Posted by: Lawyer Sanders | July 26, 2010

Kentucky environmental attorney Sanders says U.S. Office of Surface Mining looking at different proposals on water quality that will forever impact water quality in the coal regions of the Commonwealth.

The U.S. Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) is preparing to do an Environmental Impact Study (EIS) to analyze the effects of potential rule revisions of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA) to improve the protections of streams from adverse impacts of surface mining.

OSM is requesting comments to determine the scope of the EIS. Doing this is another step towards fulfilling the Memorandum Of Understanding MOU signed last year by Department Of the Interior (DOI), U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The public comment period ends on July 30, 2010, but a public meeting on the proposal will be held in Hazard, Kentucky will be July 26th at the Hazard Community College, just south of Hazard off of Route 15, from 3 – 9 PM. See the Federal Register showing the proposed changes to the current rule. Federal Register with Notice on Proposed Rule Change

We support a proposal to adopt the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ definition of streams. It will add a strong and badly needed measure of consistency into rules that are designed to promote water quality standards, not coal production.  If contractors, developers, and the Kentucky Department of Transportation can all live by the standards of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, pertaining to the definitions of a “stream” then, coal mining companies can do the same. 

The folks in eastern Kentucky deserve clean drinking water and adopting the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s definition of a “stream” would go a LONG way to establish fair and reasonable standards without jeopardizing coal production.

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