A trio of Ohio Republicans was on hand today to watch President Donald Trump sign a measure killing an Obama-era rule aimed at protecting streams near coal mines.
Reps. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, and Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, all watched as Trump signed Johnson’s resolution in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. The resolution overturns a regulation aimed at keeping mining waste out of nearby waterways. Obama signed the regulation shortly before leaving office.
Joined also by lawmakers from West Virginia and Kentucky — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was also in the crowd — Trump said the bill would “eliminate another terrible job-killing rule, saving many thousands of American jobs.”
“In eliminating this rule, I am continuing to keep my promise to the American people to get rid of wasteful regulations that do nothing — absolutely nothing — but slow down the economy, hamstring companies, push jobs to other countries,” Trump said, as lawmakers and coal miners watched.
“This is what is going to make America great again,” Johnson said, with Trump looking on. “This is the legislative branch and you working together to keep the promse you made to put coal miners back to work and save the coal industry.”
In an interview last week, Johnson said the rule was ‘”absolutely, totally unnecessary.”
“There have been laws in place for years both on the federal level and state level to prevent mining operators from dumping mine waste into streams,” he said. “The rule had one purpose and one purpose only: to put a death knell into the coffin of the coal industry.” He said Ohio alone has 33,000 jobs dependent on underground coal mining.
But those supporting the rule — including the National Resources Defense Council — said it would help prevent mercury, arsenic and selenium from seeping into streams near coal mines.
The resolution marks the eighth piece of legislation sponsored by Johnson that has been signed into law.
“President Trump made a promise to coal miners and their families during his campaign, and today he fulfilled that promise,” Johnson said. “I was honored to be by his side at the White House as he signed my resolution. Working together, we are protecting coal jobs by preventing this Obama-era rule from taking effect — and importantly — preventing the issuance of any similar rule in the future.