During the EPA budget hearing, Rogers shared his disappointment in EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy's proposal to increase the agency's budget by $4 billion to implement and litigate the greenhouse gas regulations that are shuttering power plants all over the country and causing coal mines to close their doors.
"I simply cannot accept a 6% increase in your funding when, by all accounts, the EPA is still working hard to eliminate more steady, well-paying jobs in the coal industry," said Chairman Rogers. "This Administration's attack on the coal industry has left 9,000 miners jobless in eastern Kentucky just since the President took office."
Referencing the President's proposed POWER + Plan to assist devastated coal communities in the Appalachian region, Chairman Rogers applauded the fact that the Administration is finally taking ownership of the job losses in coal country, but said it should be coupled with regulatory relief.
"The President is missing the point: for centuries, this country has run on coal. Businesses large and small rely on cheap, reliable energy to remain competitive, and drawn-out rulemaking processes and bureaucratic overreach create uncertainty that will raise energy costs and threaten American jobs," said Chairman Rogers.
Rogers also criticized Dr. Ernest Moniz, Secretary of the Department of Energy for requesting astronomical budget increases that neglect critical investments in fossil energy research.
"We need to pursue an all-of-the-above energy strategy. Every year, this Administration sends budget cuts for coal-related research and development, while Congress sends a clear message by restoring those cuts," said Chairman Rogers. "There's no denying that the Energy Department's massive regulatory requirements are pushing the coal industry to its limits."
During a budget hearing with Secretary Sally Jewell from the Department of Interior, Rogers urged the Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement to adhere to federal law by working with the states in its efforts to protect the nation's waterways. He also shared his opposition to the Administration's continued efforts to rewrite the 2008 stream buffer zone rule in a way that would force the Appalachian coal industry to close its doors.
"I've got able-bodied young men, formerly making $70,000 to $80,000 a year and now they're trying to get a job at McDonald's. They have young kids, they have mortgages to pay. They're great workers with the best work ethic in America," said Chairman Rogers. "Now, they are being shoved out the door, unfortunately, by their own government and it isn't right."
The Chairman also discussed the Administration’s negative attitudes towards coal exports with U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry.
“Coal exports are the one bright spot for the thousands of mining families who are facing disastrous economic conditions in my district – and yet Administration officials will not promote coal as part of its Power Africa Initiative,” said Chairman Rogers. “These emerging countries ripe for investment will instead turn to the Chinese for financing and technology to build the same coal-fired power plants. At the end of the day, these policies are anti-American jobs, and they will not have the intended environmental benefits.”
Rogers also led 26 members of Congress in joint letter of opposition to the Administration's efforts to encourage members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) to impose stringent conditions on public financing of overseas coal-fired power plants. The Administration recently made similar efforts to restrict coal project financing through Export-Import Bank and the World Bank.
Click the links below to watch each budget hearing:
Environmental Protection Agency - Opening Statement at 13:50/Questions at 27:00
Department of Energy - Opening Statement at 30:30/Questions at 41:30
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 or on Facebook.####