The Obama administration added another layer of anti-coal mining regulations to the books Monday, just before President-elect Donald Trump takes office.
The new regulations require coal companies which have finished mining in an area to restore the land to the same condition that existed before digging began. Obama’s Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell called the new regulations “a balanced approach to meeting the nation’s energy needs.”
Companies are currently obligated to rehabilitate the areas they mine, but the new regulations are much more strict and largely focused on groundwater protection. The regulations replaced by the rule had been in force for 33 years — a rule under development since 2009.