Coal / Water Quality

Repealed stream protection rule may affect Athens

Local officials credit the Ohio EPA for bringing the Hocking River up to aquatic standards. The river only met 38 percent of the standards when first assessed in the 1980s. Credit: Athens Post file photo

ATHENS — “At the end of his presidency, Barack Obama put together the Stream Protection Rule, which regulated the dumping of mining waste in streams. Less than two months later, President Donald Trump is slated to sign a resolution doing away with the rule.

How this change will affect Appalachian Ohio, where all of the state’s coal mining takes place, remains to be seen.

The move was welcomed by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. When the rule was created in December, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey released a statement blasting the rule.

…The Stream Protection Rule, in addition to regulating mining companies’ dumping of waste, would require streams and mined areas to be returned to pre-development conditions. There would also be more monitoring of streams, and companies found polluting would be held financially accountable.”

— Luke Torrance, Athens Post

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