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Floor Speech

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Location: Washington, DC

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STOP THE WAR ON COAL

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 5, 2011, the gentlewoman from West Virginia (Mrs. Capito) is recognized until 10 p.m. as the designee of the majority leader.

Mrs. CAPITO. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

We have 10 minutes here, and I am very proud to be here tonight to talk about a bill that is on the floor on Friday, and that is the Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012. I hail from the great State of West Virginia, one of the largest coal-producing States in this Nation. Quite frankly, I am here for three reasons.

The first reason is that I am extremely concerned about the job loss and the economic devastation that this war on coal is having on our State of West Virginia. We had really sad news just yesterday. Alpha Coal announced that 1,200 coal mining jobs in the region were going to be cut. Now, that sounds like a lot of jobs, but then when you think about it, that's 1,200 families, and that's 1,200 men and women who will come home tonight and who came home last night. So we say we're going to have to do something.

And why is it? We don't have enough time to get into all of the details, but I do think it is part and parcel of the regulatory environment of this administration, that it's the philosophy of this administration that coal is not good for the country, and it's a lack of education, really, on the acknowledgment of the base load energy that coal brings to this Nation.

I am here to stand up for the families and businesses that are going to see a rise in their electric bills. I am also here for the reliability of the electric grid to make sure that we have affordable energy.

I would like to bring my friend from Pennsylvania in. We've been waiting a while. The Stop the War on Coal Act is coming up on Friday, which the President's energy plan is destroying, if you can even call it a plan. I mean, we're from an all-of-the-above plan. We've worked together on this, Mr. Murphy and I. We've already lost over 2,000 jobs, and 55 units are going to retire across America, in large part, due to EPA rules and regulations. How many jobs is that? These Boiler MACT rules, these Utility MACT rules, coal ash rules are all job killers.

I would like to yield to the gentleman from Pennsylvania, since we're on limited time, and ask him to give his perspectives on what we know is a war on coal.

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Mrs. CAPITO. I agree. I think carbon capture and sequestration holds great promise, but we've got to make sure that we've got the technology available so that we can elongate the life of coal.

Contained within the bill we're going to vote on on Friday is something that I've been concerned about now for years, which is of this administration's inability or reluctance or that it will not even consider the job and economic impact of the decisions they're making. We've passed bill after bill here, saying to the EPA and to the President, Mr. President, you've got to weave a balance between the economy and the environment. You've got to look at what the job and economic impact of these small towns and counties will be.

Let's talk about what's happening to the county school systems. When these four coal mines shut down in West Virginia, we have a severance tax. That severance tax goes to pay the counties, and a lot of that money goes to the education of those children. What's going to happen? Who is going to fill that gap? Who considered

that when they made the decisions to make it impossible to get a permit? to make it impossible to mine the coal? to make it impossible to burn the coal?

I mean, we're cutting off our nose to spite our face. That's an old and tired term, but if we don't have a base load, cheap energy and an abundant energy source--and you and I are both from States that have a lot of natural gas. We're all for natural gas. We want the abundance of natural gas, and we realize the low price of natural gas is part of what's feeding into this. We need an all-of-the-above plan that must contain clean coal and efficient coal.

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Mrs. CAPITO. I want to thank you for joining me tonight at this late hour. I have just a few more minutes left, and I'd like to spend a little bit of time on what I think is a large overreach on the part of EPA into making law where Congress should be making the law.

We should be deciding how to legislate on the Clean Water Act. We should be deciding how to legislate on the Clean Air Act. We should be deciding how to move forward on permitting in our Nation because we consider jobs and the economy across party lines, and those are important considerations for a lot of the bills we put forward.

But this administration has decided to do an end around. They're making regulation after regulation. And what has happened? The Federal courts have said on at least two or three different occasions--and maybe more--that this administration is in an area where they don't belong. It's a legislative area. It's not a regulatory area. It's an area that needs to be addressed through legislation by the Congress because that's the proper place for these decisions to be made.

So I hope that the President is listening, and I hope his administration is listening because, with thousands of jobs lost, higher electric bills, less reliable energy, fewer manufacturing jobs, this all feeds into an over 8 percent unemployment--folks who have quit looking and others who have given up.

If we don't have a full-out energy plan that includes everything and our most basic and our longest living energy resource--coal--and use the properties there and enhance them through research and development, we are going to find ourselves with over 8 percent unemployment, and we are going to find communities wiped out. States like mine--that are 95 percent reliant on coal production for our electricity--are going to be severely disadvantaged. I don't want to live in a country where the regulatory environment and the President are picking winners and losers across this country, and that's what has happened.

So I look forward to joining my colleague in voting for this bill on Friday. I thank you very much, and I thank the staff for staying so late, too.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.


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