This Friday, the House will vote on the “End the War on Coal Act of 2012.” It combines multiple pieces of legislation designed to stop the Obama administration’s 4-year assault on a vital American industry. “The legislation packages five House bills crafted over the two years of the 112th Congress aimed at limiting regulation that affects coal and other industry, four of which were previously passed by the House.

·        H.R. 3409, the Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act, to prevent the Secretary of the Interior from issuing new regulations that would adversely impact mining jobs;

·        H.R. 910, the Energy Tax Prevention Act, passed in April 2011, would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act;

·        H.R. 2401, the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act, or TRAIN Act, passed in September 2011, would require analysis of the effects of proposed environmental regulations on manufacturing, energy prices and jobs;

·        H.R. 2273, the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, passed in October 2011, curtailing the EPA’s ability to regulate the disposal of coal ash from power plants; and

·        H.R. 2018, Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act, passed in July 2011, would limit EPA action with regard to state regulation of water quality.” [Pam Kasey, “House to vote Friday on package to limit EPA, preserve coal jobs,” The State Journal, 09/17/2012.]

Why does this matter? Coal plants produce electricity for millions of Americans. “The U.S. has more than 1,400 coal-fired electric generating units at more than 600 power plants that produce nearly half of the country’s electricity to 60 million homes and 3.4 million businesses.” [Audrey Hudson, “The war on coal,” Human Events, 09/18/2012.]

But despite the fact that coal is vital for so many, the Obama EPA has insisted on forcing unwarranted regulations that are costing billions. “The regulatory cost of EPA’s actions is also staggeringly high for coal-fired plants. Two studies reviewed by the Government Accountability Office put the annual costs of just four major EPA regulations between $16 billion and $21 billion over the coming years.” [Michael Bastasch, “Republicans shoot back in ‘war on coal,’” The Daily Caller, 09/17/2012.]

And who pays the price? American taxpayers and thousands working in the coal industry. “The regulatory barrage is expected to close 175 coal-fired electric generating units, and effectively bans the opening of any new coal-fired power plants, diminishing the reliability of electricity and increasing the cost across half the nation, the Senate report said.” [Audrey Hudson, “The war on coal,” Human Events, 09/18/2012.]

As a direct result of Obama’s regulatory policies, the economy of an entire region of the country is in tatters. “Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania—the heart of Appalachia—have been hardest hit by nine regulations proposed or finalized by the Obama administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that critics say will cripple this region’s coal industry.” [Audrey Hudson, “The war on coal,” Human Events, 09/18/2012.

Most recently, Alpha Natural Resources announced it was laying off over a thousand workers, putting Americans out of work during dire economic times. “Coal producer Alpha Natural Resources said Tuesday it was cutting production by 16 million tons and eliminating 1,200 jobs companywide, including 400 with the immediate closing of mines in Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The mine shutdowns start Tuesday, while the rest of the layoffs will be completed by the end of the first quarter after Alpha fulfills current sales obligations, Chief Executive Officer Kevin Crutchfield said. In all, the layoffs amount to nearly a tenth of Alpha’s 13,000-person work force.” [Vicki Smith, “Alpha closing 8 mines, cutting 1,200 jobs in all,” Associated Press, 09/18/2012.]
It’s personal. For all of Team Obama’s rhetoric about getting Americans back to work, their job-killing regulations are making things worse for American families across the board. “Allen Black is a casualty in the Obama administration’s war on coal. He worked in the coalfields of Eastern Kentucky for two decades earning upwards of $70,000 a year and was financially secure enough to help support his son’s pre-medical studies at a private university. After losing his job on April 29, Black had no choice but to clear out his retirement savings to supplement his only income of $350 a week in unemployment and is now struggling to take care of his family at home, in addition to his son’s textbooks, food and other college expenses.” [Audrey Hudson, “The war on coal,” Human Events, 09/18/2012.]

The war on coal has cost 2,000 jobs in this year alone. More are on the way. Are these burdensome regulations responsible when over 8% of Americans are still unemployed? “The coal industry estimates its labor force at 135,000—Black is one of 2,000 who lost their jobs this year. Another 10,000 layoffs in direct and related jobs are expected in the coming months, and job loss estimates leaked from the Obama administration on the effects of just one water rule predicted another 7,000 coal jobs would be eliminated.” [Audrey Hudson, “The war on coal,” Human Events, 09/18/2012.]

Not to mention that the alternatives suggested by the Obama administration and the activists backing their agenda would skyrocket the costs of electricity. “What environmentalists and the administration don’t talk about, is that solar power alone would triple household electrical bills from $200 a month to $700 a month, according to a Heritage Foundation study.” [Audrey Hudson, “The war on coal,” Human Events, 09/18/2012.]

But it’s nothing new from an administration that vowed to bankrupt coal in 2008. Count it a campaign promise kept. “The Obama administration has been fairly transparent when it comes to its animosity towards the coal industry, which it blames as a substantial cause of climate change. ‘If somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can—it’s just that it will bankrupt them,’ Obama famously declared during his 2008 campaign.” [Audrey Hudson, “The war on coal,” Human Events, 09/18/2012.]

The last 4 years of unfair regulations have been so bad that a prominent left-leaning union has still refused to endorse President Obama’s re-election. “Obama administration policies have also annoyed leaders of the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA), a powerful force behind the Democratic Party that in a rare show of disloyalty skipped the party’s national convention in Charlotte, N.C. earlier this month and has so far refused to endorse Obama for a second term. ‘The Navy SEALs shot Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan and Lisa Jackson shot us in Washington,’ said Cecil Roberts, UMWA president during an April 3 radio show in West Virginia.” [Audrey Hudson, “The war on coal,” Human Events, 09/18/2012.]

Amid the backlash, President Obama’s campaign has attempted to embrace coal. But politics as usual can’t hide the damage they’ve done. “However, the Obama campaign only added clean coal to its website after a convicted felon and prison inmate got 41 percent of the Democratic primary vote in West Virginia.” [Michael Bastasch, “Republicans shoot back in ‘war on coal,’” The Daily Caller, 09/17/2012.