Proposal updates 32-year old regulations, provides protections for communities and environment, while setting expectations for responsible mining
WASHINGTON – Following a robust public process, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Janice Schneider, and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) Director Joseph Pizarchik today released proposed regulations to prevent or minimize impacts to surface water and groundwater from coal mining. The proposed rule would protect about 6,500 miles of streams nationwide over a period of 20 years, preserving community health and economic opportunities while meeting the nation’s energy needs.
“This proposed rule would accomplish what Americans expect from their government – a modern and balanced approach to energy development that safeguards our environment, protects water quality, supports the energy needs of the nation, and makes coalfield communities more resilient for a diversified economic future,” said Secretary Jewell. “We are committed to working with coalfield communities as we support economic activity while minimizing the impact coal production has on the environment that our children and grandchildren will inherit.”
The proposed Stream Protection Rule released today would include reasonable and straightforward reforms to revise three-decades-old regulations for coal mining in order to avoid or minimize impacts on surface water, groundwater, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources. The proposed rule, which reflects updated science, would replace the 1983 regulations and would better protect the resources.
- 6/16/15 Senate Energy: Cantwell: Clean Water Is Critical to Our Forests and Public Lands; Strong Administrative Process for the Stream Protection Rule
- 6/16/15 House Democrats Natural Resources: After Six Years of Flagrant Republican Obstruction and Delays, Democrats Hail Release of Proposed OSMRE Stream Protection Rule
- 6/15/15 Karuk Tribe Happy with Court Decision that Reaffirms Fish Protections
- 6/16/15 EarthJustice: GROUPS URGE STRONGER PROTECTIONS IN NEW STREAM RULE
- 6/17/15 WaterWorld: Interior proposes Stream Protection Rule to safeguard waterways against coal mining
Safe Harbor Agreement – 20th Anniversary
Safe Harbor Agreements are voluntary agreements between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and cooperating non-Federal landowners. They are designed to benefit federally endangered and threatened species by giving landowners assurances that at no future time would the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service impose restrictions on their land as a result of conservation actions on their part. In other words, these agreements essentially relieve landowners of liability under the Endangered Species Act if conservation practices on their land attract and/or perpetuate federally listed species. To date, nearly three million acres of land have been enrolled in Safe Harbor Agreements, benefiting a variety of listed species.
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