12.09.2010 2

West Virginia May Soon Set Nation-wide Pattern to Get Around the EPA


By Adam Bitely –

Coal mining has long been under attack from environmentalists and especially the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The result of these attacks have caused coal mines to be closed until they receive certification and permits that meet the approval of bureaucrats that are decidedly anti-coal mining. Hundreds if not thousands of coal mining jobs have been lost due to this bureaucratic nightmare.

In West Virginia though, a newly elected State Delegate has drafted legislation that would undo these unnecessary mine closures and put the miners back to work. Gary Howell, elected to his first term in the State House of West Virginia in November, is wasting no time getting his “put West Virginia to work” legislation signed in to law.

Delegate-elect Howell told NetRightDaily.com, “[t]hese mines have met all the requirements for their EPA permits to be issued, but the Obama administration is simply not issuing the permits. The Obama administration’s actions are illegal and are being challenged in the courts, however the court cases will take time.  The Intrastate Coal and Use Act will take effect immediately allowing the mines to open, which will not only increase employment but increase the tax bases without the need for increased taxes on the individuals and provide energy security for the nation.”

According to Howell, hundreds of coal mining jobs have been put on hold because of the actions taken by Obama’s EPA. If Howell’s legislation becomes law, West Virginia coal miners could soon be back to work.

The bill being introduced by Howell states that coal that is mined in West Virginia and used entirely within West Virginia, should not fall under the Federal government’s jurisdiction. According to Howell’s legislation, “Any West Virginia coal mine producing coal which is used commercially or privately in West Virginia and which is consumed or otherwise remains within the borders of West Virginia, and, any West Virginia facility producing chemically altered coal products used commercially or privately in West Virginia, which remain within the borders of West Virginia, shall be issued a permit to operate by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection once the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has certified that the mine or facility is compliant with all applicable state and federal laws or state and federal regulation.”

If Howell’s legislation is signed in to law, he will have scored an important 10th amendment victory. The jobs created in West Virginia are also something of great import. According to Howell, “a low estimate would be between 500 and 1,000 jobs that would be involved directly in mining operations across the 38 mines in West Virginia.  That excludes the truck drivers, private contractors, surveying crews and even the college kid that will work the shift change at the local convenience store.”

“Thousands of jobs ranging from high paying to entry level positions are being held up by the Obama Administration’s EPA because the mining industry does not operate in a vacuum,” Howell continued.

The effects of Obama’s EPA are wide reaching and not just West Virginia. Nationwide, there are approximately 100 mines that are effected like the 38 mines of West Virginia. According to Howell, “Other state legislatures are looking at what happens with this bill in West Virginia as we take the lead on this issue.”

Even though Howell’s bill is still a draft, he expects it to gain momentum at the start of their legislative session on January 12th. As Delegate-elect Howell correctly stated, “it is not a left or right bill, but a ‘put West Virginia to work bill,’ I expect it to have strong bipartisan support.”

Delegate-elect Howell is taking a brave stand against the forces of Big Government environmentalism that have killed thousands of jobs nationwide. More states should look to Howell’s example and take a stand against regulations that are destroying the economy and raising unemployment.

Adam Bitely is the Editor-in-Chief of NetRightDaily.com.

Copyright © 2008-2024 Americans for Limited Government