Washington, D.C., September 24, 2012 – In its last act before the November elections, the U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 21 passed H.R. 3409, called the “Stop the War on Coal Act,” by a vote of 233-175.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee said the legislative package passed the full House with bipartisan support. In all, 19 Democrats voted for the bill.
The legislation is a package of five bills that are designed to limit regulations on the coal industry, including the operation of coal-fired power plants. The act would block the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other sources, and prevent rules on the storage and disposal of coal ash and limit Clean Water Act rules.
It would also prevent potential Interior Department rules, pursued by the Obama administration, to toughen environmental controls on mountaintop removal coal mining, and thwart other air emissions rules, including air toxics standards for coal-fired power plants.
The package, sponsored by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), includes measures advanced by the Energy and Commerce Committee, such as the Energy Tax Prevention Act, the TRAIN Act, and the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act.
“Coal is the cornerstone of our economy – estimates suggest that every mining job creates an additional 3.5 jobs. We are electricity independent – and we want to stay that way,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.).
Republicans said the Obama administration’s environmental regulations amount to a “war on coal.”
“The EPA’s outright assault on coal is having a destructive effect on our economy, and we will likely see more and more coal-fired power plants closed and more mining operations shut down due to EPA’s outrageous expansion of regulations,” said Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky).
Democrats said the coal industry is not being hurt by regulation, but instead by competition from other energy sources, specifically low-cost and abundant natural gas supplies.
The House will return after the general election for a lame duck session.