The sorry saga continues, as the Obama administration is intent on getting their way in everything and by any means possible.
In January of 2011 I reported that the EPA had revoked the permit for an already-in-use coal mine in West Virginia, the Spruce Mine to be specific operated by Arch Coal, citing “violations of the Clean Air Act.” This unprecedented action struck fear in the hearts of not only coal companies who have invested millions of dollars and time into securing the necessary permits, but other business owners as well. After all, why would they want to invest in projects if with a flick of the government pen, they could be revoked.
Last March the Obama administration received a smack-down from U.S. District Judge Amy Berman who ruled Arch Coal’s Spruce Mine permit was indeed valid.
But this is far from the end of the story. Yesterday House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) held an oversight hearing about this debacle and “invited” EPA Chair Lisa Jackson to attend. But in true Obama administration form, she and others in her committee snubbed her nose at Rep. Hastings and was a no-show. From Rep. Hastings press release:
The permit was declared “valid and in full force” but the Obama Administration is challenging the ruling, [emphasis mine] again trying to destroy coal mining jobs. While officials from the Obama Administration were invited to testify, none of them chose to accept the invitation and explain their actions to exceed their authority and destroy American jobs.
Yes, the Obama administration is again stamping their feet and challenging every ruling that stands in their way of attempting to put this country back into huts with only candles to keep us warm.
“This is the story of how one agency – the Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency – can attempt to singlehandedly decide to retroactively pull permits, destroy jobs, and cripple our economy without consequence. At the heart of this issue is the lack of confidence in permitting by the federal government. If without cause an agency can retroactively veto issued permits, then how can any company, contractor or concessionaire have confidence to invest in America when their permit is not worth the paper it is written on,” said Energy and Minerals Subcommittee Chairman Doug Lamborn.
West Virginia State Senator Art Kirkendoll (D-Logan), who represents the district where the Spruce Mine is located had this to say:
“Not only has the EPA’s actions shattered that essential relationship between the people and their government, but in their politically motivated zeal to invalidate an existing, legal permit, the agency trampled on the relationship of the states to their federal government…”
Karen Harbert, President and CEO of the Institute for 21st Century Energy (Institute), an affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, voiced her concerns about the economic impact if the EPA was allowed to revoke lawfully acquired permits:
“I cannot over estimate the potential impact if EPA’s unlawful action remains…the Corps estimates that approximately $220 billion in annual investment is contingent on section 404 permits. The Brattle Group in their economic analysis estimates that every billion dollars of construction spending generates 16,000 to 18,000 jobs.”
Yes, Obama’s *War on Coal* continues at an unprecedented pace and now he has vowed to challenge judges’ rulings. Par for the course.
Crossposted at Conservative Outlooks