Press Releases

U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) released the following statement regarding a costly and unnecessary revised stream buffer zone rule proposed today by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). 

"This is another shameless attempt by the Obama Administration to regulate the coal industry out of business," said Rogers. "To date, OSMRE has refused to work with the 20 states that originally stepped up to collaborate in the development of this rule. Administration officials have disregarded the input provided by the States at every turn and wasted millions of taxpayer dollars in the process. The agency has failed to calculate the true impact to our economy and seriously underestimates the number of job losses we will see in the coalfields because of this revised rule. I will continue to fight back against these attacks on the citizens of Southern and Eastern Kentucky and their way of life, at the same time as we work to keep electricity rates low for people and businesses around the nation."

In March, Congressman Rogers and West Virginia Congressman Evan Jenkins sent a joint letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, expressing concerns about OSMRE's mismanagement within the agency and a lack of transparency with coal producing states during the stream buffer zone rule-making process.

"We are dismayed that this massive regulatory rewrite has occurred largely in secret, without any meaningful communication with state regulators who will ultimately be responsible for adopting and implementing these new federal standards," wrote the Congressmen. "The states have expressed serious concerns regarding the economic consequences of this massive rewrite. In fact, this rule threatens as many as 270,000 jobs across 22 states."

The House FY16 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill includes a provision that would bar the agency from using any funds to implement a revised stream buffer zone rule, such as the one issued by OSMRE today. The bill has been approved by the full House Appropriations Committee, where Congressman Rogers serves as Chairman.

An advanced copy of the proposed rule is available on the OSMRE website.  The proposed rule, upon publication in the Federal Register, will be open for public comment for a period of 60 days. Written comments will be accepted through the U.S. Mail, hand-delivered and couriered comments at OSMRE headquarters in Washington, D.C., and electronically through

OSMRE will hold public hearings on the proposed Stream Protection Rule in five cities across the country beginning in September. Hearings will be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Lexington, Kentucky; Charleston, West Virginia; Denver, Colorado; and St. Louis, Missouri. The times and venues of the public hearings will be announced at a later date.

Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981. With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia’s natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents. For more information, visit or follow Rogers on TwitterFacebook or Instagram.