President Donald Trump has put the brakes on a regulation blocking coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby streams.
Trump called the regulation a “job-killing rule” before he signed a measure to overturn it. Lawmakers from coal-mining states stood close by, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.
Several coal miners and energy company executives also attended the White House signing ceremony.
Republicans and some Democrats argued that the rule could eliminate thousands of coal-related jobs. They said the rule also ignored dozens of existing federal, state and local regulations.
The Interior Department said in December when it announced the rule that 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests would be protected.
“President Trump today signaled an end to years of overregulation targeting the coal industry and vital jobs in West Virginia. This action will help protect the one-third of coal jobs placed at risk by the misguided Stream Protection Rule. It also restores states to their proper role as the regulators of mining activities. I was proud to join President Trump and West Virginia coal miners at the White House for the signing of this important measure, and I will continue working with the president to protect our critical energy economy,” said Senator Capito.
“I have led the fight against this rule since my first days in the Senate because it simply isn’t commonsense and would kills jobs in our state,” Senator Manchin said. “With the signing of this measure, we officially overturn this harmful regulation and can now focus on helping the many West Virginia families and businesses that are experiencing the negative effects of the war on coal. My concerns were not just with the rule itself, but with the rule-making process that led to it. Not only did the Department of the Interior and OSMRE fail to consult with stakeholders and consider the economic impacts, including the possible elimination of thousands of jobs, but they also refused to acknowledge that the rule conflicted with EPA authority and was duplicative of existing regulations under laws such as the Clean Water Act. I thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for coming together to reverse these harmful Obama-era regulations.”