Text: H.R.2050 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (04/03/2019)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H.R. 2050 Introduced in House (IH)]

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116th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 2050

To place a moratorium on permitting for mountaintop removal coal mining 
  until health studies are conducted by the Department of Health and 
                Human Services, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             April 3, 2019

Mr. Yarmuth (for himself, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Mr. Connolly, Ms. DeGette, 
 Mr. Cartwright, Mr. Tonko, Mr. Schiff, Mr. Cohen, Mr. Blumenauer, Mr. 
   Beyer, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Khanna, and Ms. McCollum) introduced the 
    following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural 
  Resources, and in addition to the Committees on Transportation and 
      Infrastructure, and Energy and Commerce, for a period to be 
subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration 
  of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee 
                               concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To place a moratorium on permitting for mountaintop removal coal mining 
  until health studies are conducted by the Department of Health and 
                Human Services, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Appalachian Communities Health 
Emergency Act'' or the ``ACHE Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) Communities surrounding mountaintop removal coal mining 
        projects, which involve surface coal mining including blasting 
        with explosives in the steep slope regions of Kentucky, 
        Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia, have raised concerns 
        that pollution of the water, air, and soil that results from 
        mountaintop removal coal mining may be causing health crises in 
        their communities.
            (2) Peer-reviewed scientific research and reports have 
        raised serious concerns about mountaintop removal mining with 
        respect to elevated risks in categories of birth defects 
        studied: circulatory/respiratory, central nervous system, 
        musculoskeletal, and gastrointestinal.
            (3) Mountaintop removal coal mining has also been 
        associated with elevated levels of adult hospitalizations for 
        chronic pulmonary disorders and hypertension that are elevated 
        as a function of county-level coal production, as are rates of 
        mortality; lung cancer; and chronic heart, lung, and kidney 
        disease. These health problems strike both women and men in 
        mountaintop removal coal mining communities. These elevated 
        levels of disease, defects, and mortality persist even after 
        controlling for other variables.
            (4) Initial scientific evidence, and the level of public 
        concern, warrant immediate action to stop new mountaintop 
        removal coal mining permits and increase environmental and 
        human health monitoring at existing mountaintop removal coal 
        mining projects while the reported links between health effects 
        and mountaintop removal coal mining are investigated by Federal 
        health agencies.
            (5) The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences 
        is uniquely qualified to manage a working group of Federal 
        health agencies with expertise that is relevant to study of the 
        reported links.

SEC. 3. HEALTH STUDIES.

    (a) Studies.--The Director of the National Institute of 
Environmental Health Sciences, in consultation with the Administrator 
of the Environmental Protection Agency and the heads of such other 
Federal departments and agencies as the Director deems appropriate, 
shall--
            (1) conduct or support comprehensive studies on the health 
        impacts, if any, of mountaintop removal coal mining on 
        individuals in the surrounding communities; and
            (2) submit to the Secretary, and make publicly available, a 
        report on the results of such studies.
    (b) Determination.--Upon receipt of the report under subsection 
(a)(2), the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall publish a 
determination on whether mountaintop removal coal mining presents any 
health risks to individuals in the surrounding communities.

SEC. 4. MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL COAL MINING PERMIT MORATORIUM.

    Until and unless the Secretary of Health and Human Services 
publishes a determination under section 3(b) concluding that 
mountaintop removal coal mining does not present any health risk to 
individuals in the surrounding communities, a permit or other 
authorization may not be issued for any mountaintop removal coal mining 
project, or for any expansion of such a project, by--
            (1) the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of 
        Engineers, or a State, under section 404 of the Federal Water 
        Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1344);
            (2) the Administrator of the Environmental Protection 
        Agency, or a State, under section 402 of the Federal Water 
        Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1342); or
            (3) the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the 
        Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, or a 
        State, under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 
        1977 (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.).

SEC. 5. MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL COAL MINING CONTINUOUS HEALTH AND 
              ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING.

    (a) Requirement.--Until the Secretary of Health and Human Services 
publishes a determination under section 3(b)--
            (1) any person conducting a mountaintop removal coal mining 
        project shall--
                    (A) conduct continuous monitoring for any pollution 
                of water and air (including noise) and frequent 
                monitoring of soil as a result of such project for the 
                purposes of comprehensively--
                            (i) characterizing any pollution emitted 
                        from the project; and
                            (ii) identifying ways in which members of 
                        affected communities might be exposed to these 
                        emissions; and
                    (B) submit the results of such monitoring to the 
                Secretary on a monthly basis; and
            (2) the Secretary shall make such results available to the 
        public through the World Wide Web in a searchable database 
        format not later than 7 days after the date on which the 
        Secretary receives such results.
    (b) Enforcement.--If a person conducting a mountaintop removal coal 
mining project fails to conduct monitoring and submit results in 
connection with such project as required by subsection (a), a permit or 
other authorization may not be issued for the mountaintop removal coal 
mining project, or for an expansion of such project, by--
            (1) the Secretary of the Army, acting through the Chief of 
        Engineers, or a State, under section 404 of the Federal Water 
        Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1344);
            (2) the Administrator of the Environmental Protection 
        Agency, or a State, under section 402 of the Federal Water 
        Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1342); or
            (3) the Secretary of the Interior, acting through the 
        Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, or a 
        State, under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 
        1977 (30 U.S.C. 1201 et seq.).

SEC. 6. FEE TO PAY FOR HEALTH STUDIES AND MONITORING.

    (a) Collection and Assessment.--The President, acting through the 
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement of the Department 
of the Interior, shall assess and collect from each person that, as of 
the date of the enactment of this Act, is conducting a mountaintop 
removal coal mining project in the United States a one-time fee in an 
amount sufficient to recover the Federal cost of implementing sections 
3 and 5.
    (b) Use of Fee.--Amounts received by the United States as a fee 
under this section may be used, to the extent and in the amount 
provided in advance in appropriations Acts, only to pay the Federal 
cost of carrying out sections 3 and 5.

SEC. 7. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
            (1) Mountaintop removal coal mining.--The term 
        ``mountaintop removal coal mining'' means surface coal mining 
        that uses blasting with explosives in the steep slope regions 
        of Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia.
            (2) Steep slope.--The term ``steep slope'' has the meaning 
        that term has under section 515(d)(4) of the Surface Mining 
        Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (30 U.S.C. 1265(d)(4)).
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