Stream Protection Rule


We, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE or OSM), are revising our regulations, based on, among other things, advances in science, to improve the balance between environmental protection and the Nation's need for coal as a source of energy. This final rule will better protect water supplies, surface water and groundwater quality, streams, fish, wildlife, and related environmental values from the adverse impacts of surface coal mining operations and provide mine operators with a regulatory framework to avoid water pollution and the long-term costs associated with water treatment. We have revised our regulations to define ``material damage to the hydrologic balance outside the permit area'' and require that each permit specify the point at which adverse mining-related impacts on groundwater and surface water would reach that level of damage; collect adequate premining data about the site of the proposed mining operation and adjacent areas to establish an adequate baseline for evaluation of the impacts of mining and the effectiveness of reclamation; adjust monitoring requirements to enable timely detection and correction of any adverse trends in the quality or quantity of surface water and groundwater or the biological condition of streams; ensure protection or restoration of perennial and intermittent streams and related resources; ensure that permittees and regulatory authorities make use of advances in science and technology; ensure that land disturbed by mining operations is restored to a condition capable of supporting the uses that it was capable of supporting before mining; and update and codify the requirements and procedures for protection of threatened or endangered species and designated critical habitat. Approximately thirty percent of the final rule consists of editorial revisions and organizational changes intended to improve consistency, clarity, accuracy, and ease of use.


Federal Register, Volume 81 Issue 244 (Tuesday, December 20, 2016)

Federal Register Volume 81, Number 244 (Tuesday, December 20, 2016)

Rules and Regulations

Pages 93066-93445

From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office

FR Doc No: 2016-29958

Page 93065

Vol. 81


No. 244

December 20, 2016

Part IV

Book 2 of 2 Books

Pages 93065-93570

Department of the Interior


Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement


30 CFR Parts 700, 701, 773, et al.

Stream Protection Rule; Final Rule