US proposing rules for streams near coal mines

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Obama administration is proposing new regulations Thursday designed to reduce the impact of coal mining on the nation’s streams.

Currently, federal regulations on stream protection from coal mines date back to 1983.

The proposed regulations, long anticipated, will maintain a 100-foot buffer zone adjacent to streams to prevent debris from being dumped into the water. But the rules will set clearer guidelines for companies.

A summary of the regulations obtained by The Associated Press says the rule would update reclamation practices that require companies to restore streams and return mined areas to conditions before the mining was done.

Mine operators often already do such restoration. The proposed rule acknowledges those advancements and seeks greater consistency to expedite forest recovery.