By Representative Bill Johnson and Shelley Moore Capito
President Obama's war on coal is real. Don't believe us? Come to Brilliant, Ohio or Clay, West Virginia and we'll show you coal mines that were closed as a result of President Obama's assault on hardworking Americans who work in the coal industry. Coal is a cheap, abundant, and reliable source of power. Almost 90% of Ohio's power comes from coal and just across the Ohio River in West Virginia, over 95% of its power comes from coal. Needless to say, coal plays a vital role in not only powering the Buckeye and Mountain states, but coal generates nearly half of America's electricity. So why would President Obama want to destroy such a vital part of America's economy?
President Obama's war on coal is nothing new. Even before President Obama took the oath of office, he was pretty clear with his plans for America's coal industry. In 2008, then-candidate Obama said to the San Francisco Chronicle, "So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It's just that it will bankrupt them." If there's one thing we can say about the Obama Administration, when it comes to assaulting the coal industry, its actions match its words.
Since taking office, President Obama and his extreme EPA have issued new rules and regulations that are crippling the coal industry. In the weeks following President Obama's inauguration, his administration was already in the process of rewriting the Stream Buffer Zone Rule -- a rule that took 5 years to codify under the previous administration. President Obama's rewrite of this one rule would cost tens of thousands of direct and indirect coal jobs.
New and costly regulations on coal-fired power plants are on their way. This "Train Wreck" of new EPA regulations has already caused companies like AEP and FirstEnergy to close coal-fired power plants throughout Ohio and the East costing jobs in places where unemployment is staggering. Also, President Obama's EPA has taken actions to classify coal ash as a hazardous material. Coal ash is used in drywall, concrete, and even bowling balls. There's no denying that we want clean air and clean water. But the President's policies in no way balance protecting the environment with protecting jobs.
House Republicans have a solution to help save the coal jobs. The Stop the War on Coal Act, H.R. 3409, is a vital step forward to stopping President Obama's war on coal. This legislation is part of the House Republican plan to create jobs and grow America's economy by creating jobs through energy development. It stops onerous regulations that are based on politics and ensures once and for all that the Administration must consider the economic impact of new rules and regulations. Ending President Obama's war on coal is a top priority for both of us and we will stop at nothing until we win this war.
Moore Capito represents the 2nd Congressional District of West Virginia. Johnson represents the 6th Congressional District of Ohio.