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Chairman Hastings Letter to Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Director Joesph Pizarchik Requesting Information Regarding the Rewrite of the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule


WASHINGTON, D.C., February 8, 2011 -

Dear Director Pizarchik,

Recent news reports have highlighted the significant job losses and economic impacts that could result from changes being considered by the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) to fifteen elements of its coal mining regulation program. According to an official document obtained by the Associated Press, the agency's preferred "Stream Protection Rule" could cost at least 7,000 jobs and reduce production in 22 states. While it's incredibly troubling that the Administration is admitting its rule would eliminate thousands of jobs, it's even more alarming that these number's appear to be conservative estimates. It is deeply concerning that OSM is proceeding with a sweeping rulemaking that will devastate our Nation's ability to produce energy, cripple state budgets, and destroy good paying jobs for tens of thousands of families around the country.

There are real questions about the need to revise these rules given that the original "Stream Buffer Zone Rule" was finalized just two years ago in December 2008 after a multi-year deliberative process that included extensive environmental analyses and public comment. OSM's first attempt to revoke this rule was stopped by the Courts. However, it's clear that OSM and the Administration never intended to let the 2008 rule stand as stated in OSM's June 18, 2010 Federal Register Notice: "we had already decided to change the rule following the change of Administrations on January 20, 2009."

Read the entire letter HERE.




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