Daines Praises Passage of Measure to Eliminate Anti-Coal Rule

U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senator Steve Daines today praised the U.S. Senate’s passage of a resolution of disapproval to eliminate the Obama administration’s anti-coal so-called “Stream Protection Rule.” 

This wholly unnecessary and unsupported Obama administration rule would affect both surface and underground coal mines, substantially impairing domestic industry’s ability to meet our nation’s energy needs and devastating Montana’s coal development, which is a pillar of Montana’s economy. Furthermore, the proposed rule was developed without sufficient tribal consultation and consideration of potential harm to Indian tribes’ economies. 

“This Obama administration policy served to protect bureaucracy while devastating Montana’s coal jobs,” Daines stated. “By eliminating it we are opening the door for commonsense policies that protect our environment and create good-paying Montana jobs.”

Montana Attorney General Tim Fox: “I applaud Senator Daines’ work to preserve our state’s sovereignty and ability to protect our streams with Montana solutions. Montana, and local communities, know best how to address the impacts of surface mining in our own back yard. Federal rules that push aside state solutions, while providing no appreciable protection for our streams, are an unnecessary overreach of authority that hurt families here in Montana.” 

Steve Gross, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 400: “The International Union of Operating Engineers support efforts to reduce the effects of the misguided stream protection rule as it will have an adverse impact on good-paying jobs in Montana coal country. I’m glad this misguided rule was challenged by Congress.” 

Richard Reavey, Vice President of Public Affairs, Cloud Peak Energy who operates the Spring Creek Mine: “The Office of Surface Mining’s one-size-fits-all approach through the Stream Protection Rule was always ill advised. The rule failed to address significant differences in rainfall and geological conditions for the various mining regions of the U.S. as well as different mining methods. The Stream Protection Rule was just another piece of the Obama Administration’s regulatory onslaught on American energy production, and its rollback is a good start. If the new Administration is going to jumpstart the American economy, then responsible, reliable, and affordable energy production will play a big part.” 

Richard Dunbar, President, Montana Association of Oil, Gas, and Coal Counties: “Coal mines in Montana are a critical source of revenue for our counties that funds education and critical infrastructure. Montana is also proud of the world-class reclamation that is already taking place at our coal mines. The stream protection rule is just another example of the Obama Administration’s over-burdensome regulation of our natural resources. With the passage of this resolution, Senator Daines is signaling his strong support for high-paying coal jobs, and a return to common sense.” 

Lukas Klemke, General Manager – Western Energy Company – Rosebud Mine: “Western Energy Company – Rosebud Mine, employing 381 of Montana’s coal miners, is happy to see the passage of the resolution limiting the enforcement of the stream protection rule.  This legislation is overreaching and would ultimately result in the loss of jobs that the coal mining industry currently provides.”

Crow Tribal Chairman Not Afraid and Vice-Chairman Goes Ahead:  “We are heartened by the Congress’ joint resolution disapproving OSM’s Stream Protection Rule.  The unnecessary Rule was adopted without a meaningful consultation with the Crow Tribe, and would hurt our efforts toward economic self-sufficiency by limiting development of our valuable coal resources.  We appreciate Senator Daines’ work and trust that the President will signify the beginning of the end of the misguided ‘War on Coal’ by signing the resolution.” 

John Williams, Mayor, City of Colstrip: “The “Stream Protection Rule” is a primary example of  “one size fits all” in the previous administration’s “war on Coal”. It serves no other purpose than an attempt to shut down development and increase cost. Coal country appreciates Senator Daines’ work to pass the Resolution to shut down this threat against coal.”  

Joseph E. Micheletti, Executive Vice President, Westmoreland Coal Company: On behalf of the 500+ Westmoreland Coal Company employees at our Montana coal operations and as a 5th generation Montanan, I thank Senator Daines for working to pass this resolution in opposition to the Stream Protection Rule. Simply stated, the Stream Protection Rule is misdirected towards shutting down Montana’s and America’s coal industry, not protecting our streams, surface, or ground water. We do not need senseless Washington D.C. regulations to make the right decisions to conserve and protect Montana’s scenic beauty and natural resources.  We dearly love, are thankful for, and stand with you for protecting Montana’s way of life.” 

Bud Clinch, Executive Director, Montana Coal Council: “The Montana Coal Council, representing Montana’s 1285 coal miners, is highly encouraged to see passage of the resolution limiting the enforcement of the so called “stream protection rule.”   Disguised in name as “a stream protection rule” in actuality it is a rewrite of the entire federal coal mining regulations with the goal of making compliance impossible. We applaud the Congress for seeing through the smoke screen of Obama’s ‘War on Coal.’ 

Stream Protection Rule:

On January 30, 2017, Daines introduced the resolution of disapproval to roll back the so-called Stream Protection Rule.

On December 19, 2016, Daines released a statement upon finalization of the rule that is devastating for hardworking miners in Montana like the Crow tribal members working at the Absaloka Mine. 

On December 6, 2016, Daines wrote to President Trump, urging him to halt finalization of this rule.

On October 27, 2015, Daines raised concerns about DOI’s proposed Stream Protection Rule and its potential impact on Montana coal mining during a U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing.

The Congressional Review Act empowers Congress to review new federal regulations issued by government agencies. With the passage of a joint resolution and the signature of the president, Congress can overrule a regulation.