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Obama should end attack on coal

June 1, 2011
Gary Andersen, Lee Smith , Fairmont Sentinel

Fingers are being pointed at agencies throughout the federal government in President Barack Obama's campaign to eliminate regulations that unnecessarily hamper job creation in the United States. To our knowledge, however, the White House hasn't been looking where it should - in the mirror.

Thirty federal agencies and departments, including the Environmental Protection Agency, have submitted plans to make regulatory changes that could save businesses money, it was announced Thursday.

Many of the proposed reforms are what you would expect: For example, the EPA plans to allow electronic reporting of information on pollution, rather than requiring paper documentation. Incredible as it may seem, it took an executive order for the agency to come up with that one.

But the Obama administration's campaign against the coal industry, led by the EPA, isn't mentioned in the new efficiency report - though it clearly should be.

In announcing planned reforms, Cass Sunstein, the administration's regulatory chief, said this: "Complexity and redundancy are often the enemy of innovation." Indeed they are.

A classic example involves the EPA's use of water-quality regulations to curb surface mining. The agency rejected a permit for one planned mine - despite previous approval by the Army Corps of Engineers.

In terms of unnecessary regulations, the assault on coal provides another classic example. Obama and his EPA want to inflict "cap-and-trade" style rules on industries, allegedly because of global warming. The rules would wreck the coal industry and would send utility costs soaring for millions of American families.



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