Planet Gore

Obama Likes Fish More Than Coal Jobs


I’ve written a number of posts, opeds, and a study about the Environmental Protection Agency’s outrageous assault on surface coal mining in Appalachia. Simply put, the EPA is destroying an industry that employs 15,000 miners, on behalf a short-lived insect.  In order to placate the President’s environmentalist base, the EPA is trading jobs for bugs.

Last Tuesday, the Obama administration launched its latest assault against Appalachian surface coal mining. This one comes from the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and it is best described as ‘jobs for minnows.’

To be precise, the FWS issued a final rulemaking to list five species of minnows as “endangered” under the 1973 Endangered Species Act (ESA). Two of the five tiny fish, the Cumberland darter and laurel darce, are present in small streams in the Cumberland Plateau region that are affected by effluent from surface coal mining. Once a species is listed as “endangered” pursuant to the 1973 Endangered Species Act, all federal agencies “shall…insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out by such agency…is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of [critical] habitat of such species…”

The FWS identified three “pollutants” from surface coal mines that endanger these species: sedimentation, salinity, and selenium. All three of these “pollutants” already are regulated by the Clean Water Act at levels necessary to protect wildlife. In June, the EPA set standards for salinity so low that Administrator Lisa Jackson has conceded the regulation would effectively outlaw surface coal mining in Appalachia. The FWS’s decision to list as “endangered” the Cumberland darter and laurel darce is indicative of this administration’s belt-and-suspenders approach to regulation. In its war on coal, the President is leaving nothing to chance.

The rest here.

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