WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), released the following statement after the Republican-controlled Senate used the Congressional Review Act to repeal the stream protection rule (RIN:1029-AC63). This rule from the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement within the Department of the Interior (OSMRE) limited the placement of waste in streams and drinking water sources, as well as the amount of waste generated overall by mining operations.
“Why anyone would vote against clean water is beyond reason. It’s not okay to allow dirt, debris and chemicals be dumped into the water sources for our communities. The final stream protection rule was intended to better protect streams, fish, wildlife, and the very communities that get their water from these sources. This first update in 30 years provided mine operators a modern framework to avoid polluting and minimize the long-term costs associated with water treatment. This was a win for public health, local economies and the mining companies.
“Using the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to attack a rule that protects people and communities from harmful impacts of irresponsible coal mining operations, such as buried streams, floods and subsidence, will benefit the coal companies that cut corners at the expense of the people who live in Appalachia. Coal miners and their families need jobs, and they need clean water. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. What they don’t need is the gutting of a reasonable Rule designed to protect them from an environmental disaster, which is much more likely to occur with passage of this Resolution of Disapproval.”
Senator Cardin’s statement for the record on the CRA can be found here.