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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 30, 1999


In light of a stay issued yesterday by the U.S. District Court in West Virginia, the Administration has determined that there is no need to consider legislation to address the possible impact of the court's recent decision on mining regulation.

Two years ago, federal agencies began a comprehensive process to reduce the environmental impacts of mountaintop mining. Under this process, subsequently approved by the court in a settlement with environmentalists, the Administration established new regulatory practices and undertook a comprehensive analysis to determine if additional controls are warranted to protect rivers and streams. This is a sound approach, and the Administration remains committed to it.

Following the court's recent ruling invalidating state mining regulations in West Virginia, efforts began in Congress to pass legislation to reverse the potential impacts of that ruling. The Administration made clear that it would consider only language that restored our sound Regulatory approach, and would oppose any effort to ease environmental restrictions.

Yesterday the U.S. District Court in West Virginia issued a stay of its ruling. This stay achieves the goal of restoring our regulatory approach. Using the comprehensive process previously developed with the environmental community and the state, we will continue working to ensure that the streams and rivers of West Virginia remain protected. Therefore, the Administration has determined that there is no need to consider legislation.