Barletta Votes to Overturn “Stream Buffer Rule” Hostile to Coal Jobs

Feb 1, 2017
Press Release
Joint Resolution of Disapproval Would Overturn Dept. of Interior Rule

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted to overturn the Department of the Interior’s (DOI) “Stream Buffer Rule,” which has the effect of killing jobs at coal mines that have virtually no environmental impact off-site.  Among other requirements, the rule mandates a 100-foot buffer between coal mines and nearby streams, although DOI’s own reports show that almost all coal mines have no off-site impact, mines are being operated safely, and that lands are being restored successfully under existing federal and state regulations.  Barletta was an original cosponsor of the legislation, H.J. Res. 38, which passed the House of a vote of 228-to-194 and now heads to the Senate for its consideration.

“The effects of the Obama War on Coal are still being felt, which is why we must get rid of this job-killing, unnecessary rule,” Barletta said.  “The federal agency rewrote the rule with only a month left in the previous administration, placing a third of coal-related jobs in jeopardy because of the cost of compliance.  They ignored state input, and also their own studies that showed the rule would have virtually no impact.  We stand today with coal miners, and also with a clean environment.”

The resolution was passed by the House pursuant to the provisions of the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn an agency’s rule if a joint resolution of disapproval is passed by both chambers and signed by the president.

“My part of Pennsylvania was built on coal and constructed by the men and women who work in or near the mines,” Barletta said.  “Their livelihoods have been under assault, and it’s high time someone looked out for them.”

The National Mining Association noted that the rule places 64 percent of United States coal reserves off limits.