New Bill Aims to Stop Nonexistent “War on Coal”

Image: Jones

In a bid to curb the so-called “environmentalist agenda,” the House of Representatives passed the “Stop the War on Coal Act” (H.R. 4309) 233 to 175 in the House of Representatives on Friday, Sept. 14.

Though one of the “Stop the War on Coal Act”‘s sponsors, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), claimed that the legislation, “…is not about climate change,” and that, if signed into law, the bill wouldn’t apply, “If it’s a public health, public safety, national security issue [where] common sense regulations are appropriate,” his next sentence suggested otherwise. Those “common sense regulations” would only be “Regulations that are based on fact and science — not based on political rhetoric or an environmentalist agenda.”

I’m curious to learn more about the so-called environmentalist agenda, since every self-identified environmentalist I know of is motivated not to cut jobs or create a socialist government but to improve public health and quality of life for current and future generations. I’m also curious to learn about the war on coal, since there is no such war on record. Despite Rep. Johnson’s claims otherwise, this new bill only cements the idea that many of our congresspeople are living in an alternate universe where scientific fact is absent.

The legislation arose from what several news sources claim is Republican-led concern over the impacts of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actions on the coal industry. Several energy companies such as Alpha National Resources have recently had to lay off workers, and legislators are using the EPA as a scapegoat in their latest effort to curb the agency’s power. A House Energy and Commerce Committee spokesperson was quoted in the Hill as saying, “Each of these companies has cited EPA actions as a contributing factor to their decision to shut down operations and lay off workers…EPA is ramming through a slew of new regulations that are so expensive these companies have no other choice.”

The legislation isn’t an isolated incident: Romney recently released a “War on Coal” campaign ad. Interestingly, claims have surfaced suggesting that the miners shown at the pro-Romney rally in the video may have been forced to attend.
You would think it wouldn’t be necessary to say it, but the science is clear: coal is a public health issue. (Funny thing — climate change, which is partially caused by burning coal, is a public health issue too). And because coal is a finite resource, it can only be a source of jobs for so long. This blatant attempt to discredit peer-reviewed scientific fact is terrifying, but not surprising. Funny enough, though, the bill’s authors got one thing right. Regulations should be based on fact and science, not political rhetoric. But they might want to check those definitions again.
Read the full text of the bill here.


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