WASHINGTON, D.C. – Alaska Congressman Don Young today applauded the Senate passage of H.J. Res. 38, a joint resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act, which would overturn the Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s final rule known as the “Stream Buffer Rule.” H.J. Res. 38 passed the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday by a vote of 228 to 194 and now moves to the President’s desk for signature.
“This rule was a thinly veiled attempt to destroy the coal mining industry and regulate hardworking Americans right out of their livelihoods,” said Congressman Young. “Sadly, the Obama administration’s war on coal manifested into some of the worst rule making I’ve seen in years – debilitating new regulations focused on eliminating one of our nation’s most reliable domestic energy sources. By failing to cooperate with existing stakeholders and states, ignoring numerous advancements made in technology, and not fully analyzing the Alaskan impact, it’s clear to me that the previous administration sought a predetermined outcome – based entirely on politics and with little regard for the working men and women of the United States.”
The "Stream Buffer Rule", finalized on December 20, 2016, rewrites over 450 existing regulations, adds a patchwork of duplicative and conflicting regulatory requirements without discernible environmental benefit, ignores regulatory successes at the federal and state level, and jeopardizes one-third of the nation’s coal mining workforce. Further, in the Office of Surface Mining’s (OSM) rulemaking process, the agency ignored Alaska’s long term potential of coal development and failed to fully take into consideration Alaska’s abundant coal deposits.
Today’s action represents a collective effort in Congress to overturn costly and often politically charged rules – issued in the final months of the Obama Administration – through the use of the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The Act is a powerful Congressional tool to disapprove of new federal regulations through an expedited legislative process, requiring a simple majority in both Chambers and the signature of the President.