The National Mining Association (NMA) is urging Congress to block the rule. It is the latest in a series of costly and unnecessary regulations from an administration that appears determined to destroy coal mining communities, the NMA said.
The proposed rule would also require mine operators to collect adequate pre-mining data about the site of the proposed mining operation and adjacent areas to establish an adequate baseline for evaluation of the impacts of mining and the effectiveness of reclamation. The SBZ would also adjust monitoring requirements to timely detect and correct any adverse trends in the quality or quantity of surface water and groundwater or the biological condition of streams.
“The agency’s own reports on existing state regulatory programs show the vast majority of mine sites are free of any off-site impacts, and the agency has produced no evidence to justify more regulations, let alone redundant ones that interfere with state agencies mining and water quality laws,” Quinn said. “By overlaying a massive regulatory program on top of existing regulations designed to address the same issues, OSM has offered a needless and conflicting framework that will significantly hinder coal production without any benefits.
“Contrary to conventional wisdom, the regulation is not confined to Appalachian surface mines but would apply to all mining operations nationwide. It was developed without the benefit of state agency experts who have publicly criticized OSM’s disdain for the viewpoints of those who either operate or regulate coal mines. By ignoring state officials, OSM has made a mockery of the administration’s pledge toward greater transparency.”