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Subcommittee to Examine Obama Administration's Effort to Write New Coal Mining Regulation and the Ultimate Cost to Taxpayers
OSM Director Pizarchik to Testify

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 6, 2012 - Today, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing on the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s (OSM) Fiscal Year 2013 budget. The hearing will also be an opportunity to focus on the Obama Administration’s actions to initiate a rewrite of coal mining regulations that direct analysis by contractors hired to conduced the rewrite say could cost up to 7,000 direct coal mining jobs and cause economic harm to 22 states across the country. A recent study by ENVIRON calculate that over 55,000 directing mining jobs and more than 270,000 total jobs could be at risk as a result of the implementation of this proposed rule.

At the hearing, Committee Members will question OSM Director Joe Pizarchik, who testified in front of the Committee in October 2011 on the potential job losses caused by the new coal regulation.

There are numerous questions that need to be answered about the Obama Administration’s proposed regulation:

  • How much taxpayer money has been spent on rewriting this rule?
  • How much more taxpayer money is needed to finish the rewrite?
  • When is the rule expected to be finished?
  • What will the impact be coal miners, the overall U.S. economy and the cost of life for Americans that depend on coal for energy?

Background:

  • For the past year, the Committee has conducted an investigation into the Obama’s Administration’s rewrite of coal regulations. The Administration has failed to fully comply with repeated requests for documents from the Committee looking into why this rewrite was initiated, whether the rewrite of the rule is being properly managed, whether political implications of the new regulations are unduly influencing the process, and the economic impacts of the new regulations. In January, 2012 a final request was sent to the Administration to comply with the Committee’s document request. The Administration’s sweeping new rewrites could cost thousands of American jobs and decrease American energy production.
  • On February 29, 2011 the House Natural Resources Committee passed H.R. 3409, the Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act with a bipartisan vote of 26-18. The legislation prohibits the Secretary of the Interior from approving any new rules or regulations that could adversely impact employment in coal mines, cause a reduction in federal, state or tribal revenue from coal mining, or diminish the ability of the American people to produce coal.
  • In September 2011, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a field hearing in Charleston, West Virginia where they heard from a bipartisan coalition of local community members, union members and elected officials who opposed the Obama Administration assault on coal mining jobs through the rewrite of the Stream Buffer Zone Rule.
  • In November 2011, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held a legislative hearing on H.R. 3409 where they heard valuable testimony about communications between the Obama Administration’s Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) and the contractor and subcontractors regarding the economic impact of the Administration’s proposed coal regulations

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Contact: Jill Strait, Spencer Pederson or Crystal Feldman 202-226-9019

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