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house Bill H.R. 1837

Making Mining Waste Illegal to Dump in to Valleys and Streams

Argument in favor

Would aid in protecting the health and wellness of both human and non-human residents that live near to coal mining facilities.

Argument opposed

The waste will still need to go somewhere, and this could translate to higher electricity costs associated with new waste transport guidelines.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
      Water Resources and Environment
    IntroducedMay 6th, 2013

What is House Bill H.R. 1837?

This bill would alter the Clean Water Act by redefining the term "fill material." According to Kentuckians for the Commonwealth

When the Clean Water Act was passed in 1977, it allowed for fill material to be dumped into U.S. waters as long as it was not intended for waste disposal, which prevented coal companies from using waterways as such. However, in 2002, the Bush administration allowed the Army Corps of Engineers to change the definition of fill material to include mining waste – a change that was not approved by Congress. This has allowed coal companies to pursue mountaintop removal more rapidly with less regard for its negative impact on Appalachian communities.

The bill would disallow the dumping of mining waste into valleys and streams. 


This bill impacts the coal industry, mountaintop removal sites, and the ecosystems of which the removal sites are part.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1837

A CBO cost is unavailable.

More Information

Of Note:

-In March, Alpha Natural Resources, one of the nation's top coal producers, was ordered to pay a $27.5 million fine and spend another $200 million to reduce its toxic discharges. This Guardian article provides coverage of that, in addition to good background on big coal and its relation to both the environment and politics. 

-A much more detailed report on the term "fill material" and its relation to the Clean Water Act is available from the Congressional Research Service, and can be found here

(Photo Credit: Boreal Birds)


Clean Water Protection Act

Official Title

To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to clarify that fill material cannot be comprised of waste.