21 May 2010– The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee released a report May 21 saying the Environmental Protection Agency’s inability to approve or set discernable standards for the approval of coal mining permits will have adverse impacts on economic and employment numbers in seven Appalachian states, including West Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and Alabama. Ranking committee member Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., released the report.
The Senate investigation report states the Clean Water Act Section 404 permitting process is designed to dismantle the coal industry in the Appalachian region.
“After a thorough investigation of the 235 coal mining 404 Permits that were under review by EPA as of May 11, 2009, we found that their obstruction is having a deleterious effect on rural jobs, energy production and small businesses in Appalachia,” the report said. “Our investigation, which included gathering information from EPA as well as conducting detailed interviews with permit applicants, found that the 190 coal mining operations tied up at EPA are expected to produce over 2 billion tons of coal (throughout the life of operations) and support roughly 17,806 new and existing jobs as well as 81 small businesses.
“The report also verifies that EPA’s actions will cost the state of West Virginia $217 million annually in tax revenue. That is a state budget nightmare.”
The Federation for American Coal, Energy and Security (FACES of Coal), an alliance that is educating lawmakers and the general public about the importance of coal and coal mining, said it is clear the EPA is trying to ruin the coal industry.
“The EPA is making clear its intentions to destroy jobs and economic security in West Virginia and throughout Appalachia,” said Bryan Brown, state coordinator of West Virginia FACES of Coal. “We urge our elected leaders in Washington to continue their efforts to secure coal jobs and our economic future.”
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