Rep. John Duncan

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On Thursday, the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee of the House Transportation Committee held a hearing on “Environmental Protection Agency Mining Policies: Assault on Appalachia.” Video and written testimony are available here. For detailed descriptions of the EPA’s outrageous war on Appalachian coal production, click here, here, or here. Suffice it to say, EPA has subverted the Administrative Procedures Act to enact a de facto moratorium on mining. It engineered a new Clean Water Act “pollutant,” saline effluent, which the EPA claims degrades water quality downstream from mines by harming a short lived insect that isn’t an endangered species. The hearing yesterday was part 1; next Wednesday, the subcommittee is scheduled to hear from EPA administrator Lisa Jackson.

It was a bipartisan bashing. The only Democrat to show up was Ranking Member Rep. Nick Rahall (WV), whose opposition to the EPA exceeds that of Republicans, due to the fact that his State is the largest coal producer in Appalachia, and is, therefore, harmed most.

For the “Part 1” hearing on Thursday, the primary topic was the EPA’s procedural shenanigans. For part two next week, with Administrator Lisa Jackson, I very much hope they address the EPA’s shoddy science on the ecological impact of mountaintop mining.

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