• Petulant Dumbshit Obama Interior adopts controversial last-minute rule

    From Paris Accord Is A lie@21:1/5 to All on Thu Dec 22 04:15:40 2016
    XPost: sci.engr.mining, alt.global-warming, alt.politics.obama
    XPost: sac.politics

    The Obama administration finalized a rule Monday morning that
    aims to protect thousands of miles of streams by forcing coal
    mining companies “to avoid mining practices that permanently
    pollute streams, destroy drinking water sources … and threaten
    forests,” officials said in a statement.

    Under the rule, which overhauls regulations in place for more
    than three decades, coal companies that have finished mining in
    an area will be required to restore the land to the same
    condition that existed before digging began. Interior Secretary
    Sally Jewell called the new regulations “a balanced approach to
    meeting the nation’s energy needs.”

    In the statement, released before the rule was published in the
    Federal Register, she noted that the administration “worked
    closely with many stakeholders to craft a plan that protects
    water quality, supports economic opportunities, safeguards our
    environment and makes coalfield communities more resilient.”

    But the announcement, coming a month before power is handed over
    to a new presidential administration, is almost certain to anger
    coal companies and conservative Republicans. The rule likely
    will be an early target of President-elect Donald Trump, who
    pledged during his campaign to help turn around an industry
    beset by debt, job losses and declining profits — all of which
    make the cleanup requirements of a 1977 federal law more

    [In West Virginia coal country, voters are ‘thrilled’ about
    Donald Trump]

    The industry’s financial crisis has led to fears that the
    nation’s largest coal companies might leave taxpayers with
    hundreds of millions of dollars in cleanup costs for closed
    mines. Companies are currently obligated to rehabilitate
    hundreds of huge strip mines in the West and mountaintop-removal
    sites in the East.

    Those worries spiked this year when Peabody Energy, the world’s
    largest publicly traded coal company, appealed to creditors for
    an extra month to pay its debts. Over six months ending in
    March, two more of the nation’s four biggest coal companies have
    declared bankruptcy.

    The National Mining Association quickly slammed the new rule,
    calling it a duplication of regulations that already exist under
    the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. “This
    is after the agency failed in its obligation to engage mining
    states in the rule’s development and ended up with a massive
    rule making that is a win for bureaucracy and extreme
    environmental groups and a loss for everyday Americans,” said
    Hal Quinn, the group’s president and chief executive.

    He said the rule reflects “the environmental lobby’s keep it in
    the ground platform, locking away important U.S. domestic coal
    reserves, while putting tens of thousands of Americans out of
    work, raising energy costs for millions of Americans and
    preserving the agency’s regulatory mission that is diminished
    with the declining number of coal mines.” Quinn did not mention
    the sharp drop in the price and use of coal as power plants
    switch to natural gas —a major reason why coal workers are being
    released and mines are being shut.

    The new rule is the sort of regulation that Trump has vowed to
    undo. In this case, he could issue a stop-work order to
    temporarily delay the process it takes to implement it, and the Republican-controlled Congress could assist him by issuing a
    review order and overturning any rule adopted after midyear.

    [Trump wants to lift restrictions on ‘clean coal.’ Whatever that

    Some lawmakers are already complaining. “I continue to have real
    concerns about this administration’s one-size-fits-all approach
    to the regulation of energy development and production, which
    doesn’t work for our state,” said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).

    Heitkamp said she had toured with a top Interior official who
    visited North Dakota to show her how the rule would hurt the
    industry and workers, but to no avail. “Going forward, I’ll work
    with my colleagues in the [Senate] and the incoming
    administration to see if this rule is workable,” she said.

    The leader of the National Wildlife Federation, Collin O’Mara,
    called the stream protection rule “an important step forward for
    wildlife protection.” It’s important to public health and for
    ecosystems that support fish and wildlife. “This rule will
    ensure the protection and restoration of streams and update the
    requirements needed to protect threatened or endangered species
    and critical wildlife and wild places,” he said.

    Interior officials first announced their intent to draft new
    regulations in 2009. Officials said Monday that the result is
    guided by the best science and an understanding of improved
    technology used by coal companies. In the seven years it took to
    draft and finalize the rule, the department received more than
    150,000 comments and recorded statements from 15 public meetings
    and other gatherings.

    “This updated … rule will make life better for a countless
    number of Americans who live near places where coal is being
    mined,” said Joseph Pizarchik, director of the Office of Surface
    Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. Coal is mined throughout the
    United States, but the top producing states are Wyoming, West
    Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Illinois, according to the
    U.S. Energy Information Administration.

    “We are closing loopholes and improving our rules to more
    completely implement the law passed by Congress,” Pizarchik said.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy- environment/wp/2016/12/19/interior-adopts-controversial-last- minute-rule-to-make-the-coal-industry- cleaner/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.d543a8c86d86

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