WASHINGTON (WYMT/AP) - President Donald Trump has put the brakes on a regulation blocking coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby streams.
Trump called the regulation a "job-killing rule" before he signed a measure to overturn it. Lawmakers from coal-mining states stood close by, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.
"A lot of damage was done during the Obama years to Appalachian coal. We can only take one step at a time from the government point of view and I think getting rid of the stream buffer rule is a good first step to at least getting the government off the backs of America's coal companies so they can grow and hire people. You know, coal has a future. The question is whether coal is going to have a future in our country," McConnell said.
Several coal miners and energy company executives also attended the White House signing ceremony.
Republicans and some Democrats argued that the rule could eliminate thousands of coal-related jobs. They said the rule also ignored dozens of existing federal, state and local regulations.
The Interior Department said in December when it announced the rule that 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests would be protected.