Special to the Enterprise
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Congressman Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) has opposed an amendment offered to the Fiscal Year 2013 Interior and EPA Appropriations Bill that could inflict more job-killing regulations on the coal industry and establish costly new standards. Specifically, the amendment would have removed a funding prohibition in the underlying bill that prevents the Office of Surface Mining from issuing a new Stream Protection Rule. The amendment was defeated 19 to 28 during Full Committee mark-up of this spending bill.
Despite having been painstakingly rewritten in 2008, the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) has recently proposed to revamp the Stream Protection (or Stream Buffer Zone) Rule, including even stricter and more costly regulations for coal operators. If this rule proceeds as drafted, OSM could block as much as 43 percent of the country’s recoverable coal resources, potentially putting over 200,000 coal-related jobs at risk throughout Appalachia. While coal currently supplies 42 percent of the U.S. electricity supply, further regulations such as this new Stream Protection Rule would increase electric bills for working families and U.S. factories, as well as put more Kentucky mining jobs in jeopardy. The amendment was rejected by the Appropriations Committee, preventing the OSM from moving forward with this new job-killing regulation.
Rogers has been a long supporter of coal mining families and coal communities and continues to be a strong voice in Congress for achieving American energy independence through the use of our nation’s natural resources.