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EPA blamed for declining coal industry... proposes even more regulations


(NaturalNews) There is just no arguing the fact that President Barack Obama wants to destroy the coal industry.

From his earliest days on the campaign trail in 2008, in which he pledged to pursue policies that would shutter coal-fired power plants and dramatically increase electricity rates for average Americans, Obama has done all he can to permanently destroy an industry largely responsible for powering our economy and our homes.

Now, his Environmental Protection Agency seeks to seal the deal, despite the fact that mining is a major part of the U.S. economy, both in terms of creating jobs, energy and supporting ancillary businesses.

As noted by Lifezette.com, there are several thousand mines that operate in the United States – mines that produce everything from coal to precious metals such as gold and silver, as well as industrial metals like copper, zinc and iron that are used to make electric vehicles and solar panels.

Most of these mining jobs provide good-paying, middle-class incomes for more than 130,000 miners throughout the country. But a growing number of these operations face the danger of being shut down by over-regulation, thanks to a big, fat, activist government.

Repetitive rules will shutter valuable mining operations

In particular the EPA is proposing new, unnecessary measures that will effectively duplicate existing financial assurance requirements for mine reclamation.

At present, states with heavy mining operations use specific programs to approve required financial assurance. These states, therefore, have a strong, vested interest in ensuring that the natural resources contained within their borders are adequately protected and as such, they employ workers to both appraise and calculate the cost of federal rules and laws that are overseen by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

This is a system that has worked very well for decades, Lifezette.com notes, adding that along the way federal and state laws have evolved to address any deficiencies or problems to ensure the highest level of environmental stewardship. Turns out states love the financial windfall of having mining operations but generally have no interest in seeing land turned into toxic waste.

Enter the Obama EPA.

Now, the agency is working on implementing a new rule that would require additional financial assurance on the part of the hard rock mining industry.

Of course, like most regulations this one sounds reasonable; it would require miners to demonstrate a financial ability to clean up whatever may potentially contaminate water or land. That supposedly ensures that environmental risks are being managed and are thus paid by companies, not taxpayers.

What's ironic is that this is the very same, reasonable approach that states and the federal government are already doing. As such, the EPA's proposed new rule just doesn't make any sense.

Kill coal, and we kill one-third of our energy production

But the proposal is already rankling state legislatures and governors, as well as congressional committees that are charged with overseeing agencies and regulations they write. The concern is not only that the EPA has failed to properly gauge the impact of its action but that imposing a redundant financial burden on mining companies could potentially put at least some of them out of business.

One example, according to Lifezette, is the Hecla Mining Company, a 125-year-old silver mining firm that has successfully permitted, built and then closed a number of mines in the U.S., bringing resources, jobs and other economic benefits to many rural communities.

However, given the additional financial strain that the EPA is proposing, Hecla would likely have been less prolific and successful, meaning many of its mines would never have been built.

But coal mines are also very much at risk since they've specifically targeted by Obama's EPA for burdensome regulations. In April, The Daily Caller published a chart showing how the Obama administration has "killed" the coal industry. In one year alone, the industry lost 7,500 jobs.

And while coal has been blamed for causing environmental damage, U.S. regulations make American coal-fired plants some of the cleanest-burning in the world. And coal, like natural gas, is responsible for creating 33 percent of our electricity, according to the U.S. Energy Information Agency. Hydro-power and other renewables account for just 13 percent, combined.

There may be some good news, however: A federal judge has ruled that the EPA must evaluate the impact its rules would have in coal mining jobs, as is required by U.S. law.





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