Lawmakers from states where the economy relies heavily on coal, like West Virginia and Kentucky, say the administration and the EPA are attempting to wage war on coal production by refusing to process mining requests.
Pro-coal lawmakers often cite one incident in January when the EPA rescinded a permit for one of the nation’s largest mountaintop-removal coal mining projects in Logan Country, West Virginia, after the mining company had committed millions of dollars and several years to obtaining the permit.
The EPA justified its decision contending the mine would wreak irreparable damage on rivers, wildlife and local communities.
“The EPA’s action defies logic," said McConnell, referring to the Logan County incident. "Not only are they changing the rules in the middle of the game, they are retroactively changing rules to shut down mines they’ve already approved."
As has become vogue in Washington politics in recent months, McConnell also linked his proposed legislation to job creation.
“And yet, as we’re faced with a weakened economy and high unemployment, an overreaching Environmental Protection Agency in Washington is blocking new jobs for Kentuckians and Americans by waging a war on coal," said McConnell.
The issue also stretches across party lines. When Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) delivered his maiden speech on the Senate floor in February he also rapped the EPA for overreaching.
"America's manufacturing sector is dominated by the cruel irony of rules and regulation that make it easier to create jobs abroad than in the United States," Manchin said. "Madam President, West Virginians are not asking for a handout. We're asking for a work permit."