U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) issued a statement this week from Washington, D.C., following two committee hearings concerning rulings that could hurt domestic coal production.
The hearings — both in the House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals Subcommittee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on the Interior — examined potential restrictions for the coal industry, based on new interpretations of existing laws.
Calling the Office of Natural Resources Revenue’s (ONRR) proposal “a bureaucratic nightmare,” Gosar complained that the rule would prohibit coal production on federal and tribal lands. He stated that the “fundamentally flawed new regulation will kill jobs, result in an unconstitutional tax on coal exports and bankrupt even more American energy companies.”
“The Department of the Interior’s new stream buffer zone rule … will negatively affect both surface and underground coal mines,” he said.
He went on to explain that the law could “sterilize between 27 percent and 64 percent of recoverable reserves” with subsequent coal production decline creating “a direct impact on employment … killing between 112,757 and 280,809 mining-related jobs.”
The Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources’ hearing is entitled “Ensuring Certainty for Royalty Payments on Federal Resource Production.” Both it and the Subcommittee on the Interior’s joint hearing with the Subcommittee on Health Care, Benefits and Administrative Rules — entitled “Examining the Stream Protection Rule” — convened Dec. 8.
In particular, ONRR questioned marketability requirements for domestically produced oil, natural gas and coal, suggesting revisions for calculating royalty values. Industry stakeholders took issue with the ONRR’s numbers, claiming that the costs would be far higher than projected and that the agency was overstepping its jurisdiction by presenting businesses “with an unworkable means of calculating the value of their products.”
“Congress must block the Obama Administration’s overreaching new regulations, utilizing the power of the purse in the end of the year funding bill,” Gosar said. “Arizonans simply can’t afford the president’s far-left agenda, and we must put an end to this nonsensical war on coal.”
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