Skip to comments.House approves coal deregulation bill in last act before election
Posted on 09/21/2012 9:32:16 AM PDT by markomalley
The House approved a bill Friday morning that would significantly deregulate the coal industry, in a vote that was the last legislative act of the House before the November election.
The Stop the War on Coal Act, H.R. 3409, was approved in a 233-175 vote, although as usual, the bill many Democrats described as anti-environmental still found some Democratic support 19 Democrats voted for it.
The legislation is a combination of five bills that would overturn or prevent an array of regulations that Republicans say would harm the coal industry and the economy. Among other things, it 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 to toughen environmental controls on mountaintop removal coal mining, and thwart other air emissions rules, including air toxics standards for coal-fired power plants.
Republicans say the bill is needed because power companies plan to close some coal-fired plants due to the EPA's air emission rules, and because of additional EPA and Interior Department rules affecting coal mining. The GOP says that taken together, the Obama administration's regulations on the industry amount to a "war on coal."
The White House has threatened to veto the bill, arguing it would gut vital protections and presents a false choice between economic growth and public health safeguards. But the veto threat will not be an issue, as the Senate will not consider the bill before it leaves for the election.
Still, it provided Republicans an election-season messaging platform to argue that President Obama's environmental policies are bad for the economy.
During debate this week, Republicans reminded their colleagues that when Obama was running for office in 2008, he warned that he would seek to bankrupt the coal industry.
"It was the President, when he was a candidate, that said that his policies, if enacted, would cost coal jobs," Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) said Thursday. "For nearly four years, we have seen evidence of that."
Hastings and other Republicans cited Obama's comments in 2008, when he said that people wanting to build a coal-fired power plant would still be able to do so under his administration, although doing this would "bankrupt them because they're going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that's being emitted."
As evidence that the "war on coal" is being waged, Republicans cited this week's announcement from Alpha Natural Resources that it would cut 1,200 jobs and idle eight mining operations in three states.
Democratic opponents of the bill argued that the coal industry is not being hurt by regulation, but rather more competitive alternative energy industries like wind and solar.
"When the Republicans say there is a war on coal, in a market sense, yes, there is a war," Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said. "In the same sense that when we started carrying BlackBerries, it was a war on the black rotary-dial phone; in the same sense that when we started using Macs and PCs, it was a war on typewriters; in the same sense that the horseless carriage was a war on horses; in the same sense that refrigerators were a war on salted meats; in the same sense that the telegraph was a war on carrier pigeons."
Before the final vote, the House approved two amendments that would require the the government to publish the scientific data it uses as a basis for writing regulations. Another Republican amendments that were accepted would require the Secretary of Transportation to estimate the number of jobs lost due to auto emission standards.
The House rejected several Democratic amendments, including one from Energy & Commerce ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) that would have struck language repealing the EPA's 2009 scientific finding that carbon pollution endangers public health. That finding provides the legal underpinning for EPA climate change regulations.
The lower chamber will return after the election for a lame-duck session.
When I read that, I had to check the byline again to make sure this wasn’t from the Onion!
When I read that, I had to check the byline again to make sure this wasn’t from the Onion!
the EPA's 2009 scientific finding that carbon pollution endangers public health.
Define "carbon pollution".
Otherwise it's just another lie in print.
If Obama were addressing a mirror then this part would contain a nugget of truth:”presents a false choice between economic growth and public health safeguards.”
It is a false choice. We can have economic growth and public health standards. You cannot have economic growth when public health standards are used as a weapon against the economy.
so free market events have what to do with government intrusion and environmental extremist?? its funny how the world lives and thrives on coal & oil and people go around whining about how bad they are. people are killed by a lot of things but coal and oil are way down on the list. Its a shame we have been brainwashed by the same powers that we despise for certain political reasons and then turn around and believe when they tell us we are bad,we are destroying the earth,global warming,overpopulation,etc.The EPA and obama are LIARS!they are evil theres no doubt.I just now heard a radio commercial for ohio-all about obamas love of coal-can you believe it??? wow hes done so much for coal that its dumbfounding!So evil will be good and good will be evil-no doubt.
19 dems voted for it. Very pricipled vote no doubt.
I worked in the nuclear power industry and will admit that coal has a part to play in the energy industry of this nation. But there is a reason insiders of the electric utility business refer to coal plants as “dirt burners”: it is dirtier pollution-wise and far less efficient in energy conversion than nuclear, for example.
Eliminating coal and oil from the U.S. energy equation is stupid and shortsighted. That being said, I wouldn't want to live within 50 miles of a coal burning facility.
It doesn’t matter what your ancestors di,I still think you are goofy.There is no free lunch and I feel safer living within 50 miles of at least 5 coal plants than ONE nuclear plant given the stupid policies of our government and businesses towards actual security.If someone blows up a coal plant the surrounding area will still be quite safe.
competitive alternative energy industries like
wind and solar.
Is it hilarious or is it criminal?
It's hilarious if a community organizer moron wants to drive electric and energy prices through the roof because he is a leftist dumbA$$.
It's criminal if the Muslim loving anti-American is doing it because he wants to hurt the United States in every way he can.
Obama illegally invaded Libya, see how that worked out?
How about the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Just bad luck?
Giving $Billions to Egypt (including buying Submarines apparently to attack Israel) bad judgement?
Obama is not just a criminal, he's a traitor.
My first night on shift as Shift Supervisor was highlighted by the upstream dirt burner tripping our stack radiation monitors due to a temperature inversion.
I’d live right next door to a US nuke any day before a dirt burner. I’d receive less toxic metals including mercury - and radiation from the nuke even in the unlikely event of an accident. Our nukes are very good and safe.
With that said, we need to use our great coal resources to generate electricity - amongst other things.
I was going to mention that dirt burners and nukes can’t be colocated due to the burning of coal setting off alarms at nuke plants.
Yes, burning coal produces radiation!
ya know, all the plants should take a vacation for a week or two and let the lights go out...it would really be special if they could dim the hub in DC...
As you well know, that’s something most people don’t realize. All the radium, thorium, and uranium in coal has to go some where. We used to always say that if dirt burners had to live with NRC regulations, they would all be shutdown.
Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said. "In the same sense that when we started carrying BlackBerries, it was a war on the black rotary-dial phone; in the same sense that when we started using Macs and PCs, it was a war on typewriters; in the same sense that the horseless carriage was a war on horses; in the same sense that refrigerators were a war on salted meats; in the same sense that the telegraph was a war on carrier pigeons."
And with your multigenerational background in energy, you know how fragile our power grid is in most places in the US. Take several dozen coal power plants off the grid in the next 2 or 3 years and watch what happens.
What replaces them? Nuclear? Hydro? Wind? No, we'll see rolling brown and blackouts across wide regions as the grid struggles to balance supply and demand.
Yes, we cannot afford to have coal or nuclear plants removed from the grid. Oregon state has done so, and their reckoning is coming, soon.