Monday, December 19, 2016

Obama Sets Up Water Clash With Mining Rule Trump Opposes

The Obama administration issued new regulations to protect streams and groundwater from coal mining, a measure that’s targeted for repeal by congressional Republicans. The industry says the U.S. Interior Department’s so-called stream protection rule will strand billions of dollars worth of coal in the ground. Even before it was issued Monday, President-elect Donald Trump had vowed to rescind it, calling it "excessive." The Interior Department says the rule, which updates 33-year-old regulations, will protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests primarily in Appalachia. The rule will end practices that permanently pollute streams and drinking water, requiring companies to restore streams once their mining work is complete and to monitor water quality. Much of the impact of the rule could be felt in hard-hit coal communities in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky, where underground mining has been taking place for a century or more. While the administration says this rule will have "negligible impact" on the finances of coal mining companies, industry groups say it would be just one more blow to their chances of survival.  With the rule issued just weeks before Obama leaves office, it could be repealed by Congress or reworked by Trump’s Interior Department. "I look forward to working with the Trump administration to overturn this unparalleled executive overreach and implement policies that protect communities forsaken by this administration,” House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop, a Utah Republican, said in a statement...more

No comments: