Senators seek longer comment time on mining rule

Dozens of senators are asking the Obama administration to double the public comment period for a new mountaintop removal mining regulation.

Led by Sen. Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsThis week: Democrats churn toward next phase of impeachment fight 281 lobbyists have worked in Trump administration: report Former intelligence chief Coats rejoins law firm MORE (R-Ind.), the 33 senators said Friday that they and other stakeholders need 120 days to thoroughly analyze the rule and its impacts on mining and other sectors.

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The rule, proposed in July by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, would update the three-decade-old standards designed to protect streams from the potentially harmful effects of mountaintop removal mining.

“The background and complexity of the proposed rule raise many potential issues that justify an extended comment period,” the senators wrote in their letter.

“OSMRE took more than six years to research and draft the proposed rule based on ‘advances in science,’ but is allowing states and the public only 60 days to digest and comment on this complex proposal.”

The regulation itself is hundreds of pages long, but included supporting documentation with thousands of additional pages.

The senators also argue that the rule would impact mining across the country, not just in the Appalachian communities it is targeting, which adds to the time it will take to digest the proposal.