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The federal Office of Surface Mining (OSM) published a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on its proposed revisions to the federal stream buffer zone rule, referred to now as the “stream protection rule” (SPR).  A copy of the 1,267-page draft EIS is available at http://www.osmre.gov/programs/RCM/docs/sprDEIS.pdf   

The official Federal Register notification of the draft EIS follows the pre-publication release of the proposed SPR by OSM and the Department of the Interior.  While the actual proposed regulatory changes have not yet been published in the Federal Register, an agency copy of the 1,238-page SPR proposal is available at http://www.osmre.gov/programs/RCM/docs/SPRProposedRule.pdf

 

The comment period on the draft EIS will close on September 15, 2015 and the agency has tentatively scheduled public hearings on the draft rule and EIS, including one in Charleston, WV although the exact location and date have not been published. 

While still reviewing the draft SPR, the cursory review confirms initial suspicions that OSM has used the stream buffer zone rule as the pretext to propose sweeping changes in the federal mining regulations governing fill construction, stream mine throughs, underground mine subsidence, mine reclamation, the conditions for post-mining bond release and to impose Clean Water Act-like water quality provisions under the guise of defining “material damage”.

We will provide a more detailed summary of the SPR as soon as possible. 


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