Author Topic: Trading Jobs For Bugs In Coal Country  (Read 429 times)

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Offline thundley4

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Trading Jobs For Bugs In Coal Country
« on: September 07, 2009, 11:14:34 AM »
Mayflies are, by scientific classification, not long for this world. They belong to the order Ephemeroptera which means, roughly, "short lived, winged creatures." In their adult form they live for a day. During that day, the Appalachian mayfly's primary function seems to be: Annoy hikers.

They may soon serve a second, far more annoying function if President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency has its way. Emboldened by Obama's campaign pledge to "bankrupt" coal, EPA regulators have been aggressive of late. Bug protection may well give them an excuse to wreck coal mining in Appalachia.
In the past, decisions as to whether discharges from a proposed surface coal mine affect "water quality" were delegated to state regulators pursuant to the state primacy process developed by Congress.

Since Obama took office, however, the EPA has seized control of the permitting process so it can reinterpret the definition of "water quality" to better accommodate the mayfly.

That would be hard-felt locally, of course. Coal mining sustains more than 70,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky. Then there are the broader impacts.

Abundant, inexpensive Appalachian coal powers electric utilities in states along the Ohio River, which is why the region enjoys some of the lowest energy costs in the nation. Without Appalachian coal, these states will have to switch to more expensive fuels, raising utility bills for millions of Americans who can ill afford the expense right now.
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I know that several mines in Illinois are planning to reopen or expand, but I wonder if they will be allowed to.