Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, both R-Wyo., are standing up for coal and energy workers across Wyoming and the country. They joined Senator Dan Coats, R-Ind., and other energy state senators yesterday in introducing legislation that would protect the jobs of thousands of hard-working Americans and stop abusive and unnecessary regulations.
The Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act, would prevent the Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining (OSM) from rewriting the current stream buffer zone rule or “Stream Protection Rule.” After an extensive five-year process that included 40,000 public comments, two proposed rules and 5,000 pages of environmental analysis from five agencies, the rule was updated in 2008. In contrast, to date the administration has not provided any evidence or data to justify a change to the rule.
“Coal powers our nation, employs thousands of hard working people, and helps drive our economy,” said Enzi. “Sensible rules mean job creation, energy production, and protecting the environment don’t have to be mutually exclusive. The proposed rule changes by this Administration are more about stopping energy production than they are about protecting the environment. Current rules already do that. I suggest the folks in Washington take a trip out to Wyoming and actually see what they’re unnecessarily trying to regulate and how it will affect our local communities. A picture is worth a thousand words, but going somewhere is worth a thousand pictures. I’m sure they would learn more from a miner then they ever could behind a desk on the other side of the country.”
“The Administration continues to try to regulate coal producers out of existence," said Barrasso. "The Department of the Interior’s decision to rewrite stream regulations is expected to cost thousands of coal mining jobs across the country. By preventing the Department from issuing these regulations, this bill will help keep Americans employed, our local economies strong, and our nation more energy secure.”
According to the Obama administration’s own estimates, the new regulation could cost up to 7,000 coal mining jobs and negatively impact local economies in 22 states. A recent study found that a revised “Stream Protection Rule” from this administration would:
· Jeopardize between 133,441 and 273,227 direct mining and mining-related jobs, with the Appalachia region facing the largest losses;
· Effectively eliminate between 30.4 percent and 41.5 percent of recoverable resources from both surface and underground mines;
· Decrease the annual production value of coal between $14 billion and $20 billion; and
· Eliminate between $4 billion and $5 billion in annual tax revenue to the federal and state governments. States and tribes would also lose substantial coal lease revenues from production royalties and lease bonus bids.
Co-sponsors of the bill include: Senators Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), James Risch (R-Idaho), David Vitter (R-La.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).