Environmental Protection

Congress Uses Congressional Review Act Against Streams Rule

The U.S. Senate voted 54-45 on Feb. 2 to kill it via the Congressional Review Act, a measure dating to 1996 that allows Congress to vote to eliminate a recently enacted federal regulation. In this case, the rule requires coal companies to clean up waste from mountaintop removal mining and prevent it from going into local waterways.

The Interior Department's stream buffer rule is about to be repealed. The U.S. Senate voted 54-45 on Feb. 2 to kill it via the Congressional Review Act, a measure dating to 1996 that allows Congress to vote to eliminate a recently enacted federal regulation. In this case, the rule requires coal companies to clean up waste from mountaintop removal mining and prevent it from going into local waterways.

Interior published it Dec. 20, 2016, which allows CRA to be used to repeal it, assuming President Trump agrees.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced the measure to overturn the rule along with Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Reps. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, Evan Jenkins, R-W.Va., and David McKinley, R-W.Va.

McConnell said after Interior published the rule that he looked forward to working with the Trump administration to overturn it in order to "provide relief to our coal communities and assist those who have been hit with unemployment and poverty due in large part [to] President Obama's War on Coal."

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 228-194 on Feb. 1 to repeal the rule.

Some Senate Democrats backed the rule, saying it protects waterways and prevent health risks for workers and other people living in coal areas. "If you want to help miners, then come address their health and safety and their pension program," said Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., who is the ranking member on the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources.

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