At a federal hearing in Pittsburgh, coal operators, environmental engineers and businesses testified against a Federal regulation on the proposed Stream Protection Rule to the US Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as well as members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation requested a 120 day extension to review and comment on the rule. OSM has provided a 30 day additional allowance.
The proposed rule is intended to better protect streams, wildlife and environmental standards from the impact of opencast mining operations as well as provide mine operators with a regulatory framework to steer clear of water pollution and the long-term costs associated with water treatment. Many think the rule is a large overhaul of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA).
"Through these blanket, national regulations, it has been made clear OSMRE doesn't consider, or plan to consider the exacerbated costs associated with the immense number of overreaching compliance requirements," commented Pennsylvania Coal Alliance CEO, John Pippy. "This will force coal to become unprofitable and impossible to extract, ultimately stranding 200 years' worth of this domestic energy resource, billions for the state economy and thousands of Pennsylvania jobs."
"Since the 1980's the water quality of Pennsylvania's rivers and streams has improved, demonstrating that the current regulations are working as intended," stated Ron Musser, a Geologist at Musser Engineering. "The impacts of these relentless, additional regulations on the coal industry are real. Production is down and they are tightening their belts. We have already had to reduce our own operation by five people. What is the OSM pretending to try and fix and at what cost?"
The financial and personnel requirements needed in order to follow the applications of the Rule, enforcement and increased data collection requirements is reported could also negatively impact Pennsylvania’s DEP's Office of Active and Abandoned Mine Operations.
Edited from press release by Harleigh Hobbs
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/mining/11092015/many-testify-the-proposed-stream-protection-rule-in-pennsylvania-2840/