Rogers touts pro-coal provision in omnibus bill

Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) on Tuesday touted a provision in the massive omnibus bill that would prevent the Export-Import Bank from cutting off funding to coal-fired power plants overseas.

In December, the Export-Import Bank announced the new guidelines for coal-fired power plants based on proposed rules from the Environmental Protection Agency. The revised environmental procedures would have prevented financing for power plants unless they adopt carbon capture — allowing some flexibility with the world's poorest countries.

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But the rider in the omnibus, which Rogers negotiated as the House's top appropriator, prohibits Ex-Im and the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC) from limiting funding for the overseas coal plants.

"It's very, very important," Rogers said of the rider. "They had been threatening to cause Ex-Im and OPIC to not fund any construction of any coal energy power plant overseas."

"Well, coal exports are just about the only bright light in the coal business these days."

Rogers blames the Obama administration's so-called war on coal for 8,000 lost coal mining jobs in his Kentucky district.

"This policy of the administration ... obviously would curtail a lot of coal exports and by extension manufacturing in the U.S. or turbines and other pieces that go into those power plants by American workers," Rogers said. "It was very important, and I am excited about it."