DOI finalizes Stream Protection rule affecting coal mining industry
The Obama administration along with the U.S. Department of the Interior finalized a rule to protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 miles of forests over the next 20 years by forcing coal companies to avoid mining in areas that permanently pollute, streams, destroy drinking water sources and threaten forests.
The controversial Stream Protection rule, overhauling regulations put in place 33 years ago, requires coal companies to restore land to the same condition it was in before mining began as well as test nearby streams for pollution before, during and after drilling.
The rule is designed to make coalfield communities more resilient, said Joseph Pizarchik, director of the Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, which crafted the rule.
The announcement is expected to shake up coal companies and conservative Republicans, and will likely be a target for President-elect Donald Trump, who promised to help turnaround the blighted coal industry.
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Obama signs WIIN Act into law
President Obama signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act into law, which includes provisions of the Water Supply Cost Savings Act championed by the Water Systems Council and other leading water well industry groups.
Originally introduced 2014, the Water Supply Cost Savings Act was incorporated into the WIIN Act legislation earlier this year. The new law will help protect the nation’s water resources and rebuild water infrastructures. It will also help rural and small communities across the U.S. significantly lower the total cost of providing clean drinking water to residents and provide new jobs.
Hudson Valley small businesses speak out for clean water
Small businesses that rely on clean water have banded together to urge New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to expand programs to protect and restore water quality. The group of 19 breweries, kayak outfitters, tour boat operators and other businesses are pushing for an expansion of the New York State Water Infrastructure Improvement Act, and a renewal of the state’s Drinking Source Water Protection program – efforts the businesses say are not only critical for protecting drinking water and the environment, but also for supporting the Hudson Valley’s $5.2 billion tourism economy.