One of the last votes taken by the 112th Congress was HR 3409, and 233 members of the House of Representatives, mostly Republicans, voted in favor of it, saying it will save jobs. They named the legislation “The Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012.”
“Those who believe that there is no war on coal are in dangerous denial.The actions of this administration against coal have caused massive uncertainty in the marketplace,” said Rep. David McKinley, (R-WV).
Inside the bill, there were massive restrictions on environmental regulations, which supporters say cost the coal industry millions and prevent it from expanding.
“This bill takes a lot of simple and long overdue steps to reign in the Obama administration’s out of control EPA which is waging all-out war on American energy and coal is at the heart of that war,” said Rep. Ralph Hall (R- TX).
Opponents however call it the “polluter’s bill of rights.” They say it makes the air less safe to breathe, blocks efforts to safely dispose of coal ash and severely weakens the Clean Water Act.
Some lawmakers said it’s hypocritical to talk about the immorality of passing along debt to future generations and then support this.
“Bills like this one are piling another form of debt on our children,” said Rep Theodore Deutch (D-FL).“We are leaving them to deal with the consequences of letting coal companies that pollute the air that our children breathe and the water that they drink.”
The issue is one that’s already become part of the national presidential campaign.
Energy is of course a hot topic in every election.And like so many of the bills drawn up and voted on in congress, The Stop the war on coal legislation never stood a chance of actually becoming law. Overall this highlights a broader question – what do lawmakers actually get done? At a cost of $4.8 million a day, just to fund the House of Representatives, it’s an issue that warrants a closer look.