On February 3, 2016, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Director, Todd Parfitt, was scheduled to testify in front of the United States Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in Washington, D.C in regard to the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) Proposed Stream Protection Rule.
Due to recent weather and travel conditions, Parfitt was unable to attend. However, Parfitt's written testimony has been entered into the public record.
Click here to view his written testimony.
Click here to view the hearing.
"We are deeply disappointed with the development of the Proposed Rule and the lack of engagement with the states in that process," said Parfitt. "Wyoming supports regulations that protect our environment but only those that are reasonable, practicable, and sensible. OSM excluded states from the process, failed to recognize the regional differences that affect mining and reclamation, and is attempting to impose one-size-fits-all regulations on Wyoming based upon science related to Appalachia."
Some of Parfitt's additional concerns raised in his testimony include:
- OSM has undertaken a comprehensive rewrite of the core regulations implementing SMCRA, and has not limited itself to focusing on stream protection.
- The Proposed Rule is a one-size-fits-all regulation that imposes nationwide standards without consideration for the fundamental regulatory, environmental, ecological or economic differences amongst the states.
- The Proposed Rule fails to consider Wyoming’s regulatory program and the best practices, including award-winning reclamation techniques, which our regulatory experts have developed over several decades of running the largest surface coal mining program in the country.
- The Proposed Rule exceeds OSM’s statutory authority and infringes on the authority and ability of states to implement SMCRA.
- The Proposed Rule imposes extensive monitoring and reclamation requirements without sound scientific justification.
"The only reasonable and logical decision is to withdraw the rule and work with the states, regulated industry and other members of the public to put forth a more appropriate proposal," said Parfitt. "Wyoming remains willing to commit staff time and resources to fully engage in a meaningful cooperative agency process."