During the recent American elections Trump said he would revitalize the coal mining industry. The Republicans has begun to dismantle the Obama era environmental regulations by easing restrictions on coal mining.
The Stream Protection Rule, which sought to protect America’s waterways from debris generated by surface mining, has been reversed by a vote in Congress. The Interior Dept. has stated the rule would protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forest by keeping coal mining debris away from the nearby waters.
The Republican Rep from Ohio, Bill Johnson, sponsored the move to reverse the Rule because he feels the rule was not designed to protect streams, but is in fact an effort to regulate the coal mining industry right out of business.
The Stream Protection Rule which would require companies to restore mined areas to their original physical and ecological state and to monitor for environmental effects, would have made mountain top removal uneconomical….especially with depressed coal prices and competition from natural gas and renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
The reality is the American coal market is shrinking, with or without new regulations. Utility companies has drastically reduced their reliance on coal. Since 2008, 300 coal fired power plants have shut down, many of them won’t be coming back on line no matter what the policy of the moment will be coming out of Washington.
Meanwhile in Charleston, W. Virginia the Keystone Dev. No.2 mine has released debris and chemicals into 2 creeks that run nearby. After intense lobbying from environmental groups the mine was shut down and the operator ordered to restore the site. Now the mine could reopen. Locals state that many rivers in W. Virginia run orange from contamination. They care about miners jobs…but orange is not the color of water.
…..and so the Trump era begins.