A Republican-backed House bill introduced Feb. 8 would provide a refundable tax credit for power plants that burn coal refuse tossed aside by mining companies decades ago.

The $12-per-ton credit could be enough to get the struggling coal refuse industry through the next 10 years, when the credit would expire.

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), the bill’s sponsor, told Bloomberg Environment he plans to immediately seek cosponsors for the Coal Refuse Reclamation Act (H.R. 4977) and try to take it to the floor, perhaps attaching it to a bigger piece of legislation.

“I’m going to...