Barack Obama has made no secret of the fact that he wants to bankrupt the coal industry. He took another step towards that end this week with a rule proposal called the Stream Protection Rule, which threatens to destroy jobs and hurt working families in the Appalachian coal states.
The new regulations would strengthen rules for coal mining near waterways and streams, where soil runoff from excavating for coal can cause lasting environmental harm to water quality and wildlife.
The rules would require a broad set of measures that the industry must abide by to continue operating, including land reclamation and other activities expected to add significant costs. The rules come as coal production has fallen to historic lows and the demand for coal electricity has plunged because of cheap natural gas prices. The industry blames the growing number of regulations as the primary culprit for the the drop.
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Thursday’s regulation, the Stream Protection Rule, would primarily affect Appalachian coal states. The effect would be most felt in Kentucky, the home of GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been outspoken in opposing a variety of rules targeting the industry. West Virginia, another big coal state, also would be one of the most affected. The Mountain State also has been opposed to the administration’s broad campaign of coal regulations.
The good news is, the proposal is not an actual rule yet. This means there is still time to fight it.
…the agency would be giving stakeholders an additional 60 days to weigh in on the rules’ requirements before moving to finalize the regulations by the end of the year…The agency will begin a series of five public hearings in coal country later this summer.
It is critical that workers and their families show up to fight this rule and make their stories heard.