As I mentioned in a previous post a few weeks ago... while we all bask in the afterglow of Barack Obama's victory and follow news of his new administration (and the daily horrors about the economy), lame duck President Bush is quietly sticking it to us (and the environment) one last time.
From the Associated Press: "Angry environmentalists launched an online campaign Wednesday urging President-elect Barack Obama to undo a federal rule that clarifies when coal companies can dump mining waste in streams, calling it a long-awaited 'parting gift' from the Bush administration.
"North Carolina-based Appalachian Voices and others blasted Tuesday's Environmental Protection Agency decision to endorse the mining rule as the death of freshwater streams and the likely start of a new surge in mountaintop removal surface mining across Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky."
Juliet Eilperin wrote in yesterday's Washington Post: "The regulation got signoffs from the Office of Management and Budget and the Environmental Protection Agency this week and will go into effect 30 days after it is published in the Federal Register. The change is intended to resolve a nearly five-year-old fight over how companies can dispose of the vast amounts of rubble and sludge created when they blow the tops off mountains to get to the coal buried below, although the incoming Obama administration could revisit the issue."
In the New York Times, Robert Pear and Felicity Barringer write: "The rule is one of the most contentious of all the regulations emerging from the White House in President Bush's last weeks in office. Mr. Bush has boasted of his efforts to cooperate with President-elect Barack Obama to ensure a smooth transition, but the administration is rushing to complete work on regulations to which Mr. Obama and his advisers object. The rules deal with air pollution, auto safety, abortion and workers' exposure to toxic chemicals, among other issues. The coal industry could be the largest beneficiary of last-minute environmental rules."
"'This is unmistakably a fire sale of epic size for coal and the entire fossil fuel industry, with flagrant disregard for human health, the environment or the rule of law,' said Vickie Patton, deputy general counsel of the Environmental Defense Fund."