February 16th, 2017 by WCBC Radio
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey applauded President Trump for striking down his predecessor’s last-ditch effort to drastically reduce coal mining in West Virginia and across the nation.
The President’s signature gives final disapproval to an unlawful regulation known to many as the stream buffer rule. The move strips implementation of the rule, renders it with no continuing force or effect and prohibits a future administration from enacting a similar regulation.
The Attorney General, in light of the President’s signature, said his 13-state coalition will review the need to continue its lawsuit challenging the regulation.
“Undoing this regulation protects West Virginia coal miners and respects the rule of law,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “We cannot – and will not – stand for such overreach. There is no place for such a radical agenda within the bounds of our Constitution.”
Attorneys General Morrisey and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine led coalitions opposing the regulation at every step, including a public comment letter in October 2015 and the 13-state lawsuit filed Jan. 17, 2016.
The attorneys general also urged Congress to use the Congressional Review Act to pass legislation vetoing the rule, the very process used by the House, Senate and President to bring about Thursday’s signature.
The regulation, itself a last-ditch attempt by the Obama administration, sought to prohibit any change to the land and environment around coal mines – an unrealistic standard clearly designed to eliminate an activity crucial to the economic lifeblood of West Virginia and the energy needs of the country.
It failed to respect state control over mining regulations as required by Congress and unnecessarily sought to regulate areas already monitored by other federal entities and the individual states.
It also exceeded the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s authority as it would have broadly prohibited 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.
Participating in the lawsuit are the states of Ohio, West Virginia, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.