severance funding to develop outdoor recreational spaces, improve our emergency services and help pay off certain debts,” said Union County Judge/Executive Adam O’Nan. “We are proud of all the projects we’ve completed using these funds to set ourselves up for future success. We’re using these funds to make Union County a happier, healthier and safer place for generations to come.”


From Fiscal Year 2022 to Fiscal Year 2023, Letcher County received an increased allocation from just over $1.1 million to over $2.6 million. Letcher County has used coal severance money in the past to bolster emergency services and promote tourism and economic development.


“We have used our coal severance funds in many ways, including for our county fire departments over the years to help fund a critical service for Letcher County,” said Letcher County Judge/Executive Terry Adams. “Since the catastrophic flooding on July 28, 2022, we are relieved to also have the funding we can draw on to keep our county going in these tough times.”


Gov. Beshear has advocated for coal communities throughout his administration. In his first budget proposal, he suggested returning coal severance funds only to coal-producing counties. Coal-producing communities now exclusively benefit from these funds.

Gov. Beshear currently serves as the states’ co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission, which promotes economic growth and innovation throughout Appalachia. Kentucky has also secured record funding from the Delta Regional Authority under Gov. Beshear’s administration, serving communities in Western Kentucky.


Gov. Beshear has supported innovative projects intended to diversify the economies of coal communities. He approved $442,000 for a project in Webster County that helped the Madisonville Community College purchase property for a training center in an abandoned mining facility. These programs will focus on Commercial Driver’s License, utility lineman and diesel mechanic training.


Last year, Gov. Beshear and U.S. Congressman Hal Rogers announced $24.4 million in Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization Program funds for economic development projects in nine Eastern Kentucky counties.

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