Stream protection rule has good elements, but stronger stuff needed to blunt coal mining's toxic toll
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Department of Interior today initiated a new rule-making to help protect streams from coal mining. The proposed rule, which will be subject to public comment, improves monitoring requirements and makes the coal industry more responsible for the damage they cause to streams, but weakens buffer-zone requirements. John Rumpler, senior attorney with Environment America, issued the following statement:
“This new rulemaking shows that the Obama administration understands the vital importance of protecting America’s streams from pollution. Some elements of the proposed rule are steps in the right direction, but stronger stuff will be needed to truly protect our mountain streams from the devastating toll of toxic coal mining waste. In particular, it is hard to imagine keeping mining waste out of our streams without maintaining the 100-foot buffer zone that is now in effect. We’ll be urging a final rule that fully protects our mountain streams, our health, and our wildlife."