Arizona coal industry closely watching fight over new Obama Administration regulations

Arizona's coal industry will have an eye toward Washington, DC in 2016, as a fight brews over a newly proposed rule by the federal Office of Natural Resource Revenue (ONRR).


Arizona's coal industry will have an eye toward Washington, DC in 2016, as a fight brews over a newly proposed rule by the federal Office of Natural Resource Revenue (ONRR).

That rule would make sweeping rules concerning the valuation of produced federal onshore oil, natural gas, and coal for royalty purposes, and reinterpret existing regulations as to when produced natural gas is in marketable condition.

Congressman Paul Gosar (R-AZ) says the the proposed rule is a “bureaucratic nightmare” that would make it “impossible to produce coal on federal lands, including tribal land.”

According to a memorandum produced by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources, the proposed rule “ignores the realities and economics of natural resource production and would grant absolute discretion to ONRR auditors.”

ONRR has said the new rule will cost the industry $80 million, but the mining industry pegs the cost in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Rep. Gosar adds that the rule is an “unconstitutional tax on coal exports” that will "kill jobs" like those at the Kayenta Mine, a surface coal mine operated by Peabody Energy on the Navajo Indian Reservation in northern Arizona.

According to Peabody, the Kayenta Mine employees 430 people, ninety percent of whom are native people.

“Congress must block the Obama Administration’s overreaching new regulations utilizing the power of the purse in the end of the year funding bill,” said Gosar. "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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