U.S. Representative Glenn 'GT' Thompson today voted to support H.R. 3409, the Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act, a package bills that protect American jobs and support U.S. energy production. The measure passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 233-175.
"This legislation will end overly burdensome regulations that are destroying jobs and business expansion across the commonwealth, guard against higher electricity rates for consumers, and promote states' rights when it comes to environmental protections," said Rep. Thompson.
Thompson serves on the House Natural Resources Committee, one of three committees with jurisdiction over the legislation, in addition to the House Energy and Commerce and House Transportation and Infrastructure Committees.
Joined by coal workers from across the country, members of all three committees, including Thompson, held a press conference before passage of H.R. 3409, to discuss the Obama Administration's regulatory assault on jobs and affordable electricity.
The day before, Thompson delivered a speech on the issue, outlining the need for this legislation, given the recent coal plant closures and employee layoffs across the 5th congressional district, including an announcement this week by Alpha Natural Resources for closures of a mine in Dora, Jefferson County, Pa.
"This week American workers lost their jobs and domestic energy production took yet another blow from this Administration's heavy-handed, authoritarian regulatory regime. These layoffs could have been prevented," Rep. Thompson added.
Alpha Natural Resources officials cited "a regulatory environment that's aggressively aimed at constraining the use of coal," in announcing the decision. The closures will result in layoffs of 1,200 workers and an immediate 400 jobs lost in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
"The fact that the coal industry is facing tough times isn't news. They have other energy competitors, including natural gas, and challenges with coal transport costs, energy, and labor costs," Rep. Thompson continued. "The issue that's newsworthy is the additional burdens being placed on American employers during such tough economic times."
During the speech, Thompson also discussed the House's plans to pass H.R. 3049: "Americans deserve an energy policy that will protect family sustaining jobs that are helping communities survive in a tough economy, one that keeps America strong and builds our competitiveness. That's what we plan to provide. Passage of H.R. 3049 is another step in that effort."
H.R. 3049 would limit the executive branch's ability to issue coal regulations; require regulatory analysis and a cumulative cost analysis of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules; and prohibit the EPA from issuing a new or revised water quality standard when a state standard has already been approved by the EPA.