Washington, D.C. – On Monday May 6th, Congressman Andy Barr helped introduce H.R. 1829, The Coal Jobs Protection Act, in the U.S. House of Representatives. Barr is an original cosponsor of the House version of this legislation authored by Congresswoman Shelley Moore-Capito (WV), which would deprive the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the ability to unduly delay the mine permitting process. These delays negatively impact coal-mining jobs in states like Kentucky.
"Coal provides Kentuckians with some of the lowest electricity rates in the United States, which in turn has attracted tens of thousands of jobs in aluminum smelters and manufacturers to Kentucky," said Congressman Barr. "But in 2012, coal production in eastern Kentucky decreased by 27.6 percent, total employment in all Kentucky’s coal mines fell by 22 percent, and over 4,000 jobs were lost as the result of the Obama Administration’s War on Coal."
The EPA is currently holding up at least 36 mining permits in the Commonwealth, creating uncertainty and delay in the permitting process and blocking coal mine production, expansion and growth. The Coal Jobs Protection Act would mandate timely action on permit applications, ensure that the employment and economic impact of federal actions is fully documented and taken into account, restore the appropriate balance between state and federal authority, and prohibit the EPA from regulating by means of guidance or other extra-legal means. U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has introduced a companion version of the legislation in the Senate.
"This important legislation will expedite the current mine permitting process, under which many applications have languished for years, and bring much-needed certainty back to the coal mining industry," Barr continued. “More certainty will allow our mines to expand production and reverse this trend of job losses, both in the coal mining industry and in industries in my district that depend on a healthy coal industry.
“Ultimately, the runaway regulations coming out of this Administration are the most significant impediments to job creation. At a time when families are struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table, Congress must act to prevent the EPA from continuing to pursue its radical, job-killing agenda that is hurting the American people."