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Montanans Have Mixed Reactions To Repeal Of Stream Protection Rule

A pile of coal.
Flickr user oatsy40 (CC-BY-2)
President Donald Trump Thursday ended a key Obama-era coal mining regulation designed to protect waterways from coal mining waste.

President Donald Trump Thursday ended a key Obama-era coal mining regulation. Montanans' reaction to the repeal of the Stream Protection Rule covered the gamut from elation to frustration. 

Steve Charter is a third-generation cattle rancher north of Billings and is firmly in the "frustrated" camp:

"We think water protection and the value of our streams in extremely important and we were really hoping that this stream protection act – which a lot of thought was put into – I think it was a necessary addition to the protections that we have now."

The Stream Protection Rule was designed to protect waterways from coal mining waste; a goal that was entirely unnecessary according to Shelby DeMars of the pro-coal group Count on Coal Montana:

"Montana has, bar none, some of the best stream protection, clean air and clean water regulations in place already. That federal rule would have been duplicative and would have hurt coal production in the state of Montana for really, no additional gain."

Montana’s Republican Senator, Steve Daines, voted to overturn the Stream Protection Rule. Democratic Senator Jon Tester supported it.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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