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National Briefing / WASHINGTON, D.C.

Mining waste rule expected to ease soon

October 18, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

The Interior Department is poised to issue a final rule that would make it easier for mountaintop mining companies to dump waste near rivers and streams, the agency announced.

The environmental impact statement overhauls a 1983 regulation protecting water quality that has been regularly flouted by mining companies. It marks the next-to-last step in a 4 1/2 -year battle over how companies should dispose of the rubble and slurry created when they blow the tops off mountains to get to the coal.

The revised rule would take effect after a 30-day review by the Environmental Protection Agency, making it one of the last significant changes to environmental regulations by the Bush administration.

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