Dear Mr. Gavaler:
Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts regarding H. J. Res. 38, a resolution to disapprove of the rule submitted by the Department of the Interior known as the “Stream Protection Rule.” It is good to hear from you and we agree on the importance of clean water and a healthy environment.
As you may know, on July 27, 2015, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) released its proposed Stream Protection Rule, which revised current regulations governing the impact of surface mining on surface water and natural resources. After more than a year of discussion, on December 19, 2016, OSM released its final version of this rule.
Unfortunately, both the proposed rule and the final rule were too broad and too costly. In a report compiled by the National Mining Association, it was estimated that the proposed rule would eliminate 40,000-78,000 coal mining jobs. Most troublesome of all, OSM did not comply with the requirement to engage in meaningful consultation with the impacted state governments during the yearlong development of this rule. In fact, several states dropped out of the rule development process altogether due to frustration with OSM.
It is my belief that regulations should be carefully crafted to protect public health, safety, and the environment. However, they must not be allowed to decimate entire industries. We can have both a healthy economy and a healthy environment, but such a balance will not be achieved with costly, overly broad regulations that do not take into account the real-world impacts of their implementation.
In response to this final rule, Representative Bill Johnson of Ohio introduced H. J. Res. 38, which would annul the Stream Protection Rule. On February 1, 2017, the House of Representatives passed this legislation, with my support, by a bipartisan vote of 228-194. Subsequently, the United States Senate passed the bill by a vote of 54-45 on February 2, 2017. The President signed H. J. Res. 38 into law on February 16, 2017.
Thank you for taking the time to contact me. I feel it is important to keep an open line of communication so I can best serve the interests of Virginia’s 6th District. I hope you will be in touch as the 115th Congress debates issues of importance to the United States.
Again, thanks for the benefit of your comments. Please feel free to contact me whenever I may be of assistance
Member of Congress