Coal exec: Stream rule is industry’s biggest threat

Coal exec: Stream rule is industry’s biggest threat

Coal mining executive Robert Murray declared that the Obama administration’s rule to protect streams from mining is the industry’s biggest threat in nearly six decades.

Murray, head of Murray Energy Corp. and a vocal opponent of President Obama’s environmental rules, gave his remarks in Pittsburgh at a listening session for a proposed Interior Department regulation.

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“The Obama administration's so-called Stream Protection Rule is the single greatest threat to the jobs and family livelihoods of our employees that I have seen in my 58 years in the coal industry,” Murray said, eliciting a standing ovation from a crowd that included 100 of his employees, according to The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The rule from the Office of Surface Mining, is meant to update three-decade-old standards to ensure that mining operations do not permanently harm streams and the ecosystems that rely on them.

It’s meant to crack down on some forms of the controversial mountaintop removal mining process, but opponents say it would have wide-ranging effects on all mining, since it poorly defines streams.

Murray said that it would prohibit a process known as longwall mining, which his company often uses to cut coal seams into slices before removing it.

He said mining would be banned below any dry ditch that federal officials could call a stream.