War on coal finally getting a closer look

posted at 10:01 am on July 13, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

This week, the Natural Resources Committee has “invited” Ken Salazar and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Director Joseph Pizarchik to come down for a little chat with Congress to talk about the Stream Buffer Zone Rule.

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 10, 2012 – Today, as part of a more than yearlong investigation into the Obama Administration’s rewrite of a 2008 coal regulation, the Stream Buffer Zone Rule, that could cost thousands of jobs, negatively impact the economies of 22 states and significantly harm American energy production, Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) sent a letter to Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement Director Joseph Pizarchik inviting them to testify at a July 19th oversight hearing.

The hearing will examine 1) the current status of the proposed rewrite and the status of the court settlement agreement providing for the rewrite, and 2) the failure of the Department to comply to date with two subpoenas for documents on the rewrite.

What’s that you say? You haven’t heard about the Stream Buffer Zone Rule? A little background:

Almost immediately after taking office, the Obama Administration began rewriting a recently completed coal regulation, the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule (Rule). This unnecessary action, carried out through the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) at the Department of the Interior, proposed to dramatically alter a regulation that that took over five years of environmental analysis and careful scientific consideration to complete.

Despite the fact that a thorough Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was conducted for the 2008 Rule, OSM hired another contractor to write an entirely new EIS for the Obama Administration’s efforts to rewrite the Rule. An Associated Press story revealed that this draft EIS concluded that the Obama Administration’s regulation could cost over 7,000 mining jobs and cause economic harm in 22 states. Shortly after this information was made public, the Obama Administration criticized and dismissed the contractor it had selected to conduct this analysis.

So what can be done about this? Well, for one thing, Congressman Bill Johnson (OH-06) already has some legislation on the table which can help. And you can help by supporting this effort. It’s HR. 3409 – The Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act. Here’s the details:

Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act – Prohibits the Secretary of the Interior, before December 31, 2013, from issuing or approving any proposed or final regulation under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 that would: (1) adversely impact employment in coal mines in the United States; (2) cause a reduction in revenue received by the federal government or any state, tribal, or local government, by reducing through regulation the amount of coal in the United States that is available for mining; (3) reduce the amount of coal available for domestic consumption or for export; (4) designate any area as unsuitable for surface coal mining and reclamation operations; or (5) expose the United States to liability for taking the value of privately owned coal through regulation.

Co-sponsors

Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G. [R-MD-6] – 12/1/2011
Rep Berg, Rick [R-ND] – 1/18/2012
Rep Bucshon, Larry [R-IN-8] – 11/17/2011
Rep Capito, Shelley Moore [R-WV-2] – 1/25/2012
Rep Flores, Bill [R-TX-17] – 11/22/2011
Rep Gosar, Paul A. [R-AZ-1] – 3/5/2012
Rep Harper, Gregg [R-MS-3] – 11/22/2011
Rep Harris, Andy [R-MD-1] – 11/16/2011
Rep Kelly, Mike [R-PA-3] – 11/17/2011
Rep LaTourette, Steven C. [R-OH-14] – 12/1/2011
Rep McKinley, David B. [R-WV-1] – 11/22/2011
Rep Roe, David P. [R-TN-1] – 11/17/2011
Rep Rogers, Harold [R-KY-5] – 11/17/2011
Rep Rokita, Todd [R-IN-4] – 11/22/2011
Rep Shuster, Bill [R-PA-9] – 11/29/2011
Rep Stivers, Steve [R-OH-15] – 11/16/2011
Rep Tiberi, Patrick J. [R-OH-12] – 11/22/2011
Rep Young, Don [R-AK] – 11/22/2011

I had the opportunity to interview Congressman Johnson by phone this past week. He remains completely civil and focused, very well informed and ready to tackle the issue. His concerns over the impact of these warped regulations don’t come across as political, but a sincere effort to stave off yet another “kick in the gut” for this economy. For him, it’s all about the jobs and the strained budgets of struggling Americans who will have to pay the tab on all this.

There’s the facts. You should know what to do from here on out. Ohio will feel a tremendous negative impact from this back door maneuver, but they are hardly the only state which currently relies on coal for tens of thousands of jobs and a large percentage of its energy. A sudden upswing in utility prices and more people on the unemployment lines are precisely what we don’t need right now. Let’s get on this one.


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Republicans hate clean streams.

Akzed on July 13, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Typical Obama tactics….set up procedures to destroy an industry…namely the coal industry…destroy thousands of jobs and cost American citizens millions of dollars of waste and then throuw the guy who did your dirty work for you under the bus. Is there any horrible despicable deed this slimeball will not do to push his agenda?

logicman_1998 on July 13, 2012 at 10:10 AM

I was going t write a really sarcastic response, but decided to just say: Obozo – HE LIES.

And leave it at that.

KMC1 on July 13, 2012 at 10:11 AM

I think that the Obama administration’s literal war on fossil fuels is a great opportunity or the GOP to win over lower income Americans who are most harmed by anti-energy hostility. Energy s used directly by people in thir homes and cars but also indirectly as a cst input f everything they buy.

The eco-Marxists are purposely driving up the cost of everything for everyone. They need to be hammered relentlessly about it.

Charlemagne on July 13, 2012 at 10:14 AM

PA, WV, OH, KY… should all be red states this November.

Let’s hope they don’t pull a CA and commit suicide.

mankai on July 13, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Besides make our energy costs “Mainly skyrocket.”
Criminal enterprise!

Bambi on July 13, 2012 at 10:15 AM

This will get a lot of blowback from the greenie weenie movement.

It takes 1,450 tons of coal to make the steel for a monster wind gen tower and the rebar in it’s concrete base.

seven on July 13, 2012 at 10:18 AM

roscoe bartlett. good man. met him at his ofifce at one of the tea party deals in 2010. he’s my rep. a good man.

t8stlikchkn on July 13, 2012 at 10:19 AM

The hearing will examine 1) the current status of the proposed rewrite and the status of the court settlement agreement providing for the rewrite, and 2) the failure of the Department to comply to date with two subpoenas for documents on the rewrite.

…it’s just a “messaging” problem!

KOOLAID2 on July 13, 2012 at 10:20 AM

My career was in the steel industry. Started as common laborer and through self sacrifice and diligence was able to stay as such the rest of my career. But as dumb as I was it was very apparent that you don’t sit on energy as valuable as coal, natural gas or oil. Then wonder where the jobs are. Drill baby, DRILL!

Herb on July 13, 2012 at 10:23 AM

I wonder if people realize just how much electricity is generated from coal. When I listen to all the news stories of the horrible weather back east and how mayors are critical of the power companies for not getting the electricity returned, if people ever think of the implications of political moves such as this. It’s not just people in the coal producing states who will be affected, it’s all of us. When you plug in your computer or your iPod or your Blackberry for recharging or turn on your A/C, all that electricity has to come from somewhere. Most of it in this country comes from coal. Enviros may not like coal but it is what it is and it serves a purpose for now.

COgirl on July 13, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Here in TX they just raised the minimum base wholesale power cost, in an effort to boost construction of power plants, after admitting they don’t know what the effect of raising the rate will actually be, other that costing consumers. Oh goody.

Go coal – none of that sea-level raising water is produced!

tomg51 on July 13, 2012 at 10:25 AM

The ball is in the coal states court.Will they be sane or insane?

docflash on July 13, 2012 at 10:25 AM

I can’t believe, considering the impact, that they can’t get any Democrat sponsors.

Cindy Munford on July 13, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Actually several plant in TX were cancelled about two years ago, because the utilties thought they could make more money by not installing more capacity.
Now the state has a gift-horse, without them doing anything at all.

tomg51 on July 13, 2012 at 10:29 AM

PA, WV, OH, KY… should all be red states this November.

Let’s hope they don’t pull a CA and commit suicide.

mankai on July 13, 2012 at 10:14 AM

You forgot Indiana. We voted for oblamo too.

acyl72 on July 13, 2012 at 10:32 AM

Where do the “greenies” think the other end of their “clean” electric car goes?

RonRon on July 13, 2012 at 10:33 AM

Dismantling America, one constituency at a time.

paul1149 on July 13, 2012 at 10:34 AM

For the last two years at least, I’ve noticed a full sized billboard along I-64/77 in Beckley, W.Va. The title is Obama’s No-Jobs Zone and there is a drawing of the outlines of the states comprising the eastern coal belt.

There isn’t a lot of Democrat love in my home state like usual. I really hope they are waking up.

TugboatPhil on July 13, 2012 at 10:35 AM

Coal industry lay-offs are already starting to hit enmasse due to Lord 0′s clean air regulations he recently ratcheted down arbitrarily. Why is that not getting any press? Oh, yeah…those are icky people anyways that don’t drive Priuses, sip Starbucks, and wear Birkingstocks…I forgot.

Be afraid people as November can’t come fast enough. I work in the extractive industry (gold mining) and we are under full frontal attack by this administration. I hope we can survive ’till election day. If Obama wins, all 8500 people working the mines for my company here in Nevada are toast. Our company pumps over $1 Billion/yr into this region in operating consumables, materials, wages, and taxes. All poised to go buh-bye…

Wyznowski on July 13, 2012 at 10:36 AM

I think Romney is on to all this Cass Sunstein stuff and will roll back all the stupid regs they have decreed.

tim c on July 13, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Will the UMW continue to support the Dems? And where is the AFL-CIO?

Charlemagne on July 13, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Is The Won making the regulations so onerous that coal isn’t even viable as an export?

Cindy Munford on July 13, 2012 at 10:39 AM

Well, how do you expect the Bozo to get more people on food stamps if he does not destroy their jobs? /sarc

brtex on July 13, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Where are the rest of the R reps from Pennsylvania? I know right now fracking and natural gas is the big story here, but coal is still the mainstay, and they’d best not forget it.

Especially Mark Critz-D in PA-12 — in the time-honored tradition of the Dems pretending they support capitalism and free markets when they’re running for election, then carrying the Dems’ water once they’re in, he’d better take note if he wants to hold onto that seat.

Personally, I want him out of there anyway, but I’m a bit surprised he’s not on the list.

PatriotGal2257 on July 13, 2012 at 10:45 AM

“So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

http://hotair.com/archives/2008/11/02/obama-well-bankrupt-any-new-coal-plants/

davidk on July 13, 2012 at 10:45 AM

The ball is in the coal states court.Will they be sane or insane?

docflash on July 13, 2012 at 10:25 AM

I think that depends largely on whether they are informed or uninformed. Right now, the LSM is doing its best to keep them uninformed.

The Rogue Tomato on July 13, 2012 at 10:46 AM

My theory all along has been that the EPA’s desire to shut down coal fired midsized plants has caused issues with the power grid, especially long the East coast. The reason I say this is what my MENSA bright buddy mentioned months ago when the EPA was celebrating the hundredth coal plant to shut down. He said, “It will stop. The NSA won’t let them keep going.” He went on to explain what the conversation would sound like.

http://truthandcommonsense.com/2012/06/30/heres-a-thought-overtaxed-and-damaged-electrical-grid-fails-during-heat-wave-did-epa-closing-coal-fired-plants-have-anything-to-do-with-it/

Later I called and talked to an expert in the field, now retired, who agreed that if the sources of power are limited enough, the grid failure would take longer to fix.

http://truthandcommonsense.com/2012/07/05/still-dark-in-dc-where-is-lisa-jackson-when-you-need-her/

Here is how my buddy put it in his usual dry humorous way.

—My MENSA bright buddy explained what happened. As the radical Leftists were jumping for joy, a very serious group from the NSA sat down Jackson and said.

“You understand how electrical grids work right? There are only so many transmission lines with only so much capacity. They can be only rerouted only so many way. As you shut down the power sources, you are putting more and more strain on existing resources. What is going to happen is one day this summer somebody is going to turn on their AC unit and everything on the East coast is going to go dark. We at the NSA like electricity and the ability to keep things working. If the East Coast go black, we would consider that a national threat to security. Just saying.

Now understand, this will happen to states like Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, Virginia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Places that are usually supportive of Democrats. When the lights go out, the people will not be able to watch MSNBC or CNN. Instead, they will have to turn on their emergency AM radio to find out what happened. AM radio is dominated by conservative talk show hosts who will be more than happy to explain exactly what happened and who did it, during a critical election year.

Now if you want to continue shutting coal plants down, go ahead, we just wish you wouldn’t.”–

archer52 on July 13, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Jazz… here is the time for the oversite hearings on this:

COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES
1324 Longworth House Office Building
Thursday, July 19, 2012
10:00 a.m.

upinak on July 13, 2012 at 11:29 AM

archer52 on July 13, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Ha! Love your MENSA buddy’s description of what NSA would say. That type of conversation needs to happen regularly with the Marxists in the Administration.

PatriotGal2257 on July 13, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Looks like I’m going to have to wake up my Congress Critter to co-sponsor this H.R., too!!!!

Bob in VA on July 13, 2012 at 12:18 PM

. What is going to happen is one day this summer somebody is going to turn on their AC unit and everything on the East coast is going to go dark.

archer52 on July 13, 2012 at 11:20 AM

A much more likely scenario is that during a high peak load period with minimum reserves a large unit trips and the loss cannot be picked up causing another unit or two to trip and starting a cascade effect.

Oldnuke on July 13, 2012 at 1:33 PM

TRYING ….

pambi on July 13, 2012 at 2:33 PM

I mined coal for 12 years until the clean air act eliminated my job. The number one entity making contributions to the acid rain lobby was the Burlington Northern Railroad. They owned thousands of leases on western coal and made billions transporting that coal back east and passing the cost on to consumers. Always follow the money.

bluesdoc70 on July 13, 2012 at 3:05 PM

That type of conversation needs to happen regularly with the Marxists in the Administration.

PatriotGal2257 on July 13, 2012 at 11:36 AM

No, and emphatically no. The conversation that needs to take place with this Marxist Administration is, Do you want Animal tallow or Vegetable fat used to lubricate the Stout Hemp Rope we are going to hang your treasonous a$$ with…

SWalker on July 13, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Those “green” Government Motors Volts are more likely coal-sourced than any other fuel. It’s just that the smokestacks are probably in a neighborhood where people can’t afford $40K for an economy-size car.

Chickyraptor on July 13, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Where do the “greenies” think the other end of their “clean” electric car goes?

RonRon on July 13, 2012 at 10:33 AM

They don’t [think about it]. Or about the source of the plastics in the car. Or the russian strip mine the metals for the battery come from. Or the ‘carbon footprint’ of the car being manufactured on the other side of the planet and shipped here. The whole damned thing is a fraud of idiot intentions.

rayra on July 13, 2012 at 4:22 PM

Wow, looks like there too many Dhimmicraps in that sponsor list! … Oh, wait … my mistake … forgot my glasses.
Not a single one. Gee, I wonder if there are any Dem’s from say, PA, IL, WV, OH, it is a long list of perhaps 13 states. That’s 25% of them or only 22% if you use Obamugabemath (say, maybe that’s the reason for his ‘war on coal’?)
But, the biggest contributor WY has an IQ test for state residence and very few Dhimmicraps can pass it.

Missilengr on July 13, 2012 at 8:20 PM