Coal Tattoo

Rep. McKinley gets it wrong on the Spruce Mine

I’m still watching the House Commerce and Energy Committee hearing on efforts to block action on global warming, and finally they got around to giving Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., a chance to ask questions.

We’ve seen before that Rep. McKinley doesn’t have a very firm grasp on the state of the science about global warming.

Rep. McKinley continued that today, peppering EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson with questions about Hal Lewis, a minor physicist who apparently resigned from a professional organization over his misguided belief that global warming isn’t real.

But in his zeal to relate the hearing of the day — the Energy Tax Prevention Act — to his own legislation to help out the coal industry, Rep. McKinley couldn’t quite get his facts right about the Spruce Mine.

In particular, Rep. McKinley stated as fact that, because EPA revoked the Spruce Mine Clean Water Act permit,  now “250-some people are out of work.

I’m not sure where Rep. McKinley gets his information about this subject, but the data that Arch Coal reports to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration indicates that, the Spruce Mine at the end of 2010 employed 34 workers. At some point in the future, if the entire mine were to go forward, Arch Coal has said it might employ 250 workers … But the permit veto did not, as Rep. McKinley said, put 250 people out of work. How do such overstatements further a rational debate about coal policies?

We’ve written before here on Coal Tattoo about how facts don’t seem to matter when it comes to the Spruce Mine discussion, and Cindy Rank of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy has an interesting commentary here about myths regarding the EPA veto.