19 Democrats joined with their GOP counterparts in the House today to vote in favor of legislation aimed at keeping coal plants open. The 233-175 vote is the last House lawmakers will take for the next seven weeks, as they now head back to their districts to campaign for the November 6 elections.
The Stop the War on Coal Act, H.R. 3409, introduced by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), would prevent the Obama administration from enforcing or instituting any new regulations on coal producers until at least the end of next year.
Republicans say that President Obama and his EPA are guilty of killing jobs by placing new environmental rules on the coal industry.
“I place it at the foot of Barack Obama, the responsibility for the assault on the coal industry,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) during a press conference Friday morning.
Upton said that Obama’s goal as a candidate four years ago was to bankrupt the coal industry, and that he was “following through on that commitment through the EPA and avalanche of new regulations.”
Title 1 of the Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure Protection Act, based off of H.R. 3409, is a bill specifically prohibiting the issuing of regulations under the Surface Mining Control (OSM) and Reclamation Act that would impact U.S. coal mining employment.
“[Title 1] is so important because the administration is giving lip service to creating jobs, and yet the OSM regulations, that they’re working on as we speak, will kill 7,000 coal jobs.” said Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) said.
The fundamental message was the regulations not only took employment from coal miners but the effects spread to those who work in direct connection with the coal industry.
As TRNS reported earlier this week, the White House has already issued a veto threat against the legislation, which will likely stall out in the Senate anyway.