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Public Statements

Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I yield myself as much time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, in his 2008 campaign, President Obama plainly declared the policies he supports would bankrupt American coal production. Since taking office, the Obama administration has waged a multi-front war on coal, on coal jobs, on the small businesses in the mining supply chain, and on the low cost energy that millions of Americans rely on.

Mr. Chairman, amazingly the Obama administration has repeatedly tried to deny that they've launched a war on coal, yet the facts are stubborn things. Just this week, Alpha Natural Resources announced the closure of 8 coal mines that will cost over 1,200 good-paying jobs. Aggressive regulations were specifically cited by the company for the closure of these mines.

New regulations opposed by the Obama EPA threaten to shut down the Navajo Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant in Arizona. This would cost hundreds of jobs and eliminate millions of dollars in revenue for Navajo tribal economic development, education, and basic services.

These lost jobs aren't random events. They are the direct result of the policies and actions of the Obama administration. These are the outcomes of their regulatory war on coal.

For more than a year and a half, the Natural Resources Committee has been aggressively investigating one of the Obama administration's most covert but outrageous fronts in this war--a decision by the Interior Department to rapidly rewrite a regulation governing coal mining near streams.

Within days of taking office, the Obama administration simply threw out the Stream Buffer Zone Rule that had undergone 5 years of environmental analysis and public review. They used a short-circuited process to hire a contractor to write this new regulation. When the news media revealed the official analysis of this rewrite and of the new Obama regulation showing that it would cost 7,000 jobs and cause economic harm in 22 States, the administration fired the contractor and continued to charged ahead.

To date, the committee's investigation has exposed gross mismanagement of the rulemaking process, potential political interference, and the widespread economic harm this regulation would cause. The Interior Department refuses to comply with congressional subpoenas to produce documents and information that would fully reveal how and why this regulation was being rewritten. An interim report by the committee was issued today that details the specific findings and information uncovered in this investigation. The report is available at the committee's Web site at naturalresources√ź.house.gov.

Mr. Chairman, it's not a matter of if the new Obama regulation will be imposed, but when. Television cameras overheard President Obama whispering to the Russian Prime Minister that he will have more flexibility after the election. It doesn't take a canary in the coal mine--no pun intended--to figure out the Interior Department's new Stream Buffer Zone regulation on coal is being held back and concealed until after the November election, which is when this President would have more flexibility to unleash its job-destroying impacts.

That's why Congress must act now to stop this. This new regulation must be halted. Title I of today's bill, the Stop the War on Coal Act, is authored by our colleague from Ohio (Mr. Johnson), and it prohibits the Obama administration from issuing this new regulation. It allows time to responsibly undertake an open, transparent rulemaking that fairly accounts for job and economic impacts.

President Obama's war on coal is real. The lost jobs are already happening, and thousands more are at risk. Americans' energy costs are already too high, and the war on coal will drive them even higher. So I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and from all regions in the country to support this bill and to stop these red tape attacks on American jobs and on American-made energy.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. I yield myself the balance of my time, and I will do my best to capsulize.

Mr. Chairman, it was the President, when he was a candidate, that said that his policies, if enacted, would cost coal jobs.

For nearly 4 years we have seen evidence of that, and the latest example of that was when Alpha Coal Company laid off 1,200 people, citing the regulations that the President said he would promulgate. This is a good bill. I urge its adoption.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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