From: Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Hearst Newspapers
Published April 29, 2009 10:44 AM

White House push to nullify mining-waste rule

The Obama administration on Monday took steps to cancel a Bush-era rule that made it easier for mountaintop mining operations to dump rock, dirt and other waste near streams.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said the Justice Department would ask a U.S. district court to overturn the rule that went into effect in January, just before President Obama took office.

"Coal must and will remain an important component of our nation's energy portfolio," Salazar said. "But the 11th-hour rule ... simply does not adequately protect our waterways and our communities."

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The Bush rule replaced a 1983 regulation that barred coal miners from dumping debris within 100 feet of nearby rivers and streams, except when the dumping "would not adversely affect the water quantity or quality or other environmental resources of the stream."

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