WV congressman proposes bill which could destroy U.S. mining industry
It’s just that it will bankrupt them.“
Remember this? Well, it seems as though the president has somebody out there trying their darndest to turn his dreams into reality.
According to a report in this month’s edition of the ICMJ Prospecting and Mining Journal, West Virginia Congressman and chairman of the House Resources Committee Nick Rahall has reintroduced legislation which could spell disaster for small-scale mining operations in the United States, and phase out large-scale mining operations as well.
Among a host of other things, The Hardrock Mining and Reclamation Act of 2009 would:
- add tens of millions of acres to existing areas deemed off-limits to mining, including but not limited to so-called “wilderness study areas” and areas “of critical environmental concern.”
- permit any state or local municipality or Indian tribe to withdraw proposed or possible mining areas due to concerns over drinking water, wildlife habitat, historic resources, scenic vistas or, in the case of the Indian tribes, cultural or religious value.
- force mine operators to obtain approved plans looking so far into the future as to assure, with certainty, that no treatment of discharged water will be necessary 10 years after mine closure,
- allow for any mining plan to be altered or stopped altogether pending further information about scientific, biological, historical or cultural resources.
- allow states to implement regulations beyond the scope of this legislation.
- open the floodgates for civil litigation, allowing for anybody to file civil suit against the mine operator to force compliance with mining laws, and allowing courts to costs of litigation, including attorney and witness fees, as the court deems appropriate.
- permit fining, to the tune of $25,000 per day, of mine operators who fail to comply with any portion of a required permit
- entitle the federal government to an eight percent royalty on all locatable materials for any new mining operation
The list goes on and on and on, and reads a whole lot like what the federal government did to the timber industry in the Pacific northwest, only worse. And, of course, the roster of co-sponsors reads like a Who’s Who of ignorant liberals and environmentalists: Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Lois Capps (D-CA), Donna Christensen (D-VI), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Anna Eshoo (D-CA), Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Mike Honda (D-CA), Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), Dale Kildee (D-MI), Ron Kind (D-WI), Ed Markey (D-MA), George Miller (D-CA), John Salazar (D-CO), Adam Schiff (D-CA), Pete Stark (D-CA), Niki Tsongas (D-MA) and Henry Waxman (D-CA).
Regardless of who is involved, the consequences will be the same. Joblessness. Increased energy costs. More reliance upon foreign energy. The complete end of an industry. From the report:
[M]ining companies would be unable to deal with the unattainable requirements of these regulations, citizen lawsuits, thin profit margins, reporting requirements, and the uncertainty that comes with the federal government’s new authority to halt a mining operation when ‘undue degradation’ is occurring or a scientific, biological or cultural resource is discovered. Many areas that may have potential would be inaccessible. No one in their right mind would provide funding for exploration or operations under the proposed conditions.
Under normal circumstances, I’d look at something like this, an idea which makes no common sense whatsoever, and write it off as just another proposed bill which will fail at some point in the legislative process. These, however, are by no means normal times, and the Democrats are by no means normal Americans. Never before have I seen a political party so hell bent on driving a country into the ground.
I’m not sure it matters that implementation of such regulations would mean the end of an industry, a gargantuan step back in terms of energy independence, hundreds of thousands of jobs lost, and a tremendous hit to the American economy. I’m not even sure it matters that there would likely be an adverse effect on the environment they purportedly want to protect, as operations shut down here would be stepped up in countries with less control on environmental impact.
Normally, I’d think that these sorts of things would matter to our lawmakers but now, more than ever, I think we see that the Democrats, in the majority, have no problem putting party before country, ideology before common sense.
If, after all, the Democrats cared about certain industries, we’d have seen a forced restructuring of American automakers. If they cared about energy independence and the creation of jobs, we’d see the expansion of oil drilling operations off our coasts and in ANWR. If they cared about the economy, we’d see fiscal restraint and responsibility. And if they truly cared about the environment–they don’t, as global warming is less about the globe and more about the global redistribution of wealth–they would not pursue measures like cap-and-trade, which would force more industry into nations like China and India with less pollution controls. They care about none of these things, and it’s about time we show the American public exactly where the Democrats’ loyalties lie . . . to party and to the perpetuation of power — not to the nation, or her people.
If the GOP in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio and the rest of the coal belt does not have news of this proposed legislation in the mailboxes and on the television of every American in those states, the party has failed. If the GOP does not ensure that mining families appear on cable news shows, explaining how their jobs could be secure but for increased federal government involvement, the party has failed.
And if all of us do not take a few minutes to explain the basic concepts behind this proposed legislation to everyone who will listen, and then remind them that President Barack Obama admitted that he wanted to “bankrupt” the coal industry, then we all have failed. His statements, remember, came from an interview used by the San Francisco Chronicle for a January 18, 2008 piece. Of course, the paper failed to mention Obama’s hope to bankrupt the coal industry. Nevertheless, his remarks:
What I’ve said is that we would put a cap and trade system in place that is as aggressive, if not more aggressive, than anybody else’s out there.
I was the first to call for a 100% auction on the cap and trade system, which means that every unit of carbon or greenhouse gases emitted would be charged to the polluter. That will create a market in which whatever technologies are out there that are being presented, whatever power plants that are being built, that they would have to meet the rigors of that market and the ratcheted down caps that are being placed, imposed every year.
So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.
Why stop at mere cap-and-trade, after all, when he can bankrupt the industry by weighing it down with excess regulation? Consequences be damned! Heck, isn’t that the rallying cry of this administration and Congress?
Now, I don’t know if this bill will pass. Honestly, I doubt it, but only because I cannot suspend disbelief enough to think that even the Democrats would be so stupid, politically or otherwise. Then again, if the environmental lobby is powerful enough to bring us cap-and-trade, a likely renewal of the offshore drilling ban, and all sorts of expensive and overbloated “green” projects, perhaps I shouldn’t shortchange those on the left when it comes to the total abandonment of common sense.
Still, likely to pass or not, it should be interesting to watch, as this particular bill is essentially a microcosm of liberal thought. Don’t like something? Regulate and tax it into oblivion! Consequences be damned!
After all, we’re seeing the very same thing happening at the hands of the Democrats with regard to capitalism and success.