Trump Signs Bill Killing Obama Rule Preventing Coal Companies From Dumping Waste In Streams

President Trump on Thursday signed legislation ending a key Obama administration coal mining rule that protects waterways from coal mining waste that officials finalized in December.

The bill, the second Trump has signed into law ending an Obama-era environmental regulation, eliminates the US Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule.

On Tuesday, Trump repealed a regulation requiring extraction companies to report payments to foreign governments over production activities.

The Hill reports:

Regulators finalized the stream protection rule in December, but they spent most of Obama’s tenure writing it.
The rule is among the most controversial environment regulations the former administration put together. The coal mining industry said it would be costly to implement and lead to job losses across the sector, which is already suffering from a market-driven downturn in demand for its product.

Trump called the regulation “another terrible job-killing rule” at the bill’s signing and said ending it would save “many thousands American jobs, especially in the mines, which, I have been promising you — the mines are a big deal.”

“This is a major threat to your jobs and we’re going to get rid of this threat,” he added. “We’re going to fight for you.”

“In my home state of Kentucky and others across the nation, the stream buffer rule will cause major damage to communities and threaten coal jobs,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said before the bill’s passage. “We should heed their call now and begin bringing relief to coal country.”

“If you want to help miners, then come address their health and safety and their pension program,” said Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

“You can protect the coal industry here with special interests and the amount of lobbying they do, or you can step up in a process and have a regulation that works for the United States of America so the outdoor industry and sportsman and fishermen can continue to thrive.”