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The Obama administration is pushing for green energy in a forceful way. Their newest attacks target the Appalachian coal mining industry. With help from the Department of Interior’s Office of Surface Coal Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM).
The 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule, which created regulations on where spoil from surface mining could be placed, is now being rewritten by the administration. The House Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Doc Hastings, has recently obtained documents and audio recordings of contractors and federal agency employees that raise questions about the actions and motives behind this push for the rewrite of the 2008 rule. This information was obtained through an outside source after the Department of Interior had refused to release them for over a year, even after being issued to subpoenas.
The Obama administration is saying that this revision is necessary in order to reduce the harmful consequences of surface mining. But, after a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was ordered by The Obama administration ordered a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), even though a thorough analysis had been done for the 2008 rule. An early draft of the Obama administration’s new EIS found their more forceful regulations could cost up to 7,000 mining jobs and negatively impact up to 22 states. These results were not made public until a story by the Associated Press [read full story here] leaked the information. The administration criticized the contractor that was responsible for the EIS draft and reiterated the fact that it was only a draft and these numbers were more of placeholders.
The Natural Resources Committee is now looking into the motivation behind the push for the re-write (read the whole press release here), and examining the Regulatory Impact Analysis. To make matters worse for the validity of the Obama Administration, their motives are under scrutiny again after the release of the draft Regulation Impact Analysis (RIA), which is required for any new significant federal regulations to examine possible economic impacts. The draft found that there would be a substantial decrease in coal production as a result of the new regulation.
Yet by the time of the February 2011 RIA draft, the tables and graphs showing any negative results and repercussions of the administration’s revision had been removed. The report also revealed that any small mining company, companies with fewer than 500 employees comprising 94% of the industry, would face disastrous economic impacts.
This is just yet another example of the Obama administration’s war on coal. While the President Obama states he is out to restore jobs, the impact of this new regulation does anything but that and his administration finds no problem in sweeping negative results under the rug to advance their war on coal.