Senate kills 'Stream Protection Rule' (move will allow mining waste in streams)

superchuck500

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There's a long history to this rule (executive regulation) but the Senate just used the Congressional Review Act to kill it. The move basically allows interior miners (e.g. Appalachia) to dump their mining material in streams. In other words, these miners often knock down hilltops or do other strips into the earth, and now they're free to dump that material in streams.

Opponents argued that the rule required pricey waste removal that made mining unprofitable and raised unemployment in mining regions.

I get the need for jobs, but mining is an old industry that I'm not so sure we should be defending at the cost of our inland stream environments. Ask the people of Flint, Michigan about clean water.

I actually know attorneys that worked on this rule at Interior for years.

The Senate voted Thursday to send President Donald Trump a measure that will kill the Interior Department’s stream protection rule, a key coal mining regulation that was finalized only in December.

The Congressional Review Act resolution passed by a vote of 54-45, just one day after the House approved it. Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia), Claire McCaskill of Missouir, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota joined every Republican except Maine’s Susan Collins in voting for the measure.

If Trump signs the resolution, as he is expected to do, it will mark just the second time that Congress has successfully used the CRA to kill a rule. The only previous use of the CRA was a 2001 vote to nullify a Labor Department ergonomics regulation.

But it will not be the last. Senate Republicans are expected to move immediately to another House resolution targeting a Securities and Exchange Commission rule that requires drilling and mining corporations to reveal their payments to foreign governments.

Senate seals fate of Interior stream rule - POLITICO



More on what the rule did:

Coal mining is a messy business. In Appalachia, mining companies often get at underground coal seams by blowing up the tops of mountains — a process known as mountaintop removal mining. Once that’s done, they frequently dump the debris in valleys below, which can contaminate streams and waterways with toxic heavy metals.

Appalachian Voices, an environmental group, estimates that coal companies have buried some 2,000 miles of streams throughout the region through mountaintop removal mining. And over the years, studies have found that when this coal waste gets into waterways, it can have harmful health impacts for the people living nearby.

In theory, there’s a law to deal with this. The 1977 Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act says that companies should not cause "material damage to the environment to the extent that it is technologically and economically feasible." But this is fairly vague (what counts as “feasible”?). And the agency responsible for enforcing this law, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), hadn’t issued a rule clarifying protections here since writing the “stream buffer rule” in 1983.

Community groups and environmentalists had long been pushing to update this rule, both as mining industry practices have changed and as scientists have learned more about the harmful effects of coal waste. In 2008, the George W. Bush administration published an update to the “stream buffer rule,” but it later got struck down in court for running afoul of the Endangered Species Act.

Then enter the Obama administration. Over the past eight years, OSMRE has been trying to update the rules around how mining affects waterways and the environment. That involved poring through reams of research on the effects of coal mining on ecosystems, holding endless hearings, talking to various stakeholders, and so on.

The final rule got published on December 19, 2016.

http://www.vox.com/2017/2/2/14488448/stream-protection-rule
 

nolaspe

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Water is overrated. Can't wait to see the legislation requiring all of us (fish included) to replace our drinking water w/ sunkist...
 

Zztop

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superchuck500

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By the way, can we get more like Joe Manchin and Susan Collins?

These are two senators who are clearly thoughtful individuals with a centrist viewpoint that puts their constituents above partisanship. They aren't afraid to vote against the party line and do it regularly.
 

Mr. Sparkle

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Just so I am clear, the Senate overturned a rule that was just published in December 2016, or did they overturn the entire regulation?

Seems like we go back to the status quo as it existed on December 18, 2016?

Like every administration, the Obama team pushed a lot of stuff out the door in the final weeks after the election once it was clear they were leaving. It should not be surprising to see a lot of those rules quickly overturned.
 
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superchuck500

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Just so I am clear, the Senate overturned a rule that was just published in December 2016, or did they overturn the entire regulation?

Seems like we go back to the status quo as it existed on December 18, 2016?

Like every administration, the Obama team pushed a lot of stuff out the door in the final weeks after the election once it was clear they were leaving. It should not be surprising to see a lot of those rules quickly overturned.

Short answer: yes. But there's quite a bit more history on this rule. The regulatory effort goes back to 1983.
 

efil4stnias

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Just so I am clear, the Senate overturned a rule that was just published in December 2016, or did they overturn the entire regulation?

Seems like we go back to the status quo as it existed on December 18, 2016?

Like every administration, the Obama team pushed a lot of stuff out the door in the final weeks after the election once it was clear they were leaving. It should not be surprising to see a lot of those rules quickly overturned.

they overturned the rule that added CLARITY to the original regulation ( didnt have before ) and took 8 years TO DO.

So the protection this rule afforded waterways....has been rescinded by the Senate and if Trump signs, rescinded from the regulation.

Back to square one. Pollute away, since the original regulation was too vague.


thats how i read it.
 

crosswatt

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So, I'm thinking that i should start investing in water purification companies immediately...
 

JimEverett

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So the rule really hasn't gone into effect given it was just published barely more than a month ago?

Or have parts of the rule been in effect for a longer period?
 

Optimus Prime

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There's a long history to this rule (executive regulation) but the Senate just used the Congressional Review Act to kill it. The move basically allows interior miners (e.g. Appalachia) to dump their mining material in streams. In other words, these miners often knock down hilltops or do other strips into the earth, and now they're free to dump that material in streams.

Opponents argued that the rule required pricey waste removal that made mining unprofitable and raised unemployment in mining regions.
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LAhotsauce

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Water is overrated. Can't wait to see the legislation requiring all of us (fish included) to replace our drinking water w/ sunkist...

Reminds me of that Squidbillies episode.

'Freeze the water, then kill it.'
 

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