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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Thompson Challenges Obama Administration’s Rewrite of Coal Regulation

Thompson Challenges Obama Administration’s Rewrite of Coal Regulation
New federal rule could cost 220,000 jobs in the Appalachia region alone
Washington, D.C. – The House Natural Resources Committee today held an oversight hearing on the status of the Obama Administration’s rewrite of a sweeping coal regulation known as the Stream Buffer Zone Rule, during which U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson questioned Joseph Pizarchik, Director, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), on the lack of transparency governing of the rulemaking process and the potential for huge economic losses under the new regulation.

“This entire process has lacked transparency and failed to even consider the full impact that this regulation will have upon local economies in Pennsylvania and across the country,” Thompson stated.

For over two years, the Committee has conducted an ongoing investigation into the Obama Administration’s rewrite of the Rule.  The OSM is the chief federal office in charge of the Rule’s rewrite.

The Committee released a report on the issue last year, which detailed the rushed and unorthodox rulemaking process at the OSM, including attempts to conceal the Rule’s full economic impacts.  Specifically, the report found that between 133,441 and 273,227 jobs are at risk as a result of this proposed rule; with between 55,120 and 79,870 losses in direct mining jobs.  Furthermore, the report found that as many as 220,000 jobs are at risk in the Appalachia region alone as a consequence of the proposed rule. 

“The conduct of OSM is emblematic of the Obama Administration’s complete disregard for the health of our economy,” Thompson added. “This White House will stop at no end to bend the rules and assault the coal industry along with the millions of jobs it supports.”

The Interior Department has largely stonewalled the Committee’s investigation into the rewrite of the coal regulation and failed to comply with multiple subpoenas for specific documents.

Thompson pressed Director Pizarchik on the OSM’s “plan for seeking input from State cooperating agencies between now and the time the stream protection rule’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is published for public comment in 2014.”

Director Pizarchik, the chief officer in charge of the rewrite, which began in 2008, stated he does not believe there have been any contacts during the last year with States or other cooperating agencies.  

DOI regulations require that OSM collaborate “to the fullest extent possible” with all cooperating agencies, including States.

“Have the cooperating agencies been provided with the new draft alternatives that OSM is considering?” Thompson added.  Director Pizarchik was unaware of any such communications.

DOI regulations also require that OSM collaborate with cooperating agencies “at the earliest possible time,” so that all stakeholders can evaluate the rule and consider possible alternatives.  


Thompson exchanges with OSM Director Pizarchik:
Video 1:  Click here
Video 2: Click here

3 comments :

Anonymous said...

These really aren't "hearings". All the politicians have preconceived notions of right and wrong and are ideologically inflexible. Just a lot of PR, grandstanding, and bashing one another. I don't think GT knows anything about Appalachia and what the negative affects of coal have been. He presents just one side, which is to be expected, and is just too boring to pay attention to any longer.

Anonymous said...

The coal industry only has 174,000 employees. Something about this study smells like crap. Thompson please show how much money you get from the coal industry lobby.

Anonymous said...

Hey Thompson, want to help secure these quarter of a million jobs?

Bring back the millions of manufacturing jobs your lot sent overseas.

But you don't do that do you?
That is, what is best for America.

You just jump up and down and feign victimization when your campaign contributors start to feel political heat.