Featured image courtesy of Human Events
This week is absolutely vital for the American coal industry’s future, as the House prepares to vote on a bill that would undo some of the damage done by President Obama and his bureaucratic minions as they waged a relentless war on coal producers, consumers, and workers over the past four years. In a week that has already seen 1,000 more jobs lost as casualties in Obama’s “war on coal,” now more than ever is the time for Congress to act.
This Friday, the House will vote on the “Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012.” It combines multiple pieces of legislation designed to stop the Obama administration’s 4-year assault on a vital American industry. The legislation packages five House bills crafted over the two years of the 112th Congress aimed at limiting regulation that affects coal and other industry, four of which were previously passed by the House.
- H.R. 3409, the Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act, to prevent the Secretary of the Interior from issuing new regulations that would adversely impact mining jobs;
- H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, passed in April 2011, would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act;
- H.R. 2401, the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act, or TRAIN Act, passed in September 2011, would require analysis of the effects of proposed environmental regulations on manufacturing, energy prices and jobs;
- H.R. 2273, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, passed in October 2011, curtailing the EPA’s ability to regulate the disposal of coal ash from power plants; and
- H.R. 2018, Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act, passed in July 2011, would limit EPA action with regard to state regulation of water quality.
With over 1,400 coal-fired electric generating units in the U.S., coal provides electricity for 63 million households and 3.4 million businesses. But despite the fact that coal is vital for so many, the Obama EPA has insisted on forcing unwarranted regulations that are costing billions of dollars and forcing many plants to close and plans for new ones to be scrapped:
The regulatory cost of EPA’s actions is also staggeringly high for coal-fired plants. Two studies reviewed by the Government Accountability Office put the annual costs of just four major EPA regulations between $16 billion and $21 billion over the coming years.
Appalachia has been hardest hit. Arch Coal laid off 750 workers back in June, Murray Coal announced back in August it was giving up in Ohio and today we get the news Alpha Natural Resources is closing 8 mines and laying off 1,200 workers. Four mines in West Virginia will close, 3 in Virginia and one in Pennsylvania. This amounts to about 10% of Alpha’s 13,000 person workforce.
It’s personal. For all of Team Obama’s rhetoric about getting Americans back to work, their job-killing regulations are making things worse for American families across the board:
“Allen Black is a casualty in the Obama administration’s war on coal. He worked in the coalfields of Eastern Kentucky for two decades earning upwards of $70,000 a year and was financially secure enough to help support his son’s pre-medical studies at a private university. After losing his job on April 29, Black had no choice but to clear out his retirement savings to supplement his only income of $350 a week in unemployment and is now struggling to take care of his family at home, in addition to his son’s textbooks, food and other college expenses.”
The “war on coal” has cost 2,000 jobs in this year alone and more are on the way. And let’s now forget about all the ancillary jobs that go along that will be lost: restaurants, gas stations, grocery stores and the list goes on. Are these burdensome regulations responsible when over 8% of Americans are still unemployed? The answer is a resounding “yes” as we all remember these words, the most *transparent* I believe Obama has ever been:
‘If somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can—it’s just that it will bankrupt them,’
Things have gotten so bad for the coal industry even a left-leaning union, the prominent United Mine Workers has announced they won’t endorse Obama for re-election.
For almost 18 months I have been quietly following the sorry saga of Obama’s re-write of the Steam Buffer rule which would affect thousands of mining jobs. He hired a contractor to study how many jobs would be lost, and when the study concluded more jobs would be lost than he thought the public could stomach he fired the contractor. House Natural Resources Chair Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) has been on Obama’s and Ken Salazar’s tail over this and he released this statement:
Shortly after taking office, the Obama Administration discarded a coal production regulation, the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule, that underwent five years of environmental review and public comment. The Administration has spent millions of taxpayer dollars working to rewrite this rule including hiring new contractors, only to dismiss those same contractors once it was publically revealed that the Administration’s new proposed regulation could cost 7,000 jobs and cause economic harm in 22 states. It’s now unclear where the Administration is at in the process of conducting this rewrite and if they are hiding the ball and intentionally concealing the true economic impacts until after the November election.
Even after all these facts, Obama still insists he “embraces coal.” Please call your Congress Critters and ask them to vote “yea” on all these bills. Many jobs, and your future electricity depends on it.
Crossposted at Conservative Outlooks