Guest essay by Eric Worrall
On Thursday President Trump liberated coal miners from the shackles of an Obama rule many in the industry believe was designed to destroy the coal industry.
If you want to see happiness, see the following video of Robert Murray, founder and CEO of Murray Energy, America’s largest underground coal mining business, explaining what Trump’s repeal of a grossly unfair Obama administration rule means for himself, and for the 10s of thousands of workers who depend on his business for their livelihoods.
My favourite quote from the video;
This was a victory, not only for the coal miners to be their at the signing by President Trump, I worry about the couple who’ve got a nestegge, trying to balance their budget after working all their lives, and they’re paying out 22% of what they make for energy right now. That woman that is trying to raise a child on one income. That manufacturer of a product. This regulation from the Obama administration had no environmental benefit at all. It was a deliberate attempt by the radical people in the Obama administration to eliminate underground coal mining, the most environmentally acceptable way to mine coal. We’re down here 1000ft Joe, they don’t even know we’re down there. But this rule illegally took a ’77 law that applied only to surface mining, and stopped underground mining, 1000ft down. Folks don’t even know we’re down there Joe, 1000ft. So what we’ve done now, the house and the senate used the continuing resolution act, the second time ever since the law was passed in 1996, to get rid of this radical rule which had no environmental benefit, but destroyed the lives of our coal miners.
The rule which was removed;
Trump signs bill undoing Obama coal mining rule
BY DEVIN HENRY – 02/16/17 03:54 PM EST
President Trump on Thursday signed legislation ending a key Obama administration coal mining rule.
The bill quashes the Office of Surface Mining’s Stream Protection Rule, a regulation to protect waterways from coal mining waste that officials finalized in December.
The legislation is the second Trump has signed into law ending an Obama-era environmental regulation. On Tuesday, he signed a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution undoing a financial disclosure requirement for energy companies.
Both the mining and financial disclosure bills are the tip of a GOP push to undo a slate of regulations instituted in the closing days of the Obama administration. The House has passed several CRA resolutions, and the Senate has so far sent three of them to President Trump for his signature.
The text of the stream protection rule (issued December 2016);
We, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE or OSM), are revising our regulations, based on, among other things, advances in science, to improve the balance between environmental protection and the Nation’s need for coal as a source of energy. This final rule will better protect water supplies, surface water and groundwater quality, streams, fish, wildlife, and related environmental values from the adverse impacts of surface coal mining operations and provide mine operators with a regulatory framework to avoid water pollution and the long-term costs associated with water treatment. We have revised our regulations to define “material damage to the hydrologic balance outside the permit area” and require that each permit specify the point at which adverse mining-related impacts on groundwater and surface water would reach that level of damage; collect adequate premining data about the site of the proposed mining operation and adjacent areas to establish an adequate baseline for evaluation of the impacts of mining and the effectiveness of reclamation; adjust monitoring requirements to enable timely detection and correction of any adverse trends in the quality or quantity of surface water and groundwater or the biological condition of streams; ensure protection or restoration of perennial and intermittent streams and related resources; ensure that permittees and regulatory authorities make use of advances in science and technology; ensure that land disturbed by mining operations is restored to a condition capable of supporting the uses that it was capable of supporting before mining; and update and codify the requirements and procedures for protection of threatened or endangered species and designated critical habitat. Approximately thirty percent of the final rule consists of editorial revisions and organizational changes intended to improve consistency, clarity, accuracy, and ease of use.
All Murray wants is a level playing field. He’s happy to take the economic fight to his competitors in the gas industry, and compete to provide American with the cheapest possible energy. All he wants is a chance to be able to continue to provide a livelihood for the 10s of thousands of Americans his company employs.
The legacy of President Obama’s irrational crusade against coal is ruined lives and broken hopes. President Trump is doing everything in his power to undo the damage.