THE ASSOCIATED PRESS – WASHINGTON — The top Republican in the Senate outlined a series of actions he hopes President-elect Donald Trump will take to overturn environmental regulations imposed by President Barack Obama, including a rule to protect streams from coal-mining debris.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged Trump in a letter to scrap a rule to protect small streams and wetlands from development and other regulations that the GOP considers overly burdensome. He also asked Trump to drop a legal defense of the Clean Power Plan, Obama’s signature effort to limit carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants.
The plan, the linchpin of Obama’s strategy to fight climate change, is on hold awaiting a court ruling. In a Jan. 4 letter to the president-elect, McConnell said Trump “inspired the American people with your vision of less regulation, free and fair competition and enhanced job opportunities.”
McConnell said he personally appreciated Trump’s public commitment to “provide relief for coal communities” such as Kentucky, the state that is the third-largest producer of coal in the U.S.
McConnell’s letter decried what he and other Republicans describe as Obama’s “war on coal,” a series of regulations that the GOP says has made coal more expensive to mine, transport and use for energy production.
U.S. coal production has declined sharply in recent years amid stiff competition from cheap, easy-to-produce natural gas. But McConnell said those who attribute coal’s decline simply to low gas prices “are not seeing the full picture,” which he said includes costly federal regulations that place an unfair burden on coal.
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