The U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement today formally announced its plans to write what it is now calling a “Stream Protection Rule” to replace the ever-controversial “buffer zone rule.”
Updated: With this new link to the Federal Register notice.
Concepts OSMRE is considering include:
— Adding more extensive requirements for baseline monitoring for permit applications;
— Defining the term “material damage to the hydrologic balance outside the permit area,” which is prohibited under the federal strip-mining law.
— Establishing “corrective action” thresholds for mining to stop or other actions to be taken based on monitoring results;
— Revising rules on concepts such as “approximate original contour”;
— Requiring reforestation of mine sites
The Federal Register notice makes clear that OSMRE is going to conduct a detailed “Environmental Impact Statement” on its proposal.