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Administration's policies under scrutiny

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World Coal,

This week, two co-equal branches of the US government - Congress and the courts - will be eyeing administration policies that will likely increase energy costs and separate more Americans from their jobs.

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power heard testimony on Chairman Ed Whitfield's proposed Ratepayer Protection Act. "The legislation will empower governors to protect their states and spare their citizens from the risky and costly energy future proposed under the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) carbon dioxide regulations for power plants," National Mining Association President and CEO Hal Quinn said.

On 16 April, the United States Court of Appeals in Washington will hear arguments in a case brought by Murray Energy Corporation and 15 states challenging EPA's authority to adopt the agency's costly power plan rules.

"This important case will decide whether the Clean Air Act means what it says," Quinn said. "EPA's prior actions to regulate different power plant emissions under another provision of the law now precludes it from burdening these same sources with the weight of more risky and costly mandates that yield no material benefit."

Quinn observed that with the court hearing arguments on the same day that EPA's earlier power plant rules take effect: "Electricity consumers and coal communities can only hope the court gives EPA's latest proposal an early termination date."

According to data from the Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Administration, almost 28 000 coal miners have lost their jobs since EPA issued its power plant rules in December 2011. With each coal mining job supporting at least four additional jobs, nearly 140 000 high wage jobs have been eliminated through the administration's policies during the past three years alone.

Adapted from press release by Joseph Green

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