Alaska’s only operational coal mine strongly opposes new stream protection rule
Rule is onerous and duplicative to existing environmental protections
Joe Usibelli, Jr.
Judy Patrick Photography
HEALY, AK (December 19, 2016) – As the U.S. Department of Interior today finalized yet another anti-coal measure during the waning days of the Obama administration, Usibelli Coal Mine, Inc. (UCM) expressed its strong opposition to the stream rule.
“Clearly, the Obama administration’s stream rule was not crafted with Alaska in mind. It appears to be a rule targeting the Appalachian region, and was then smeared across the country all the way up to Alaska. The stream rule completely ignores Alaska’s unique conditions and disregards the need for special considerations with respect to surface coal mining operations in our state,” said Joe Usibelli, Jr., President and CEO of UCM.
“The Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act allows states to have primacy over their coal programs. However, the stream rule robs states of their discretion. I am confident that a blanket, one-size-fits-all permit cannot be properly applied to all regions of the country. The regions are the experts. The State of Alaska is better suited to determine Alaska’s unique coal mining conditions than a bureaucrat in Washington D.C.,” Usibelli added.
UCM is currently reviewing the 1,648-page pre-publication version of the stream rule. An initial review indicates that the final rule reflects the onerous provisions and many of the same pernicious details contained in the proposed rule published in July 2015.
“The fact that the Obama administration’s own calculations praise the expected annual loss of coal mining jobs, while increasing bureaucratic jobs for additional regulators shows an absolute disconnect with the reality of a productive economy,” Usibelli stated.
“I have spoken with Senators Murkowski, Sullivan, and Congressman Young and have asked them to swiftly pass a Congressional Review Act resolution of disapproval for the stream rule,” he stated.
The rule, which the Trump Administration has said it opposes and will act to rescind, provides no discernable environmental benefits while duplicating and interfering with extensive existing environmental protections at both the federal and state levels—duplication and interference which is expressly prohibited under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.