Today, during a budget hearing for fiscal year 2017 with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) questioned EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy about the Obama Administration’s War on Coal.
"Good [coal] jobs are disappearing day by day, and we know that onerous regulations coming out of [EPA] are largely to blame,” Rogers stated. “I have to imagine that you understand how these regulations have led to many counties in my district grappling with 15% unemployment. But can you honestly imagine what it must be like for a miner whose father, and his father before him, all supported their families through this honorable profession – to suddenly be handed a pink slip with no employment prospects in sight?"
Describing EPA’s regulations as a part of a single-minded agenda to kill coal in this country, Rogers expressed his frustration that the Administrator would request additional funding for the Administration’s War on Coal despite the fact that coal represents approximately 40% of the nation’s energy consumption.
“Employers rely on the reliable, affordable energy provided by the coal industry to stay competitive in this challenging economic environment. Households in every state depend on this cheap energy source to keep their bills low and their lights on when the unexpected occurs. Distorting the market to ensure that coal cannot compete with more expensive and less reliable commodities is a losing strategy for economic recovery and energy independence,” said Rogers.
Since 2009, more than 10,000 coal miners have been laid off in Eastern Kentucky alone. Rogers blamed the agency's overreaching regulations for decimating the economy of small communities in the Appalachian region, forcing businesses to lay off workers or file for bankruptcy.
Rogers scolded McCarthy for requesting an additional $50 million in taxpayer dollars to fund the agency's anti-coal campaign and so-called Clean Power Plan, even though the Supreme Court has ordered a stay of the rule.
"I have seen conflicting reports regarding the deadlines for state actions that were included in the final rule," stated Rogers. "My understanding is that the Justice Department, in opposing the stay, advised that the deadlines would be delayed for the duration of the stay. However, Acting Assistant Administrator McCabe recently indicated that the deadlines may remain in effect."
Rogers asked McCarthy for assurance that the EPA will delay the deadlines in the rule until the Court's have issued final decisions.
Click here to watch the EPA budget hearing.