NMA Supports Senate Measures to Block OSM’s “Rule in Search of a Purpose”

National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn today praised a Senate oversight hearing for exposing the fatal flaws in the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement’s (OSM) so-called Stream Protection Rule (SPR) and urged passage of legislation to block its implementation:

“The SPR is a massive rule in search of a purpose. OSM’s own reports show mining’s offsite impacts are insignificant. While OSM’s explanations have continually changed to justify this regulation, no explanation has ever been given for why states have been ignored in its development. The agency failed its obligation to engage mining states in the development of a rule that spans more than 2,200 pages.

“Wyoming produces 40 percent of the nation’s entire coal output, and all of its mines are free of offsite impacts, but Wyoming was not consulted. The state rightfully objects to OSM failing to recognize regional differences that affect mining and reclamation while attempting to impose a massive one-size-fits-all rule on a western state – based on irrelevant assumptions drawn from Appalachia. OSM’s belated attempt to persuade states to rubber stamp this massive regulation, which includes five new alternatives the agency never shared with them, is a hollow gesture proving the agency is not interested in states’ comments let alone their expertise.

“A technical analysis of the impact of this rule on actual mines shows that up to 78,000 coal mining jobs could be lost – added to the tens of thousands already lost just in the past three years. When coal-supported jobs in manufacturing, power plants and freight rail are included, the SPR’s toll on employment rises to between 113,000 and 280,000, as one half or more of total U.S. coal reserves are potentially placed off limits to mining. Still, OSM persists in a rulemaking despite potentially devastating consequences for jobs throughout the energy supply chain as well as for the states that must do without them and the revenue they generate.

“This rule is not about protecting streams, it’s all about protecting OSM’s jobs at the expense of the jobs of our nation’s energy providers. The Senate should join the House in preventing OSM from imposing this latest regulatory travesty on America’s coal miners.”