New protections announced for coal country streams

New federal policies strengthen protections for waterways impacted by surface mining. (© Beth Young)

Today, the federal government authorized new rules holding polluters accountable for mining pollution in the nation’s waterways. In releasing the final Stream Protection Rule, the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement provided the first major update in 30 years to federal policy governing surface mining pollution. The rule has the support of many clean water advocates and local communities who worked for years to strengthen the protections provided in the rule.

Communities throughout the Appalachian region and country suffer daily from contaminated drinking water, increased flooding, and a decimated landscape from the damage wreaked on thousands of miles of streams by coal mining.

“While we believe that the rule should be stronger,” said Deborah Murray, senior attorney, “it nevertheless represents a positive step in the efforts to protect the health of our communities and environment.”

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