WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) today joined U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) as the lead co-sponsor of a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn President’s Obama’s final anti-coal rule known as the Stream Protection Rule. A companion resolution was also introduced in the House of Representatives. Once the House takes action, the Senate will then take up the measure.
In the closing weeks of his term, President Obama announced the rule, which does little to actually protect waterways and instead extends the strong arm of the federal government at the expense of states, coal workers and ultimately ratepayers.
The Department of Interior (DOI) argued that this rule is about keeping American waterways clean, when in reality it is a prime example of the regulatory overreach that was so common under the Obama Administration, and it gives federal bureaucrats more authority to make coal more expensive to mine and use. The Obama Administration also alienated states from the rulemaking process despite the fact that federal statute gives states primacy over regulating coal mining activity and requires cooperative federalism between the federal and state governments. Nearly half of the states have complained that DOI failed to provide information or work with them on developing this regulation, and when Congress stepped in to include an additional directive in an annual government funding bill to reinforce that DOI must engage with states, that instruction was willfully ignored.
Further this out-the-door regulation is a prototype of the duplicative, overreaching and job-killing regulations released during the Obama Administration – altering over 400 regulations already in the books to regulate coal mining activity and waterways already regulated by states, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Army Corps of Engineers. This type of regulatory overlap is expressly prohibited by federal statute and hurts jobs. One national study estimated that this regulation could threaten nearly a third of all coal-related jobs.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said: “The Stream Protection Rule is the latest in a series of overreaching and misguided Obama-era regulations that have targeted America's coal industry. If this rule was allowed to say in place, it would add to the economic devastation for people in coal communities. Together with Leader McConnell and my congressional colleagues, I look forward to nullifying this harmful rule that is bad for jobs, families and businesses, especially in energy producing states like West Virginia. Passing this resolution of disapproval will help usher in a new era of common sense policies that protect our environment without needlessly compromising our economy and jobs.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said: “Put into place by the Obama Administration at the 11th hour, the ‘stream buffer’ rule is a harmful regulation that unfairly targets coal jobs. It is just one example of the former administration’s policies that have jeopardized jobs and taken power away from state and local governments in order to grow the federal bureaucracy. Further, this regulation, like many others of the Obama era does not take into account the negative consequences these policies would have on hardworking Americans and the families they support. And, it’s just one example of the former administration’s attack on coal communities like those in my home state of Kentucky.”
Senator McConnell added, “I want to thank Senator Capito for joining me as a lead co-sponsor on this resolution, as well as many other colleagues who’ve joined in supporting the resolution of disapproval introduced today. I also want to recognize our House colleagues — including Rep. Johnson of Ohio, Rep. Jenkins of West Virginia, and Rep. McKinley of West Virginia — for introducing the House companion resolution. I would encourage the House to act quickly so that we can send this resolution to the president’s desk as soon as possible.”