Coal Tattoo

OSMRE announces plans for stream rule study


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.”

OSMRE’s press release is here, and the text of a notice to be published in tomorrow’s Federal Register is here. Previous coverage of this is here.

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.