Proposed regulations govern coal mine operations near streams

Proposed regulations would require coal mines to test and monitor the conditions of streams that could be affected by their operations

The proposed stream protection rules would replace 1983 federal regulations and govern an estimated 6,500 miles of streams nationwide over the next 20 years.

“This proposed rule would accomplish what Americans expect from their government — a modern and balanced approach to energy development that safeguards our environment, protects water quality, supports the energy needs of the nation and makes coal field communities more resilient for a diversified economic future,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell stated in a news release.

Janice Schneider, assistant secretary for lands and minerals management with the U.S. Department of Interior, said the proposed rules providing the mining industry with something it has repeatedly requested — regulatory certainty. “This rule would make it clear which requirements apply to which types of streams and how to determine what types of streams are present. Because of this clarity, companies can better prepare and plan,” Schneider said.

The proposed rules are available online at the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Web site. After publication in the Federal Register, public comments will be accepted for 60 days. Public hearings are scheduled in September for five cities across the United States, including Denver.