House GOP seeks to thwart mining rule

The House Natural Resources Committee will likely approve GOP legislation Thursday that would block the Interior Department from toughening regulation of so-called mountaintop removal coal mining projects in Appalachia.

The committee is slated to mark up Rep. Bill Johnson’s (R-Ohio) bill that prevents Interior from rewriting a controversial George W. Bush-era regulation that environmentalists say enables destruction of Appalachian streams.

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Johnson and other critics of the potential revision say it would cost jobs in coal country, and cite it alongside new power plant pollution rules in claiming the White House is attacking the coal industry.

Interior has for years been planning to rewrite the Bush-era rule that governs disposal of waste from mining projects.

E2-Wire has more on Johnson’s bill and Interior’s plan here.