Rogers Demands Answers for Continued Mining Permit Delays
Feb 27 -
Today, during an Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee hearing with the U.S. Corps of Engineers, U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05), Chairman of the full House Appropriations Committee, pressed for answers on why the Corps has continued to delay issuing individual mining permits. After a federal judge struck down the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) so-called “Enhanced Coordination Process" last year, sole authority over the issuance of Clean Water Act Section 404 permits was restored to the Corps of Engineers. However, despite these developments, there has been no apparent end to the deadlock in the permitting process and according to coal industry sources, contributed to the loss of more than 2,000 southern and eastern Kentucky coal mining jobs.
Photo cutline: Rogers speaking at the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee hearing with U.S. Corps of Engineers General Thomas Bostick and Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo Ellen Darcy.
“In particular, I expect some explanation for why the Corps continues to drag its feet in issuing mining permits under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. This continued deadlock is shuttering mines and adding thousands to unemployment lines in Kentucky and throughout Appalachia. Both the Congress, led by this Subcommittee, and the federal courts have lambasted the Corps for allowing continued EPA interference into the regulatory process. With the NMA v. Jackson court decision striking down the EPA’s so-called “Enhanced Coordination Process” as illegal once and for all, we have returned to the status quo where the Corps has sole authority over 404 permits. Without further EPA meddling, the Corps should be off to the races approving permits and putting miners back to work. And yet, almost a year and a half after that court decision loosened the reins, there’s been almost no change. I urge you to explain what is causing this delay – is it further political interference designed to kill coal, or just mere incompetence?”
--U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers
To view the full text of Congressman Rogers opening statement at the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee hearing click here
To listen to the audio of Congressman Rogers opening statement at the Energy and Water Appropriations Subcomittee hearing click here
Rogers has served Kentucky’s 5th Congressional District since 1981. With a focus on economic development, job creation, fighting illegal drugs and preserving Appalachia’s natural treasures, he has a reputation for listening to his constituents and fighting for the region he represents. For more information, visit http://halrogers.house.gov/ or follow Rogers on Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/RepHalRogers or on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/#!/CongressmanHalRogers.