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WV officials applaud Stream Protection Rule Block

By ANN ALI

The State Journal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The U.S. Senate voted 54-45 Feb. 2 to block the U.S. Department of Interior’s Stream Protection Rule, and the measure now heads to President Donald Trump, who has indicated he will sign it.

The bill, sponsored by Reps. David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Evan Jenkins, all R-W.Va., passed the House by a vote of 228-194 Feb. 1.

Both the West Virginia Coal Association and West Virginia Chamber of Commerce issued statements applauding the action.

A sincere thank you to our entire Congressional delegation,” said Coal Association President Bill Raney. “You are true friends to West Virginia’s coal miners, and we appreciate what you’re doing to help us get back to work.”

The National Mining Association estimated that, if implemented, the Stream Protection Rule would have eliminated nearly one-third of all coal jobs in the country and would have blocked potential mining of half of all coal reserves.

“The Stream Protection Rule was a regulatory death sentence for underground and surface coal mining in the United States, particularly Appalachia,” Raney said. “Overturning it is a must, so we applaud our elected representatives for moving quickly to make that happen.”

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., issued a statement after the Senate passed the resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act, which Manchin introduced to overturn the stream buffer rule.

“I have led the fight against this rule since my first days in the Senate because it simply isn’t commonsense and kills jobs in our state,” Manchin said. “With passage of this resolution of disapproval, we can now focus on helping the many West Virginia families and businesses that were crippled by this rule and the flawed rule-making process that led to it.

“Not only did the Department of the Interior and OSMRE fail to consult with stakeholders and consider the economic impacts, including the possible elimination of thousands of jobs, but they also refused to acknowledge that the rule overlapped with existing regulations already on the books from other environmental laws such as the Clean Water Act. I am glad we were able to come together to pass this commonsense reversal of these harmful Obama-era regulations.”

U.S. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., also issued a statement applauding the Senate’s passage of the resolution of disapproval she and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., introduced Jan. 30.

“Today’s vote is step one in overturning the anti-coal agenda that has devastated West Virginia for the last eight years,” she said. “The misguided Stream Protection Rule could have put one-third of the remaining coal jobs at risk nationally, a threat coal-producing states simply cannot afford.”

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey praised the U.S. House and Senate their actions. In January, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Morrisey led a coalition of states urging Congress to use its power under the Congressional Review Act to disapprove the rule so that it would have no continuing force or effect.

“I applaud the House and Senate for this week’s swift action to halt this unconstitutional and damaging rule,” Morrisey said. “I’m confident President Trump will sign this legislation in short order to protect jobs and overturn this terrible rule once and for all.”

The Congressional Review Act establishes streamlined procedures for Congress to pass legislation vetoing regulations within 60 days of their issuance. Doing so required a simple majority of both chambers.

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