By Angela Reighard |
HAZARD, Ky. (WYMT/AP) – The Obama administration has finalized rules designed to reduce the environmental impact of coal mining on the nation’s streams.
The Interior Department announced last week the rule will protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests, preventing debris from coal mining from being dumped into nearby waters.
With coal production at its lowest level in 30 years, some say this is another blow to the industry.
“This is just another example of this administration’s extreme bias against the coal industry,” said Tyler White, President of the Kentucky Coal Association.
Interior officials said the rule would cause only modest job loss in coal country, but Republicans denounced it as a job-killer.
President-elect Donald Trump promised to repeal the regulation, but some say if that happens, it would be a step back.
“I think this is an important step in the right direction,” said Hank Graddy from the Kentucky chapter of The Sierra Club. “I’m sorry that the environment has had to suffer so long waiting for this rule, but it has arrived and we’re going to defend it.”
The rule also requires companies to restore streams and land to conditions close to what they were before coal mining.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) said the rule is a continuation of President Obama’s “eight-year war on coal.” He released this statement in part to WYMT:
“When the new Congress convenes next month, I will also introduce a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn this egregious regulation and work with my colleagues to use every tool available to turn back this regulatory assault on coal country.”