H.J.Res. 38, now P.L. 115-5, disapproved of the rule submitted by the Department of Interior known as the Stream Protection Rule.
The new rule attempted to reduce the environmental impact of coal mining. It established a buffer zone rule blocking mining within 100 feet of streams, and imposed stricter policies that required companies to restore land to pre-mining conditions. The rule also required operators to collect data about the site of any proposed operations, as well as adjacent areas, before beginning mining to establish a baseline for measuring impact of mining activities. Additionally, the rule adjusted monitoring requirements to allow for the rapid detection and correction of any problems in the quality or quantity of surface and groundwater, and looked to ensure that mine operators and regulatory agencies use the most current science and technology. These adjustments were made through the alteration of 475 individual regulations enforced through the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act.
The rule, published on December 19, 2016, was in effect from January 19, 2017 until February 16, 2017, when H.J.Res. 38 became P.L. 115-5.