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Coal states challenge new Interior mining regulations

By Michael Doyle | 06/10/2024 04:34 PM EDT

The rules make it easier to get federal regulators involved in complaints from people living near coal mines.

A pile of coal.

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement in April reversed a Trump administration rule dealing with complaints about coal mining operations. Scott Olson/AFP via Getty Images

An alliance of coal-reliant states have challenged the Biden administration’s new mining regulations designed to make it easier for citizens to bring complaints to federal attention.

In a highly anticipated move, 14 states Friday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia challenging the mining rules drafted by the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement.

“In this new final rule, [Interior] is overthrowing a longstanding deference to states on state-regulated mining programs,” Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor (R) said in a statement, adding that “worst of all, it requires [Interior] to ignore vital information from states that could verify or disprove whether violations exist.”

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The petition targets OSMRE’s amendments to the so-called 10-day rule, which authorizes the federal agency to enter the picture if states fall short in overseeing coal mining operations and permits. Alaska and its allied states, including major coal producers like Wyoming and West Virginia, contend the revisions would allow federal regulators to prematurely insert themselves into matters best left to the states.

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