Oversight Hearing Addresses Job Killing Impacts of Policies on Appalachian Coal Industry
(WASHINGTON)—A House Oversight panel heard testimony today that energy production and job creation in Appalachian states are being choked by a “permitorium” at the hands of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other agencies. This concerted campaign to restrict production approvals impacts a region that delivers one-third of all U.S. coal and hurts businesses, workers, suppliers and communities. The hearing titled “EPA’s Appalachian Energy Permitorium: Job Killer or Job Creator?” was held by Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) in the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs, Stimulus Oversight and Government Spending.
John M. Stilley, president of Pennsylvania-based Amerikohl Mining, Inc., told the committee that the coal industry was a major job creator and economic contributor to the state’s economy contributing some $7 billion in total economic benefit and employing 41,500 workers. “Frankly, EPA’s heightened scrutiny and overzealous regulation of coal mining in the past two years threaten the future economic viability of our industry,” he told the subcommittee.
Roger D. Horton a miner and labor leader told the committee he was “deeply concerned and troubled by the actions of the EPA with respect to mining permits in West Virginia and Appalachia,” as well as what he called EPA’s “open attack” on coal. He added, “These regulatory initiatives, coupled with the agency’s obstruction of mining permits, threatens to cripple the viability of Appalachia and West Virginia as a source of domestic energy….” Horton also noted that EPA’s actions were taken without regard to community and job impacts that depend on mining and related firms.
“I was honored to represent my home state of West Virginia at today’s hearing on the EPA’s Appalachian Energy Permitorium which is crippling economies throughout Appalachia. It’s time to take advantage of the resources found right here in America while weaving the balance between environmental protection and economic growth. Doing so will launch our economy in the right direction and create thousands of good-paying jobs,” stated Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) said, “With more than 14 million Americans out of work and millions more underemployed, now is not the time to impose job-destroying delays in the coal permitting process. Roughly one-third of the world’s coal lies beneath American soil. We need to harness this great natural resource so we can reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy and create jobs here at home. The Administration’s efforts to hamstring the coal industry at this critical point defies all logic.”
Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) said, “The stories told by these witnesses are not unique to Appalachia. Domestic energy supplies represent a massive job creation opportunity for our country as well as a reliable source of the cheap energy that is needed to help businesses and the economy grow. It’s time that this permitorium be exposed for what it is: a direct assault on working Americans and job creators.”