Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HR0687
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Full Text of HR0687  99th General Assembly




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2    WHEREAS, Illinois has been a leader in energy production
3within the United States, in large part due to Illinois' vast
4coal resources; and
5    WHEREAS, Illinois has the largest recoverable bituminous
6coal reserves in the United States, a reserve base larger than
7all but 6 countries in the world, and the ability to produce
8all of America's electricity needs for 50 years; and
9    WHEREAS, The Illinois coal industry is currently
10responsible for over $2,500,000,000 in annual economic
11activity within the State, including employing approximately
125,000 miners with an average salary of $85,000 a year, higher
13than both the United States and Illinois median household
14incomes; and
15    WHEREAS, The Illinois coal industry has faced increased
16environmental regulations in the last 2 decades that resulted
17in coal production going from 62 million tons of mined coal in
181990 to a low of 31 million tons in 2003 and a loss of 6,500
19direct jobs during this time period; and
20    WHEREAS, The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and
21Enforcement within the United States Department of the Interior



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1recently proposed additional environmental regulation of the
2Illinois coal industry through the Draft Stream Protection Rule
3published in the federal register on July 27, 2015; and
4    WHEREAS, The proposed Draft Stream Protection Rule would
5affect surface mines, underground mines, and ancillary
6facilities located in every coal producing state; and
7    WHEREAS, The proposed Stream Protection Rule would amend,
8modify, or revise over 450 provisions of the existing
9regulatory program, affecting literally every substantive and
10procedural aspect of the mine permitting process under the
11Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977; the
12proposed rule would also add entirely new definitions,
13substantive and procedural requirements, and prohibitions
14affecting surface mines, underground mines, and ancillary
15facilities; in total, the proposed rule exceeds 2,000 pages of
16changes, additions, explanations, regulatory impact analyses
17and environmental assessments, not including countless studies
18that are cited but not provided; and
19    WHEREAS, The coal industry, the Illinois Department of
20Natural Resources, and other stakeholders need sufficient time
21to determine how the rule would affect the State's primary and
22exclusive regulatory authority and additional technical
23resources required under the Surface Mining Control and



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1Reclamation Act of 1977; and
2    WHEREAS, All stakeholders must be given the opportunity to
3determine the affect the rule would have on existing mines and
4their respective employees as well as on State programing,
5resources, and current permitting delays; currently, the State
6of Illinois has a backlog of approximately 2 years on coal mine
7permits; the backlog has negatively impacted the operation of
8existing Illinois coal mines and the potential for coal mining
9expansion which has caused increased unemployment in the State
10of Illinois; and
11    WHEREAS, The Draft Stream Protection Rule required more
12than 6 years to develop and included a lack of consultation
13with stakeholders during that time period and yet the
14Department of Interior will only allow 60 days for public
15comment; and
16    WHEREAS, The Department of the Interior must provide the
17Illinois coal industry, the Illinois Department of Natural
18Resources, and other stakeholders sufficient time to respond to
19the Stream Protection Rule which would have a sweeping and
20monumental impact on the Illinois coal industry; therefore, be



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2that we urge the United States Department of the Interior to
3provide a comment period of no less than 180 days for public
4participation in and comment on the proposed Draft Stream
5Protection Rule; and be it further
6    RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be
7delivered to Governor Bruce Rauner, the Illinois Congressional
8delegation, the Director of the Office of Surface Mining
9Reclamation and Enforcement of the United States Department of
10the Interior, and all the members of the General Assembly.