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house Bill H.R. 2824

Loosening Environmental Restrictions for Coal-Mining Companies

Argument in favor

New coal mining regulation would cost thousands of jobs and hurt job growth in at least 22 states, including historically poor states like West Virginia and Kentucky.

Argument opposed

Water pollution from coal contaminates groundwater, rivers and streams with heavy metals, mercury, and other toxins and pollutants. Moutaintop removal mining has already buried at least 2,000 miles of streams, according to the EPA.

What is House Bill H.R. 2824?

When a mountaintop gets bulldozed to extract coal, those bulldozers have to do something with all that rock. That rock is called the “spoil”. Without environmental protections in place, coal mining companies dump the spoil wherever, often burying streams and affording at least the possibility of nasty things leeching into groundwater. A 1983 rule established a buffer zone for streams. The Bush Administration did away with this rule in late 2008. The Obama Administration re-established a safe buffer zone for streams. This bill challenges that buffer zone. 


If enacted, the bill would loosen restrictions on the coal mining industry, theoretically affecting its profits, coal-mining jobs, and the ecosystems in which the coal-mining industry functions.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 2824

The CBO estimates no significant impact on the federal budget.


Preventing Government Waste and Protecting Coal Mining Jobs in America

Official Title

To amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 to stop the ongoing waste by the Department of the Interior of taxpayer resources and implement the final rule on excess spoil, mining waste, and buffers for perennial and intermittent streams, and for other purposes.

bill Progress

  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed March 25th, 2014
    Roll Call Vote 229 Yea / 192 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Natural Resources
      Energy and Mineral Resources
    IntroducedJuly 25th, 2013

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