Lawmakers Begin Process of Striking Down Stream Rule

Via E&E Publishing:

Congressional Republicans and other pro-coal lawmakers are swiftly lining up to strike down the Obama administration’s new Stream Protection Rule.

Reps. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) and Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) each put forward resolutions this week to block the Interior Department’s new restrictions on coal mining near waterways released last month.

Both Jenkins’ H.J. Res. 11 and Lamborn’s H.J. Res. 16 would void the rule using the Congressional Review Act (Greenwire, Dec. 19, 2016). Under the law, Congress has 60 working days to quash a regulation.

Only a simple majority in each chamber needs to approve a so-called resolution of disapproval for it to succeed. The president also has to agree.

With the rule only weeks old, President-elect Donald Trump will have ample time to make good on regulation-cutting and pro-coal promises.
Jenkins’ resolution is the same as one he introduced last month. Lamborn, chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, would like to move his own language.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) yesterday put the Stream Protection Rule near the front of the line for regulations on the chopping block (Greenwire, Jan. 5). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has also said his chamber is ready to use the CRA on the rule.

Jenkins said the push is about reversing the Obama administration’s “radical anti-coal agenda.” He said: “I’m here to stand up for West Virginians. For miners.”

Other bills

Last year, Jenkins was a co-sponsor of Virginia GOP Rep. Morgan Griffith’s H.R. 130 to secure expanded black lung disease benefits if Congress repeals the Affordable Care Act.

With Republicans readying to scrap Obamacare, Griffith reintroduced the legislation yesterday. It would preserve a provision championed by the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) that restored original eligibility requirements for black lung benefits after Congress tightened them in 1981.

Griffith and Jenkins — alongside Reps. David McKinley (R-W.Va.), Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.) and Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) — also introduced a resolution that would express Congress’ committment to preserving the expanded benefits.

McKinley this week reintroduced his permanent fix for the looming issue of imperiled pensions and health benefits for more than 120,000 retired union coal miners (Greenwire, Jan. 4).

In the Senate, West Virginia Sens. Joe Manchin (D) and Shelley Moore Capito (R) are hammering out the latest version of that bill.

See the article here.