Republican AGs Push Back Against “Federal Takeover” of Coal Mining Regulations

  • A coalition of 14 Republican AGs, co-led by Indiana AG Todd Rokita and West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey, filed a petition for judicial review challenging a Department of Interior Final Rule amending regulations governing the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s (OSMRE) oversight of state regulators concerning potential violations of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA).
  • In the petition, the AGs assert that the Final Rule’s amendments to the so-called 10-day rule—which allows for federal intervention if states fail to properly oversee coal mining operations and permitting—exceeds the agency’s statutory authority and is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with the law. They further contend that the rule contradicts SMCRA’s intent that states alone should oversee permitting, bonding, and similar decisions.
  • The AGs also challenge the Final Rule’s prohibition on OSMRE using readily available information from state regulatory agencies, shortened timeframe for state authorities to investigate and demonstrate “good cause” after receiving a ten-day notice, and its removal of the requirement for citizens to first contact state regulators before raising their concerns with the federal government.
  • The AGs request, among other things, that the court temporarily stay the Final Rule’s implementation date pending the outcome of the litigation, and to overturn the rule as being unlawful, arbitrary, and capricious.