Industry study: Mining rule would kill 281k jobs

Industry study: Mining rule would kill 281k jobs
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The Obama administration’s proposal to better protect streams from coal mining would kill 281,000 jobs, a new study concluded.

The research, commissioned by the National Mining Association (NMA), said the stream protection rule threatens 40,000 to 78,000 coal mining jobs, on top of the 40,000 already lost since 2011. The 281,000 figure includes jobs in related fields.

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The Interior Department’s Office of Surface Mining (OSM) proposed the regulation in July in order to update the 1983 standards that restrict mountaintop removal and other mining practices that harm streams and the wildlife and ecosystems that depend on them.

The industry study contrasts with the agency’s forecast, which predicted that the rule’s net effect would only be a few hundred lost jobs.

“With this massive re-write of 475 existing rules and the addition of many new ones, the SPR is a textbook example of how an agency — oblivious to the costs and the absence of any necessity for its rulemaking — abuses its authority for the sole purpose of expanding its budget and mission at public expense,” NMA President Hall Quinn said in a statement.

Among other impacts, the NMA study predicts that federal and local governments would lose $3.1 billion and $6.4 billion in tax revenue annually from the decline in coal production.

OSM spokesman Christopher Holmes said the agency is aware of the new research and reviewing it.

The study came in advance of a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing on the rule, scheduled for Tuesday.