Coal Tattoo

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

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 ….