(COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey expressed opposition to the federal government’s Stream Protection Rule, President Obama’s latest attempt to dramatically reduce coal mining.
The rule, set for publication Tuesday, seeks to prohibit any change to the land and environment around coal mines – an unrealistic standard clearly designed to eliminate an activity crucial to the energy needs of the country.
“This is yet the latest regulatory overreach by the Obama Administration to adopt an extreme measure contrary to the law. It is potentially very harmful to working men and women in our states, including coal miners and energy consumers,” said Attorney General DeWine. “This newly unveiled final rule is now being forced through the process so as to go into effect on January 19th – literally on the eve of the new administration. The rule exceeds the power granted by Congress and ignores separate regulatory authority reserved to the states and other agencies. As with other overreaches, we will take whatever legal action is necessary to protect the interests of Ohioans and Ohio’s economy.”
“This regulation would have drastic consequences on coal mining in West Virginia,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “President Obama aims to make this effective the day before inauguration, truly a last-ditch attempt to enact his radical agenda. This outrageous and unlawful move by unelected bureaucrats demands Congress use its power to disapprove of such rules as soon as President-elect Trump takes office.”
Both attorneys general are closely reviewing the regulation and will take appropriate legal action to safeguard the states’ interests.
The regulation fails to respect state control over mining regulations as required by Congress and unnecessarily seeks to regulate areas already monitored by other federal entities and the individual states.
It also exceeds the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s authority as it would broadly prohibit almost all mining-related activity in a specified stream buffer zone, subject longwall mining to unrealistic standards and set forth increased water sampling requirements that ignore local geology.
Last year, the attorneys general led 14 states in opposing the proposed regulations and calling for the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to coordinate with states in drafting a balanced rule. Such cooperation did not occur.