What is it?
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.
The CBO estimates no significant impact on the federal budget.
Preventing Government Waste and Protecting Coal Mining Jobs in America
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.