Hoeven Secures Commitment from Interior Assistant Secretary to Visit North Dakota Before Issuing Final Stream Protection Rule

Interior Department Needs to Allow States Flexibility

WASHINGTON – At a Senate Energy Committee hearing this week, Senator John Hoeven pressed Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Janice Schneider to reject a one-size-fits-all approach to regulating mining activities and urged her to work with states to allow flexibility based on local factors, such as geography and reclamation practices. Hoeven’s comments come in response to the proposed Stream Protection Rule, which the Department of Interior issued in July. During the exchange, Assistant Secretary Schneider agreed to visit North Dakota and meet with industry and local officials prior to issuing a final rule.

“The Department of Interior’s Stream Protection Rule will impact the energy industry across our nation, but the rule is based primarily on coal mining in the Appalachian region,” Hoeven said. “Due to the many differences in mining, land reclamation and geography throughout our country, the federal government cannot take a one-size-fits-all approach to this rule. Doing so imposes unnecessary costs and threatens jobs without any environmental benefits for regions like North Dakota. That’s why I have invited Assistant Secretary Schneider out to our state to hear local concerns and learn about our industrial and environmental practices, and she has agreed to do so before finalizing the Stream Protection Rule.”

Senator Hoeven continues to work through his role on the Senate Appropriations Committee to ensure that the Office of Surface Mining works with states to ensure water quality is protected without adversely impacting jobs and the economy. The senator successfully included a provision in this year’s appropriations bill to prohibit any modification of the Stream Protection Rule. Earlier this year, he also cosponsored bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.) to ensure transparency for the Interior Department’s rulemaking process and prevent duplicate regulations between federal agencies.