The House Natural Resources Committee held a meeting Thursday morning simply called 'The Obama Administration's War On Coal.'
The issue before them was the rewrite of regulations surrounding stream protection around surface mines.
We discovered that the real issue was how that rewritten rule would affect coal jobs.
The inspector general's office offered a report of the Office of Surface Mining efforts to rewrite a 2008 stream buffer zone requiring a certain distance between surface mines and streams.
At issue was whether a contractor rewriting the rules was influenced in using data to calculate job loss because of a new rewrite. "Congressmen, our investigation found when the decision by OSM was made to use the 2008 rule for calculation the baseline, there was awareness among the decision makers that it would have the effect of lowering the job losses figures. But our investigation did not discover their motivations behind that decision. there was no evidence that it was politically motivated," stated Robert Knox with the Office of Inspector General.
According to figures from that rewrite, 7,000 jobs would be lost, but the committee had doubts. Using an older rule and one that is on the books would change the figures and show more jobs being lost.
The government allowed the contractor's contract to expire with a cost of millions of dollars. "This is why this committee has passed legislation to save taxpayer dollars and American jobs by stopping this administration from continuing its reckless and unnecessary rule-making process," Republican Chairman Richard Hasting of Washington said.
The assistant inspector general testified to the committee that the decisions were made based on what was best for the environment and nothing else.