Sen. Conrad: Mining policy dispute remains spending-bill sticking point

The White House and Capitol Hill lawmakers are racing to make a deal on a six-month spending package to ward off a partial government shutdown at the end of Friday, when the current stopgap plan expires. Passage of a one-week stopgap is also possible.

Much of the discussion of environmental issues in the federal spending fight has focused on GOP plans to blocking funding for implementation of Environmental Protection Agency climate change rules.

But Conrad’s comment suggests that other environmental matters are dividing the sides.

The House GOP’s fiscal year 2011 spending plan, approved in February, included several provisions to thwart what Republicans (and some Democrats) call burdensome restrictions on Appalachian coal-mining.

The GOP plan to fund the government through September included Rep. Morgan GriffithMorgan GriffithCBO survives two House amendments targeting funding Federal employee union offers defense of CBO House to vote on proposals taking aim at CBO MORE’s (R-Va.) amendment that blocks funding for EPA’s effort to toughen water quality protections for Appalachian coal-mining projects.

It also contained a separate amendment by Rep. David McKinleyDavid McKinleyThere’s a way to protect consumers and keep good call center jobs in the U.S. The myth of OTC hearing aids The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-W.Va.) that would hinder EPA’s ability to block Clean Water Act permits for mountaintop-removal projects; and Rep. Bill Johnson’s (R-Ohio) amendment that would prohibit the Interior Department from using fiscal year 2011 money to develop rules governing protection of streams from mountaintop-removal mining waste.

Aides to John BoehnerJohn BoehnerIt's time for McConnell to fight with Trump instead of against him How Republicans can bring order out of the GOP's chaos Republican donor sues GOP for fraud over ObamaCare repeal failure MORE and Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidOPINION | 5 ways Democrats can win back power in the states THE MEMO: Trump's base cheers attacks on McConnell It's time for McConnell to fight with Trump instead of against him MORE (D-Nev.) could not immediately be reached for comment late Friday morning.

Mountaintop removal is a type of strip mining in which companies blow the tops off peaks in order to access the seams of coal beneath. The rock, soil and other debris is pushed into adjacent valleys, burying tiny streams that form the headwaters of larger rivers below.


—Mike Lillis contributed.