September 21, 2012
The House approved a bill Friday morning that would significantly deregulate the coal industry, in a vote that was the last legislative act of the House before the November election.
The Stop the War on Coal Act, H.R. 3409, was approved in a 233-175 vote, although as usual, the bill many Democrats described as anti-environmental still found some Democratic support — 19 Democrats voted for it.
The legislation is a combination of five bills that would overturn or prevent an array of regulations that Republicans say would harm the coal industry and the economy. Among other things, it would block the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other sources, and prevent rules on the storage and disposal of coal ash and limit Clean Water Act rules.
Republicans say the bill is needed because power companies plan to close some coal-fired plants due to the EPA's air emissions rules, and because of additional EPA and Interior Department rules affecting coal mining. The GOP says that taken together, the Obama administration's regulations on the industry amount to a "war on coal."