The House and Senate have passed legislation undoing the Stream Protection Rule. That new rule was intended to stop coal companies from dumping coal waste into our streams, though opponents say it goes too far and hurts the industry.


Among our legislators Sen. Casey (D) voted to keep the Stream Protection Rule. Sen. Toomey (R) voted to do away with it.


Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R) , who represents all of Bucks County (and all of Bedminster Twp.) voted to keep the Stream Protection Rule.


Pennsylvania is a major coal producing state.


Coal industry interests said the regulation was tough on coal companies, already a tough and getting-tougher business.


The Citizens Coal Council, a national organization based in Canonsburg, Pa., explained the Stream Protection Rule, like this, in part:


What is the stream protection rule?

The Stream Protection Rule (SPR), according to the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), is "a new rule for regulation of coal mining to take advantage of new advances in science, and to improve the balance between environmental protection and providing for the Nation's need for coal as a source of energy." (source)


Why do we need a stream protection rule?

Right now, there is little in the way of a regulatory framework that directly addresses problems created by water pollution and other damage to water supplies caused by coal mining. This left many streams vulnerable to damage-- frequently permanent-- from coal mining. The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement recognized what many citizens directly impacted by these problems have known for years, and have "proposed revisions [to] update our regulations to incorporate or reflect the best available science and experience gained over the last 30 years."