Critics of the Obama Administration’s new Stream Protection Rule believe it is a parting shot from the president to the coal industry on his way out the door of the White House.
The rule is scheduled to be entered in the federal register Tuesday, and become effective January 19, one day before Donald Trump is inaugurated. West Virginia Congressman Alex Mooney (R-WV2) contends Obama is making one final effort to eliminate coal from the nation’s energy portfolio.
“The deal with the Obama Administration, whether it’s coal ash disposal, Clean Power Plan, or this stream buffer zone, every time you meet the environmental standard they just move the goal post another time,” said Mooney on MetroNews Talkline. “Obama said he was going to bankrupt the coal industry. This is part of their agenda.”
The stream protection rule significantly tightens the standards for underground and above ground mining. West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney said guidelines are so stringent that it makes it nearly impossible to mine coal.
“It’s going to make it difficult because it sterilizes reserves,” said Raney. “It’s going to have a direct impact on underground mining. In this particular rule, in this case, it’s an effort to stop the majority of mining in this country.”
The federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM) was supposed to develop the rule in conjunction with the states, but Mooney said the agency just gave lip service to the concerns of the states.
“There are different types of ‘listening’. There’s listening just so they can simply say you had a chance to say something and then there’s the type of listening where they really take into account what you say and work with you on it,” Mooney said.
Opponents of the rule on Capitol Hill will try to block the measure through a rarely used maneuver called the Congressional Review Act where lawmakers pass a resolution blocking a rule and send it to the president for his signature
“I am highly confident he will sign it,” Mooney said. “When President Trump visited West Virginia and other coal mining states he made it clear he was going to roll back President Obama’s war on coal and this is a big one.”
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- On December 23, 2016