NMA’s Quinn Slams OSM’s “Rule in Search of a Purpose”

National Mining Association (NMA) President and CEO Hal Quinn today told a Senate oversight hearing that the Office of Surface Mining and Reclamation Enforcement’s (OSM) so-called Stream Protection Rule is more about protecting the jobs of regulators than protecting the environment:

“The SPR is a massive rule in search of a purpose. OSM’s own reports show mining’s offsite impacts are insignificant. While OSM’s explanations have continually changed to justify this regulation, no explanation has ever been given for why states have been ignored in its development. Still, OSM persists in a rulemaking that has potentially devastating consequences for jobs throughout the energy supply chain as well as for the communities that must do without them and the revenue they generate.

“A technical analysis of the impact of this rule on actual mines shows that up to 78,000 coal mining jobs could be lost – added to the 40,000 already lost just in the past three years. When coal-supported jobs in manufacturing, power plants and freight rail are included, the SPR’s toll on employment rises to between 113,000 and 280,000, as one half or more of total U.S. coal reserves are potentially placed off limits to mining.

“In re-writing 475 existing rules and adding new ones, OSM attempts to hijack, and interfere with, the missions of other agencies under state and federal laws. OSM shows again it does not understand these other programs, how they work or apply to mining.

“This rule is not about protecting streams, it’s all about protecting OSM’s jobs at the expense of the jobs of our nation’s energy providers – America’s coal miners.”