Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act (H.R. 3409)
Status: Passed the House on September 21, 2012 with a bipartisan vote of 233-175. Awaits consideration by the Senate.
September 14, 2012 -
The Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Bill Johnson (OH-06), will protect American jobs and support U.S. energy production by prohibiting the Secretary of the Interior from issuing new rules or regulations that will adversely impact mining jobs and our economy.
The Obama Administration’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) is conducting a sweeping rewrite of a coal mining regulation (the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule) that will cost jobs and decrease American energy production.
The Administration discarded a rule that underwent five years of environmental review and public comment; entered into a court agreement with environmental groups to rewrite the rule in an unachievable time frame; spent millions of taxpayer dollars and hired new contractors to do the rewrite; fired the contractors when the news media revealed that their analysis showed the revision would cost 7,000 jobs and economic harm in 22 states; attempted to manipulate data to conceal the true economic impact; and is now hiding its final rule from the public until after the election.
The Natural Resources Committee has been conducting a more than yearlong investigation into why this rewrite was initiated, whether proper procedures are being followed and the economic costs of the proposed regulation. The Department has failed to meet a single deadline for document requests and is now flouting two Congressional subpoenas for further information.
The Administration should stop all work on this devastating regulation until they are willing to comply, in full, with the outstanding subpoenas and allow Congress to conduct meaningful oversight into their questionable process.
Specifically, the Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act will prohibit the Secretary of the Interior from issuing regulations under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act that will:
Adversely impact U.S. coal mining employment;
Cause a reduction in coal revenue to governments through regulation of coal mining;
Reduce the amount of coal available for domestic consumption or export;
Designate any area as unsuitable for surface coal mining and reclamation operations;
Expose the U.S. to liability for taking the value of privately owned coal through regulation.
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