Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

House Republicans Use Fear Mongering In Fight for Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining

Energy

Appalachian Voices

By Thom Kay

A lopsided legislative hearing held by the House Natural Resources committee last Friday is further proof that fans of mountaintop removal mining aren’t giving up without a fight.

The hearing focused on legislation recently introduced by Rep. Johnson (R-OH), a proud coal industry advocate, and Rep. Lamborn (R-CO), a pro-coal congressman in his own right.

With the catchy title Preventing Government Waste and Protecting Coal Jobs in America (PGWPCJA), H.R. 2824 would stop the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) from writing a rule to protect streams from excessive coal mining pollution. Instead, the bill would require OSM to implement the flawed 2008 Stream Buffer Zone rule and prevent the agency from improving that rule for a minimum of seven years.

Johnson and the bill’s proponents claim to be protecting coal jobs and stopping OSM from spending “untold millions” of dollars more on the current rule-making, which is already four years underway. Johnson even stated during Friday’s hearing that OSM has a “clear desire to shut down the coal industry in Appalachia.”

There are plenty of problems with Johnson’s reasoning, but the point that cannot be emphasized enough is that no proposed rule has been made public. A shoddy analysis of an early draft was leaked to the public two years ago, but that is the last information any of us—Rep. Johnson included—have access to. Until a rule is officially proposed, all claims of job losses are premature at best. On Capitol Hill, such claims are being perpetrated by those guilty of fear mongering for political points.

Fortunately, for the second time in two weeks Rep. Huffman (D-CA) was the voice of truth and reason in a discussion otherwise devoid of either. His opening comments told the real story:

The bill we’re discussing here today would stop the Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining from adopting a new rule to protect the people of Appalachia from destructive mountaintop removal mining. That’s the term that the majority doesn’t like to use, but that’s what the practice and this bill are all about: mountaintop removal mining.

I was tempted to copy and paste Huffman’s opening statements here in lieu of a blog post. He accurately explains the bill and why Appalachian communities need more protection from mountaintop removal mining. He finished his statement with one last truth bomb:

They believe coal companies should be allowed to blow the tops off mountains and dump the waste into streams, no matter what the science says about the consequence for our environment and the public health. This legislation should be opposed.

We wholeheartedly agree.

Visit EcoWatch’s MOUNTAINTOP REMOVAL page for more related news on this topic.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Workers convert the Scottish Events Campus, where COP26 was to be held, into a field hospital to treat COVID-19 patients. ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP via Getty Images

The most important international climate talks since the Paris agreement was reached in 2015 have been delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
An aerial view of a crude oil storage facility of Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) in the Krasnodar Territory. Vitaly Timkiv / TASS / Getty Images

Oil rigs around the world keep pulling crude oil out of the ground, but the global pandemic has sent shockwaves into the market. The supply is up, but demand has plummeted now that industry has ground to a halt, highways are empty, and airplanes are parked in hangars.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Examples (from left) of a lead pipe, a corroded steel pipe and a lead pipe treated with protective orthophosphate. U.S. EPA Region 5

Under an agreement negotiated by community groups — represented by NRDC and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project — the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will remove thousands of lead water pipes by 2026 in order to address the chronically high lead levels in the city's drinking water and protect residents' health.

Read More Show Less
ROBYN BECK / AFP / Getty Images

By Dave Cooke

So, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and trucks. Even with the economy at the brink of a recession, they went forward with a policy they know is bad for consumers — their own analysis shows that American drivers are going to spend hundreds of dollars more in fuel as a result of this stupid policy — but they went ahead and did it anyway.

Read More Show Less

By Richard Connor

A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.

Read More Show Less