Natural Resources Committee approves bill blocking Obama's stream protection rule

Legislation aimed at blocking President Obama's rewrite of a 2008 stream protection rule passed the House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday.

In a 24-15 vote, the committee approved Rep. Bill Johnson's (R-Ohio) legislation, which he says will protect jobs and prevent government waste.

The bill approved on Thursday would prevent the Interior Department from toughening regulation on mountaintop removal coal mining projects in Appalachia.

The new Office of Surface Mining rule, which Johnson says has cost taxpayers $9 million, is due out next year.

It would protect streams and wildlife from the harmful effects of coal mining, including longwall and surface mining.

But that same rewrite, the House GOP claims, could cost 7,000 jobs and cause economic harm in 22 states.

"President Obama’s relentless attacks on the coal industry, the hard working middle class families whose livelihoods depend on mining, and the businesses that depend on the affordable electricity that coal provides must stop," Johnson said in a statement.  

"My legislation would begin to put an end to the President’s war on coal by preventing this unnecessary rewrite of the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule from going forward."

"I am thankful the House Natural Resources Committee approved this important legislation, and I am hopeful that the House of Representatives will take it up for a vote soon," Johnson said.