WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump made good on a campaign promise to repeal the Obama administration’s Stream Protection Rule when he signed a resolution eliminating it in a ceremony outside the Oval Office Thursday afternoon.
Trump was surrounded by a handful of coal miners and members of Congress including the entire West Virginia congressional delegation.
“This will eliminate another terrible job-killing rule saving many thousands of American jobs especially in the mines,” Trump said.
The rule, put into effect in the last few weeks President Obama was in office, required additional mine reclamation work, data gathering and waterway monitoring near mines during all phases of mining and few exceptions to a mandated 100-foot buffer between mining sites and streams.
“This a major achievement and I hope the people grasp that,” First District Congressman David McKinley said. “We listened to the operators and the miners. The way the rule was crafted up to 85 percent of the coal would have been unavailable. You wouldn’t have been able to mine it.”
According to President Trump, his promise to repeal rule from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement will “get rid of wasteful regulations that do nothing, absolutely nothing, but slow down the economy, hamstring companies, push jobs to other countries which is happening all over.”
A Morgantown man, who works as a miner at the Marion County Coal Company, addressed the President at the signing.
“President Trump, we thank you very much for everything you’ve done for us. Everything you’re doing for our industry is very much needed. I’ve been mining in this industry for 40 years and this is a very exciting time in our industry. Thank you very much,” said the miner only identified at the podium as Mike.
Just before putting his pen to paper, a pen he handed off to miners after the signing, Trump estimated the Stream Protection Rule would cost the coal industry $50 million annually in compliance costs.
“You folks have put up with a lot,” Trump said.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito thanked Trump for following through with a previous pledge.
“Thank you for being a partner with us and being a leader. We believe in this and we believe in your commitment to making sure American miners get back to work,” Capito said.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin called the signing a major step in the right direction to get coal back on its feet.
“With the signing of this measure, we officially overturn this harmful regulation and can now focus on helping the many West Virginia families and businesses that are experiencing the negative effects of the war on coal,” Manchin said.
Third District Congressman Evan Jenkins called the elimination of the rule “a great day for West Virginia jobs, West Virginia miners and West Virginia energy.”
West Virginia Second District Congressman Alex Mooney called the elimination “a victory for energy consumers.”
“Now that the rule has been stopped, I look forward to continue working with President Trump to roll back the job-killing agenda from former President Obama,” Mooney said.
Jeff Jenkins also contributed to this story.