News | March 29, 2013

SELC to move forward with suit to challenge the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule

SELC is moving forward with its lawsuit challenging the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule – a regulation issued in the final days of the Bush administration that removes essential protections against mountaintop removal and surface coal mining for some of the most biologically significant waterways in the United States.

The Obama administration agreed that the rule was legally deficient in 2009 and sought unsuccessfully to reinstate the former Stream Buffer Zone Rule that had been in place since the Reagan era. The court ruled that the Office of Surface Mining could not do so without going through the formal rulemaking process, and the litigation had been on hold while OSM was  considering options for a new rule. After nearly four years, however, the federal government has yet to finalize or propose a new rule, and the weak Bush rule continues to remain in place.

In response to SELC’s motion, the court lifted the stay in March 2013 allowing the suit to proceed.