North Dakota sues to block new coal mining rule

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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem is going to court to block the Obama administration's final rules designed to reduce the environmental impact of coal mining on streams.

Stenehjem filed the lawsuit Tuesday with the state Public Service Commission. He calls the new rule "the epitome of a midnight regulation," and says the case involves "a last-ditch effort by the outgoing Administration to encroach on the clear authority" granted to North Dakota and the PSC.

North Dakota contends the new rule places onerous restrictions on surface coal mining and reclamation, and violates federal law and the U.S. Constitution.

The Interior Department says the rule will protect 6,000 miles of streams, preventing debris from coal mining from being dumped into nearby waters.

Republicans vow to overturn it under President Donald Trump.

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