Shelley Moore Capito

Mining Jobs - May 11, 2011

Shelley Moore Capito
May 11, 2011— Washington, D.C.
Opening Statement to Water Resources and Environmental Subcommittee
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Thank you, Chairman Gibbs, and thank you, Ranking Member Bishop, for holding this second hearing regarding jobs and job loss in Appalachia. I, too, would like to join my colleague from West Virginia in welcoming Mr. Steve Roberts, who's the president of our West Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Thank you, Steve, for coming today, and thank you for your hard work in creating and preserving our jobs in West Virginia. As we all know, I come from West Virginia. But West Virginia's a major producer of coal and natural gas. These industries produce thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenue for my home state, our home state of West Virginia. The administration's coordinated effort to end coal mining threatens the very future, I believe, of our Appalachia. I'm here today to continue to fight for every mining job that the EPA policies threaten. In fact—as I have stated numerous times before—when I met with Administrator Jackson, she told me point-blank that she does not take into consideration the economic or the job impact of the policies and decisions that they make. Well, I'm here to tell the members of the committee that these policies are threatening communities and potentially are hurting our families. If you look out into the audience, you'll see the faces of coal, who are here today to protect an industry that is so important to the way of life of Appalachia. The revocation of the 404 permit given to Spruce Mine Number One in West Virginia sent shockwaves throughout the entire energy industry. Last week during his testimony, Dr. Leonard Peters stated that the science the EPA is using to revoke the permit from Spruce Mine Number One, as well as review 235 other permits is "incomplete." Furthermore, the EPA revocation is without precedent. While the EPA does have the authority to veto an existing permit, it is questionable whether EPA has the authority to revoke a permit that has already been approved by the Army Corp of Engineers and the EPA. The EPA is not giving any indication how revoked permits can be regained. This massive overreach by the EPA has created so much uncertainty within Appalachia that companies are beginning to withdrawal their own permit requests, and that means job loss. Companies are not willing to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in a mining operation that could be shutdown at a moment's notice. We are now seeing inflation on the rise, energy and food costs are soaring through the roof, and employment has been at or above nine percent for the last two years. It seems incomprehensible to me that our government would take such drastic measures that could result in job loss, increase our energy costs for every American, and increase our demand for overseas energy sources. Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, if the administration is willing to take drastic measures to destroy coal, what would they be willing to do to the industries in your district? I look forward to hearing today's testimony, and I yield back my time.

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