Republican lawmakers are set to repeal a major Obama administration regulation targeting coal mining.
Utah Republican Rep. Rob Bishop introduced the Congressional Review Act (CRA), which disapproves of the Department of the Interior’s Stream Protection Rule, which was rushed onto the books before President Trump took office. The rule makes it much harder to mine coal on federal lands.
“This rule is the perfect candidate for congressional repeal,” Bishop, chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources, said in a press statement. “It is an abuse of executive power and the unelected bureaucracy expurgated states from the rule-writing process before jamming it through in the eleventh hour.”
Bishop stated that the House would vote on the rule Wednesday, telling reporters the rule was justified with data that the DOI refused to provide to Congress and that it was largely duplicative.
The U.S. has 83,000 fewer coal jobs and 400 fewer coal mines than it did when President Barack Obama was elected in 2008, demonstrating that the former president kept his promise to “bankrupt” the coal industry. Many in the coal industry think that if President Donald Trump relaxes regulations, they’ve “got a shot” to recover lost coal jobs, but success is far from assured.
“The sheer economic impact of this rewrite of over 400 regulations is devastating for coal communities and, if allowed to proceed, an utter disaster for existing regulatory processes,” Bishop said. “We’re not going to let that happen”
A 2015 study found the coal industry lost 50,000 jobs from 2008 to 2012 during Obama’s first term. During Obama’s second term, industry employment in coal mining has fallen by another 33,300 jobs, 10,900 of which occurred in 2015 alone, according to federal data.
Much of the blame for the job losses is targeted at federal regulations aimed at preventing global warming, which caused coal power plants to go bankrupt, resulting in a sharp decline in the price of coal. Currently, coal mining employs 69, 460 Americans, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Coal power provided about 33 percent of all electricity generated in the U.S. in the year 2015, according to data from Energy Information Administration (EIA).
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