Coal Tattoo

House panel sets ‘buffer zone’ hearing for W.Va.

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As if we hadn’t heard enough about the U.S. Office of Surface Mining’s botched efforts to rewrite the federal stream buffer zone rule — or the coal industry’s campaign to promote a one-sided view of what OSMRE was studying

Now, we hear that the House of Representatives’ Committee on Natural Resources has scheduled a field hearing for next Monday here in Charleston to discuss the matter.

Republican committee leaders are calling the hearing, “Jobs at Risk: Community Impacts of the Obama Administration’s Effort to Rewrite the Stream Buffer Zone Rule.”  The witness list hasn’t been posted publicly yet, but I understand it includes West Virginia Coal Association officials, Tom Clarke from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, and our old buddy from the United Mine Workers union, Roger Horton — who has said publicly that EPA efforts to reduce the impacts of mountaintop removal amount to “state-sponsored terrorism” or breaking into people’s homes at night.

So, it’s clear that this hearing will provide another opportunity for a clear-headed, thoughtful, and reasonable discussion of the impacts of mountaintop removal on Appalachia and the industry’s role in the region’s economy.

Stay tuned ….