The Obama administration’s “war on coal” rages on with its latest salvo that forbids coal mines from setting off-site debris near streams or rivers. Called the Stream Protection Rule (SPR), it is so expansive that 13 states have asked a federal court to block its implementation. Concocted by the Office of Surface Mining (OSM), the SPR would essentially end coal mining in the U.S. They filed their brief on Tuesday in U.S.

District Court.

The SPR also forces the testing and monitoring of thousands of miles of streams near coal mines. The attorneys general filing the petition said the rule is a direct violation of the Surface Mining and Reclamation Act, which only allows states to regulate coal mines and not the federal government. Despite existing rules already in place, this new one was based on computer models, with OSM staff never having visited a single coal mine.

Destroying coal industry

Attorney General Ken Paxton (R-Tex.) said the SPR “tramples a states’ rights” as permitted under the tenth amendment. Paxton warned the rule is being used to “destroy an entire industry” and to put “hardworking men and women” out of work. The rule also sets a new precedent that ignores a “states’ understanding of major industries within their border.”

Paxton and 12 other plaintiffs also sent a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) asking congress to use the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to overturn the new rule.

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Donald Trump Renewable Energy

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) said the “overreaching, last-gasp Obama administration regulation goes far beyond what the law permits.” Both Ryan and McConnell have already put the stream rule in their “congressional crosshairs.”

Duplication of efforts

Environmental groups like the Sierra Club have called the rule overdue.

Critics argue the new rule is a “massive rewrite of more than 400 separate regulations.” It also doesn’t do anything beyond what state and federal agencies are currently doing. What it does do is create “more confusion and bickering among various agencies.”

As Jan. 20 looms large, the Obama administration has blasted out a blizzard of regulations ahead of Inauguration Day. Believing he would be handing off the baton to a like-minded Hillary Clinton, Obama is using his agencies to rush out rules that normally take months to complete. The Interior Department has been instrumental in that they have sealed off lands from exploration from Alaska to the East Coast.

Congressional Review Act

Interior has also doled out new oil and gas regulations and banned drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic Ocean. In the last five days, Obama has pushed out $115 billion in new regulations that will keep President-elect Donald Trump busy for months.

Some of the rules and executive actions are going-away gifts to the country’s largest environmental groups who have donated heavily to Democrats in past elections.

Republicans have been busy as well, focusing on the barrage of new rules that can be repealed using the Congressional Review Act. That gives congress sixty in-session days to reverse the proposed rules. Republicans have already introduced measures to reverse the Stream Protection Rule as it does nothing to protect the Environment. If the judge does not block the rule, it will be up to Trump to overturn it.

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