McConnell pushes for action on ‘harmful’ coal-mining rule

McConnell pushes for action on ‘harmful’ coal-mining rule
© Greg Nash

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSessions: 'We should be like Canada' in how we take in immigrants NSA spying program overcomes key Senate hurdle Overnight Finance: Lawmakers see shutdown odds rising | Trump calls for looser rules for bank loans | Consumer bureau moves to revise payday lending rule | Trump warns China on trade deficit MORE (R-Ky.) pledged Monday to undo a coal-mining rule issued in the closing days of the Obama administration. 

McConnell introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution blocking the Interior Department’s Stream Protection Rule, days before the House is set to vote on a similar measure.

In a floor speech, he urged the House to move quickly on its resolution “so we can pass [it] here in the Senate and provide relief to our coal communities, our national economy, and our constituents.”

Obama officials and environmentalists have hailed the rule — which protects waterways from the impacts of mountaintop removal mining — as good for water quality and public health. But the coal industry has said it would kill mining jobs. 

The rule has been a key target for McConnell and resolution co-sponsor Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoGOP may increase IRS’s budget People with addiction issues should be able to control their own health data Trump signs bipartisan bill to combat synthetic opioids MORE (R-W.Va.), whose states’ coal sectors have been hit hard by the commodity’s downturn. 

“It will cause real harm to real people who support real families in real communities,” McConnell said of the rule. “This regulation is an attack on coal families. It jeopardizes jobs and transfers power away from states and local governments.”

The House is set to vote on three CRA resolutions this week undoing energy-sector regulations finalized late in the Obama administration. The resolutions target the Stream Protection Rule, a methane leak regulation, and a directive seeking more financial information from drilling and mining firms. 

President Trump has said he wants to cut regulations on the fossil fuel sector, so he's likely to support the resolutions if they reach his desk.