Citizens Coal Council and KRC Oppose Weakening of Permit Block Rules Posted: March 30, 2004
On behalf of KRC and the Citizens Coal Council, KRC's National Citizens Coal Law Project filed comments Monday opposing a proposal by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (?OSM) to allow applicants for mining permits to conceal from regulators and the public the identities of persons who have the actual ability to determine the manner in which the permit applicant will conduct mining operations. The proposed OSM rulemaking would change the "ownership and control rules" that implement the Congressional prohibition against issuing new permits to operations linked to current violators of the law. The OSM proposal would hobble regulatory authorities in deciding whether to deny permits to corporations that own other corporations currently in violation of environmental laws. The proposed regulatory rollback also would place a new and unexplained burden of proof on regulatory authorities who attempt to block the issuance of new permits to persons who own or control coal industry scofflaws. The comments, developed on behalf of KRC and the Citizens Coal Council by veteran citizen's lawyer Walt Morris, point out that OSM has failed to cite any factual basis to show that the proposed changes are necessary and has failed to give any reason for the changes except the agency's desire to settle a lawsuit brought by a coal industry trade group. To read the comments in pdf format, click here.