Legislative Letters

Re: Oppose Extreme Congressional Review Act Attack on Stream Protection Rule

Jan 30, 2017

Dear Representative,

On behalf of our millions of members, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) works to turn environmental values into national, state, and local priorities.  Each year, LCV publishes the National Environmental Scorecard, which details the voting records of members of Congress on environmental legislation.  The Scorecard is distributed to LCV members, concerned voters nationwide, and the media. 
LCV urges you to vote NO on the Congressional Review Act “Resolution of Disapproval” of the Stream Protection Rule. This radical legislative measure would threaten the drinking water and public health of communities living near coal mining operations by permanently blocking the Department of the Interior’s recently finalized Stream Protection Rule.

The Stream Protection Rule updates standards that are over 30 years old and out of step with the latest science and understanding of the impacts of mining pollution on public health. The waste generated by coal mining has been linked to increased rates of cancer, birth defects, and other health problems in nearby communities. The rule is particularly important to combat the devastating practice of mountaintop removal mining, which has resulted in the destruction of over 2,000 miles of streams, including those that serve as drinking water sources for millions of people, flattened an area the size of Delaware, and decimated forests and natural habitats.

The Stream Protection Rule sets out commonsense requirements for surface coal mining that will better protect ground water, surface water, and ecosystems, while taking into consideration modern mining practices, the best available science, and new technologies. It will protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests, sets up new requirements for water quality monitoring and restoration, and generally compels coal mining companies to reduce their impact on the surrounding environment. Additionally, the Department of the Interior estimates the rule will create an average of 156 full time jobs, while costs to the mining industry will be very minimal and impacts on consumers will be negligible. 

This legislation is an extreme anti-clean water resolution that would not only overturn the Stream Protection Rule, but would prohibit the Department of Interior from developing any “substantially similar” measure in the future. This vague and harmful language could prevent the Department of the Interior from ever issuing updated regulations that reduce the harmful impacts of coal mining, decimating the health and environment of everyone who lives near or downstream from these operations.

We urge you to REJECT the Congressional Review Act “Resolution of Disapproval” of the Stream Protection Rule, a dangerous bill that would permanently block the Stream Protection Rule and jeopardize the health and drinking water of communities living near coal mining. We will strongly consider including votes on this legislation in the 2017 Scorecard.  If you need more information, please call my office at (202) 785-8683 and ask to speak with a member of our government relations team.


Gene Karpinski