March 16, 2011

Manchin Questions Administration's Handling of New Regulations That Would Kill Coal Mining Jobs

In a letter with Republican Sens. John Barrasso and Rand Paul, Manchin demands answers regarding proposed stream protection rules

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) has requested that the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hold an oversight hearing to investigate the Office of Surface Mining’s proposed stream protection regulations for coal operations after the Obama Administration said it was “unhappy” with an analysis that concluded the rule could kill tens of thousands of jobs.

In a bipartisan letter, U.S. Sens. Manchin, John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) pointed out to the heads of the Senate Energy Committee that an initial economic analysis of the proposed regulations estimates that the suggested Stream Protection Rule would eliminate thousands of coal mining jobs.

The Obama Administration, which professes to be “unhappy” with the analysis, is pushing for a new evaluation. Senator Manchin and his peers requested an open and transparent hearing so they could examine economic impact of the proposed regulations, the substance of the change and the Administration’s procedures for rejecting the unfavorable analysis.

“With the prospect of tens of thousands of jobs on the line, OSM must get their numbers right,” Senator Manchin said. “The truth is, I am deeply concerned about their process, and their failure to take into account our fragile economy. At a minimum, we must be able to ask questions in an open and transparent forum so that valid concerns about the OSM’s procedures regarding the stream buffer rule can be addressed. The bottom line is that federal agencies should not go around Congress to regulate what has not been legislated, especially when it puts at risk so many American jobs.”    

The letter is attached.