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On Wednesday the Senate Natural Resources Committee amended SB 456, the Antidegradation Implementation Rule, to reduce the presumptive list from 309 streams to 108.  The amended list was extracted from the original 156 streams proposed by the WVDEP last year and consists of the 38 streams that were never objected to and 70 streams that are solely on public lands.  The bill is on second reference in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
On Wednesday the Senate Natural Resources Committee amended SB 456, the Antidegradation Implementation Rule, to reduce the presumptive list from 309 streams to 108.  The amended list was extracted from the original 156 streams proposed by the WVDEP last year and consists of the 38 streams that were never objected to and 70 streams that are solely on public lands.  The bill is on second reference in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 On Thursday, Senator Jon Hunter introduced a bill to prohibit the placement of excess spoil and overburden in any intermittent or perennial stream or within 100 feet of these streams.  Coal refuse was exempt from this prohibition.  Unlike Hunter's introduction of similar bills in the past, he made comments on the floor that, according to news reports, it was an attempt to prohibit mountain-top mining.  This will, of course, be watched closely.

In order to preserve the alternative bonding program approved by OSM that caps the bonding rate and to address a pending suit in Federal Judge John Copenhaver's court, the DEP has begun discussing the reinstitution of the Special Reclamation Fund tax that terminated several months ago.  These discussions were prompted, in part, by the completion of the Special Reclamation Fund Advisory Council's bi-annual actuarial study last month.  More details will be provided as discussions continue.

Governor Manchin issued an Executive Order (No. 01-08) creating the Post-Mine Land Use Redevelopment Group to evaluate all surface mined land sites that should be reclaimed and placed into productive use, with priority given to post-mine land use initiatives involving highway and infrastructure construction, commercial and residential development or renewable energy projects.  The “Group” will be appointed by the Governor and composed of the Secretary of the Dept. of Commerce, who will serve as the chairman; Secretary of the DEP, or her designee; Secretary of Transportation, or designee; Ex. Dir. Of the WV Housing Development Fund; one member representing the coal industry; one member with experience in the advocacy of environmental protection; one member representing the viewpoint of State land owners; one member with experience in housing development; one member representing an economic development group; and, one member of the largest organization representing coal miners.

Hopefully, everyone received the Legislative Report earlier this week.  It was updated through Monday, February 4th.  The plan is to update the report over the weekend reflecting Legislative activity that occurred this week and distribute it on Monday.  If you have questions please let us know immediately.

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