The rule requires companies to restore streams and return mined areas to the uses they were capable of supporting prior to mining activities and to plant trees or other vegetation.
Kentucky’s environmental protection cabinet on Wednesday announced that it had joined other states in suing to overturn an Obama administration rule aimed at protecting streams from mining activities.
When it finalized the regulations known as the “Stream Protection Rule” in December, the U.S. Interior Department said that would establish “clear requirements for responsible surface coal mining that will protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests over the next two decades, preserving community health and economic opportunities while meeting the nation’s energy needs.”
The rule requires companies to restore streams and return mined areas to the uses they were capable of supporting prior to mining activities, and replant these areas with native trees and vegetation.
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell has called it a continuation of a war on coal and told the Associated Press last month he intended to seek to overturn it in Congress.
The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet published a blog on Wednesday that objected to what it called a “one size fits all” approach.
“The … cabinet maintains that the rule illegally interferes with states’ rights to govern without undue interference from the federal government,” the cabinet wrote. “If allowed to stand, the rule would also have a devastating impact on Kentucky’s coal industry and the thousands of miners employed in that industry.”
Twelve other states joined in the lawsuit, the cabinet wrote.
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