GOP measure would halt Obama ban on federal coal mining

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Sen. Orrin Hatch is hoping to tie a battle over coal mining to a bipartisan energy bill currently before the Senate.

The Utah Republican is offering an amendment to Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s legislation that would block President Obama’s temporary ban on new major leases for coal mining on federal land.

{mosads}Under Hatch’s proposal the ban would only be allowed to go forward if it gets congressional approval and if the Obama administration submits a plan showing the new rule wouldn’t negatively impact federal revenue and details the impacts on jobs and related industries.

Hatch’s amendment is one of more than a dozen that have been filed to the energy reform legislation, and no vote has been scheduled. 

But Republican leadership suggested last week that the energy bill would give Republicans an opportunity to push back against the administration. 

“[It] is going to just be sending pink slips to thousands of people who earn their living and their livelihood with coal,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told reporters last week of the administration’s coal mining ban.

Barrasso, who chairs the Republican Policy Committee, added that “this energy bill will be an opportunity to speak out with amendments specifically related to the president’s most recent actions.” 

The administration’s ban earned quick criticism from congressional Republicans, who called it the latest step in the president’s “war on coal.” 

Tags John Barrasso Lisa Murkowski Orrin Hatch

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