U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is cosponsoring bipartisan legislation designed to limit the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) power over coal mine permits. Specifically, the legislation would stop the EPA from preemptively and retroactively vetoing permits--agency activities which are currently having a negative impact on job creation and job retention in Coal Country.
This pro-jobs legislation stems from the EPA revocation of a Clean Water Act permit in 2011 that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had awarded years earlier at West Virginia's Spruce Mine No. 1 of Mingo Logan Coal Co. a subsidiary of Arch Coal Inc., which has mines across the country including eastern Kentucky.
"We need to restrict the EPA from revoking permits and putting countless Kentucky jobs on the line whenever they so choose and this legislation will do just that," Senator McConnell said.
"This unprecedented action by the EPA of revoking the Spruce mine permit in WV was not only watched closely by those of us connected to Kentucky coal, but also by anyone whose livelihood depends on a federal permit," said Bill Bissett, President of the Kentucky Coal Association. "We appreciate Leader McConnell's sponsorship of this bipartisan legislation that prevents the EPA from revoking existing permits and protects jobs in mining, agriculture and many other sectors of our economy.