13 states look to halt midnight coal rule before Trump inauguration

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More than a dozen states are asking a federal court to halt the Obama administration's latest rule affecting the coal industry before it goes into effect Thursday, the day before Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president.

Thirteen states petitioned a federal appeals court on Tuesday for an injunction halting the implementation of the Stream Protection Rule that was finalized by the Interior Department late last month. The rule seeks to prevent mining runoff from polluting streams and waterways.

Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who is leading the court effort, said in a statement that the rule "tramples states' retention of sovereign authority under the 10th Amendment and seeks to destroy an entire industry, displacing hardworking men and women and setting a precedent to disregard states' own understanding of major industries within their borders."

The regulations are seen by the industry as too strict, leading to the prohibition of mining in many regions altogether. The rules require that the land near coal mines be virtually unchanged, which would make strip mining in states such as West Virginia more difficult, while requiring coal companies to conduct more testing and deploy new monitoring practices that will add costs.

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