Back in February, Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) voted in favor of H.J. Res. 38, a resolution of disapproval of the Stream Protection Rule.
The Stream Protection Rule regulated the impact of coal mining on surface water and groundwater. As Bob Cesca of Salon explained shortly after the vote went through:
“Simply put, the rule banned the dumping of mountaintop removal mining waste into nearby waterways by creating a 100-foot buffer around streams and the like, ultimately protecting an estimated 6,000 miles of rivers. Many of those rivers provide drinking water for neighboring towns — for now. The new rule also mandated the restoration of polluted waterways and the replanting of trees.”
According to the League of Conservation Voters, the rule also protected 52,000 acres of forests and established “new requirements for water quality monitoring.”
Paulsen and his Republican colleagues were joined in their opposition to the rule by conservative policy advocacy groups like Heritage Action, which argued that the rule threatened jobs – even though the Department of the Interior’s economic analysis found that “The final rule is projected to have a negligible impact on the coal industry overall.”
Other opposition was premised on the idea that the rule was – as Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) charged – “[jammed] through in the eleventh hour” with minimal public input. In fact, the rule began development in 2009, and over the course of its development cycle the DOI office that drafted the rule “received more than 150,000 written comments and statements from 15 open houses and public meetings, and extensive outreach efforts with stakeholders nationwide.”
Despite the obvious risk posed to America’s precious water resources, Congress rescinded the rule in early February following a vote along party lines. Later in the month, President Trump signed the bill into law.
Rep. Paulsen, as usual, offered no comment on why he voted the way he did. But then, he didn’t have to; as I’ve written elsewhere, Paulsen is bought and paid for by the dirty energy industry.
The National Parks Conservation Association blasted H.J Res. 38 for killing “common sense requirements” and “[rolling] back by decades protections for our waterways.” On the whole, the NPCA said, the bill was “extreme.”
Paulsen has previously pledged to “pass on a clean environment to the next generation.” But his vote to repeal the Stream Protection Rule has done just the opposite.
Featured image via YouTube.