Welcomes Kentucky Coal Operator to Testify
Mar 18 2015
U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05) continued questions on the Obama Administration's anti-coal policies and job-killing regulations this week on Capitol Hill.
In a joint-letter to U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, Rogers and U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins (WV-03) expressed concerns about the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement's (OSM) efforts to develop a sweeping and unnecessary revised stream buffer zone rule. The letter sites mismanagement within the agency and a lack of transparency with coal producing states during the stream buffer zone rulemaking process.
"We are dismayed that this massive regulatory rewrite has occurred largely in secret, without any meaningful communication with state regulators who will ultimately be responsible for adopting and implementing these new federal standards," write the Congressmen. "The states have expressed serious concerns regarding the economic consequences of this massive rewrite. In fact, this rule threatens as many as 270,000 jobs across 22 states."
In a budget hearing with U.S. Department of Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, Chairman Rogers scolded the agency's proposal for a 28% increase in its budget for fiscal year 2016, and specifically questioned its new Green Climate Fund.
"I have serious concerns about the Administration's position on coal-fired power generation in developing countries. The President's politically driven anti-coal, environmental policies have wreaked havoc domestically, sending tens of thousands of hard-working Americans to the unemployment lines and casting into question our country's long-term energy security," said Rogers. "Coal exports are the one bright spot for the thousands of mining families who are facing disastrous economic conditions in my district."
World energy demand continues to rise with 90% of increased energy demand driven by the needs of developing countries. China and India alone will account for more than 50% of the total increase between now and 2030, and these countries together account for 9% and 5% of U.S. coal exports respectively. Rogers questioned how the Administration expects to meet demands without coal being part of the equation for low-cost energy.
"In essence, you've said, 'We can't mine coal, we can't burn coal, and now we are going to eliminate the international markets for us to export coal,'" said Rogers.
During a witness hearing before the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, Rogers welcomed Kentucky coal operator, Charles Baird to testify about the crippling downturn of the coal industry in Kentucky's Appalachian region.
"I am proud of the the hard working spirit that resides in my District, and that Mr. Baird represents," said Rogers. "I am encouraged by their desire to provide this country with an energy source that keeps food on the table, utility bills low, and energy independence attainable."
As the Chairman of Coal Operators and Associates, Baird asked the Subcommittee to investigate the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) agenda and its coordination with the environmental advocacy industry.
"I've not heard one EPA official talk about the cumulative impacts on the economy, the loss of wages on these families, ir the negative impacts to indirect beneficiaries of that income, such as local businesses, schools and local governments," said Baird. "We need to put people back to work in real jobs with real wages and restraining the EPA will be a significant step in doing so."
Click here to read Congressmen Rogers' and Jenkins' joint letter to Secretary Jewell.
Click here to watch the budget hearing with Secretary Lew.
(NOTE: Rogers' opening statement begins at 18:00 and questions begin at 38:40.)
Click here to watch Charles Baird's testimony to the Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies