Tomblin Unhappy With Feds Decision on Stream Protection
With the theater crowded with coal miners, families and others attending a public hearing on proposed Stream Protection Rule, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin spoke for state's residents, calling the proposed rule a "personal foul' and an example of the federal government kicking West Virginia while the state and the coal industry were down.
Tomblin urged rejection of U.S. Office of Surface Mining’s proposed Stream Protection Rule.
The OSM hosted the public hearing Thursday at the Charleston Civic Center to receive public comment on the proposed Stream Protection Rule.
With the crowd in the "Little Theater" at the Civic Center filling most seats, it was clear the majority of the audience - many wearing coal mining gear - were in support of the coal industry. Opponents and proponents of the proposed rule could speak for two minutes following Gov. Tomblin's opening statement.
Earlier in the day, Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association, issued a public comment on the rule. “This over-reaching rule is a job killer and big government at its worst. It will wipe out many of the remaining jobs that have survived the past seven years of this Administration’s war on coal. Those policies are devastating from an economic standpoint as they will sterilize valuable coal reserves and shut down operations that our families are depending on to survive.”
The Coal Association said the OSM's proposed Stream Protection Rule is another in a long line of initiatives by the Obama Administration to put the coal industry out of business and, most particularly, the industry in West Virginia and the other Appalachian coal-producing states.
“In its current form this proposed scheme is completely misdirected from the original intent of the federal surface mining law passed in 1977 and completely re-writes that law without involving Congress or the States! These rules will make it nearly impossible to get a new permit or renew existing permits for underground and surface mining operations throughout the country,” Raney said, “What started out six years ago as a rule has swelled to a 2,000+ page diatribe amending 475 existing rules and adding new ones as well.”
“We appreciate the steadfast opposition to this rule by our congressional delegation, our governor and the political leadership in this state,” Raney said. “We implore them to keep fighting and to continue their efforts to persuade their counterparts in other states to do the same. This rule has to be stopped for the sake of our peoples’ jobs, their families, counties and their communities."