Washington, D.C.- Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, issued the following statement today in response to EPA's veto of the Spruce Mine project, a decision that destroys 280 good-paying jobs in West Virginia and undermines regulatory certainty and the rule of law.
"I have great respect for Administrator Jackson, but I strongly disagree with EPA's decision on the Spruce Mine," Senator Inhofe said. "The decision effectively means pink slips for 60 existing workers, and closes the door on an additional 220 new jobs in Logan County. For some, these jobs may seem trivial when considered against the larger economy. But for small communities in Appalachia, EPA's decision to end a project such as this is devastating-the jobs and economic prosperity it would bring are now likely gone.
"EPA's decision raises other fundamental questions of law. The permit for the Spruce Mine was approved two years ago. Yet today, EPA has taken the drastic and unprecedented step of removing a lawfully issued mining permit. This is regulatory overreach at its worst. The consequences for future investment are dire: the regulatory certainty so desperately needed to expand Appalachian communities has been severely undermined by this decision, as anyone contemplating future projects will no doubt hesitate, or even decide against, entering EPA's permit lottery.
"When the Obama Administration came into office, it decided that coal was not part of America's energy future. As my EPW Minority Report showed, EPA is obstructing 190 coal mining permits, putting nearly 18,000 jobs at risk. Simply put, workers and communities in the Rust Belt cannot afford EPA's agenda."