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Alaska joins multi-state fight of "one-size-fits-all" coal reg

 

Last updated 1/19/2018 at 2:10pm



Gov. Bill Walker Jan. 17 announced that Alaska has joined 12 other states in bringing a legal challenge to the U.S. Department of the Interior's Stream Protection Rule, which would place rigid restrictions on coal mines in the United States.

In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Washington D.C., the 13 states allege that the rule exceeds the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement-s statutory authority, infringes on states' constitutional sovereignty, and is otherwise arbitrary and capricious.

"Despite repeated requests from states and direction from Congress, the federal agency failed to adequately consult with the states on the rule," said Alaska Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Andy Mack.

He said the "one-size-fits-all" rule does not consider Alaska's unique geography and environment.

In addition to the legal challenge, Alaska Attorney General Jahna Lindemuth joined several other attorneys general in sending a letter to Congress, urging it to consider using the Congressional Review Act to overturn the rule.

CRA allows Congress to overturn rules issued by federal agencies by passing a joint resolution of disapproval, which would prevent the rule from taking effect.

"Within the last few weeks, federal agencies have taken multiple actions that impede responsible resource development in our great state," said Governor Bill Walker. "This is one of the worst. I sincerely hope that Congress will use its power to overturn it. If not, we are filing the lawsuit to fight it."

Published in the Federal Register on Dec. 20, the Stream Protection Rule is scheduled to take effect on Jan. 19.

-SHANE LASLEY

 

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