Coal / Mountaintop Removal

COAL: Stream rule dies, but ex-miners keep fighting

Junior Walk, outreach coordinator for Coal River Mountain Watch, surveys fresh progress at an active mountaintop removal coal mining site in southern West Virginia (Credit: Arianna Skibell).

NAOMA, WV — “A stroke of President Trump’s pen earlier this year erased a regulation that took Barack Obama’s entire presidency to draft.

Flanked in a White House ceremony by coal miners, their bosses and a handful of lawmakers, Trump proclaimed that his repeal of the fledgling Stream Protection Rule would save the coal industry and thousands of jobs. ‘Special people, special workers, and we’re bringing it back,’ he said to applause. ‘We’re bringing it back fast.’

Industry and environmentalists battled for almost eight years over the regulation, aimed at protecting waterways from coal mining pollution, and there was celebrating and mourning in Washington over the rule’s swift demise.

In the heart of Appalachian mining country, the death of a policy that had never taken effect elicited shrugs. But the perception of what Trump may bring is inspiring optimism in miners and others whose livelihoods are connected to coal.

That renewed energy is driving environmentalists like ex-miners Chuck Nelson and Junior Walk into a renewed frenzy. They are bracing for another long fight to protect mountaintops and waterways from strip mining.”

— Dylan Brown and Arianna Skibell, E&E News 

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