Coats: Stream Buffer Rule Will Cost Jobs, Increase Government Overreach

WASHINGTON, DC – Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) today said the U.S. Department of Interior’s proposed rewrite of the stream buffer zone rule will cost Hoosier jobs and needlessly increase regulatory burdens.

“The Obama Administration continues full steam ahead with its intrusive and duplicative regulatory agenda, even in the face of losing state partners – including Indiana – due to the Interior Department’s lack of cooperation and transparency,” said Coats. “This rule would add layers of harmful red tape to continue the administration’s ‘war on coal.’ This is another example of the administration ignoring the need to carefully balance environmental protection and economic impact.”

The 1983 stream buffer zone rule prohibited mining within 100 feet of a stream, unless the activity “would not adversely affect the water quantity or quality.” The rule was updated in 2008 after a five-year process that included 40,000 public comments, two proposed rules and 5,000 pages of environmental analysis from five agencies. Last year, the Obama Administration finally succeeded in vacating the 2008 rule, even though the administration has not provided any evidence or data to justify a change to the rule. Indiana and Montana recently became the latest states that had agreed in 2010 be a Cooperating Agency developing the rule to formally withdraw from the process because of a continued lack of outreach and transparency.

In May, Coats introduced a bill that would require the Secretary of the Interior to make publically available all scientific products and data relied on to draft the new Stream Buffer Zone rule, or face delay and eventual withdrawal of the rule. The bill also would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from issuing rules or determinations that needlessly duplicate or overlap with current environmental laws, such as the Clean Water Act, under the jurisdiction of other agencies.


About Brian Scott

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