None of the coal industry lawyers at today’s federal court hearing in Huntington responded when Obama administration lawyers said they are “in a state of transition” in how the government regulates mountaintop removal.
So, I asked the National Mining Association what they made of theÂ review of mountaintop removal issues being conducted by the White House Council on Environmental Quality, in conjuction with EPA and the Corps of Engineers.
Here’s what the e-mail message I got back from NMA spokeswoman Carol Raulston said:
NMA knows of no significant directional change from the Obama Administration on mountaintop mining policies–especially none that might jeopardize 14,000 direct mining jobs in Appalachia.
Among the hundreds of items the Obama Administration is “reviewing” are about a half-dozen 404 permits for MTM operations.Â While we are concerned about the overall delay throughout the region in processing permits, it’s simply premature to prejudge the meaning of this particular review of MTM permits.
Jobs preservation and creation are the primary focus of the Obama Administration.Â Everything is viewed through that prism.Â No one wants to cut 14,000 high-paying jobs.
With respect to climate policy, the Administration firmly believes clean coal technologies, including carbon capture and storage, can play a vital role in meeting their objectives for green energy (climate) and reduced reliance on foreign energy.Â The president says this, Energy Sec. Chu says it.Â Getting the economy rolling on a sounder energy foundation is driving several policy considerations, and we find nothing that is inconsistent with these policy objectives and the practice of mountaintop mining in Appalachia.