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112th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     112-670

======================================================================



 
COAL MINER EMPLOYMENT AND DOMESTIC ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION ACT

                                _______
                                

 September 13, 2012.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

 Mr. Hastings of Washington, from the Committee on Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 3409]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Natural Resources, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 3409) to limit the authority of the Secretary of 
the Interior to issue regulations before December 31, 2013, 
under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, 
having considered the same, report favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                          PURPOSE OF THE BILL

    The purpose of H.R. 3409 is to limit the authority of the 
Secretary of the Interior to issue regulations before December 
31, 2013, under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act 
of 1977.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    The Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy 
Infrastructure Protection Act (H.R. 3409) limits the authority 
of the Secretary of the Interior to issue regulations under the 
Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 until 
December 31, 2013. The bill allows additional time for the 
Office of Surface Mining (OSM) to meet the requirements of the 
National Environmental Policy Act and generate a legally 
defensible ``Stream Buffer zone'' regulation. It also addresses 
the concerns raised by the cooperating agencies, coal mining 
States, citizens and industry raised in the April 2011 Energy 
and Mineral Resources Subcommittee oversight hearing for the 
OSM Fiscal Year 2012 budget, and subsequent oversight hearings 
on the Obama Administration's re-write of the Stream Buffer 
Zone regulation.
    In January 2011, documents prepared by independent 
contractor, Polu Kai Services, LLC (PKS) to support the Obama 
Administration's Stream Buffer Zone rule making, were leaked to 
the press. The press reported that the preferred alternative in 
the re-written rule would result in the loss of over 7,000 jobs 
and place an additional 29,000 people below the poverty level 
in the Appalachian basin. In addition, coal production would 
decrease or stay flat in 22 states.
    Shortly after these figures became public, the 
Administration backed away from these job loss estimates and 
began to publicly criticize PKS, who had been hired by OSM to 
prepare the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the 
regulation under the National Environmental Policy Act. 
Eventually OSM and PKS came to a mutual agreement to terminate 
the contract. While OSM blames the contractor for problems with 
the EIS, the contractor has raised concerns with OSM's 
management of the process, in particular the numerous changes 
to the scope of the rule the EIS was to support.
    On November 4, 2011, the Energy and Mineral Resources 
Subcommittee held an oversight hearing titled ``Jobs at Risk: 
Waste and Mismanagement by the Obama Administration in 
Rewriting the Stream Buffer Zone Rule.'' During the hearing, 
OSM Director Joseph Pizarchik stated to Congressman Doug 
Lamborn (R-CO) regarding job loss numbers that ``the numbers 
which you refer to were numbers that the contractor put 
together. Those numbers were fabricated based on placeholder 
numbers and have no basis in fact.'' Further, he agreed with 
Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) that the ``contractor, PKS, was 
incomplete and inaccurate.''
    On March 5, 2012, ENVIRON International Corporation 
released a summary of the results of a preliminary analysis of 
the anticipated economic impacts of OSM's proposed rule. 
ENVIRON's findings support the job loss estimates that were 
leaked to the press in January 2011. Despite the problems that 
Director Pizarchik prescribes to the contractors, it does not 
change that OSM committed, through a legal settlement, to a 
compressed schedule for what has evolved into a comprehensive 
re-write of regulations governing coal mining in the United 
States.
    After the release of the ENVIRON report, the Committee held 
a hearing on July 19, 2012 during which Director Pizarchik 
backtracked from his previous allegation that the reported 
numbers were simply placeholders. After discussing documents 
that show the job loss numbers would be devastating to the 
American people, Director Pizarchik was asked whether he 
continued ``to assert that those were `placeholders'.'' 
Director Pizarchik responded that, ``At the time I made that 
statement, the information I had that those were placeholders 
numbers, and as I understood placeholders, that they did not 
have any basis in fact . . . But I have since learned that 
their definition of placeholder was different than was my 
understanding.''
    As a result, this Administration knows that their preferred 
regulations would cause thousands of Americans to lose their 
jobs, and would cause economic harm in at least 22 states and 
widespread economic displacement to tens of thousands of more 
Americans. However, according to the OSM Director on July 19th, 
they still are ``making our best efforts to get it completed as 
soon as possible.''
    H.R. 3409 limits the authority of the Secretary of the 
Interior to issue regulations under the Surface Mining Control 
and Reclamation Act of 1977 before December 31, 2013, that 
would: (1) adversely impact employment in coal mines in the 
United States; (2) cause a reduction in revenue received by the 
federal government or any State, tribal, or local government, 
by reducing through regulation the amount of coal in the United 
States that is available for mining; (3) reduce the amount of 
coal available for domestic consumption or for export; (4) 
designate any area as unsuitable for surface coal mining and 
reclamation operations; or (5) expose the United States to 
liability for taking the value of privately owned coal through 
regulation. OSM is not responsible for mine safety regulations.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    H.R. 3409 was introduced on November 14, 2011, by 
Congressman Bill Johnson (R-OH). The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Natural Resources, and within the Committee to the 
Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. On November 18, 
2011, the Subcommittee held a hearing on a draft version of the 
bill. On February 29, 2012, the Full Natural Resources 
Committee met to consider the bill. The Subcommittee on Energy 
and Mineral Resources was discharged by unanimous consent. 
Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) offered amendment designated .001 
to the bill; the amendment was not adopted by a bipartisan roll 
call vote of 18 to 26, as follows:


    The bill was then adopted and ordered favorably reported to 
the House of Representatives by a bipartisan roll call vote of 
26 to 18, as follows:


            COMMITTEE OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

    Regarding clause 2(b)(1) of rule X and clause 3(c)(1) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
Committee on Natural Resources' oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the body of this report.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH HOUSE RULE XIII

    1. Cost of Legislation. Clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives requires an estimate and 
a comparison by the Committee of the costs which would be 
incurred in carrying out this bill. However, clause 3(d)(2)(B) 
of that rule provides that this requirement does not apply when 
the Committee has included in its report a timely submitted 
cost estimate of the bill prepared by the Director of the 
Congressional Budget Office under section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974. Under clause 3(c)(3) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
403 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has 
received the following cost estimate for this bill from the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office:

H.R. 3409--Coal Miner Employment and Domestic Energy Infrastructure 
        Protection Act

    H.R. 3409 would temporarily prohibit the Secretary of the 
Interior from issuing new regulations that would have certain 
impacts on the coal industry. Based on information provided by 
the Office of Surface Mining (OSM), CBO estimates that 
implementing the legislation would have no significant impact 
on the federal budget. Enacting the bill would not affect 
direct spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go 
procedures do not apply.
    Under the bill, the Secretary could not issue new 
regulations until the end of 2013 if those regulations would 
affect the coal industry in certain ways, such as reducing 
employment or limiting access to coal resources. CBO expects 
that the bill would probably not affect any proposed 
regulations currently in the rulemaking process. In addition, 
based on information provided by OSM, CBO expects that any 
regulations proposed in the future would not be issued before 
the end of 2013 and would not be affected by the enactment of 
the bill. Therefore, we estimate that implementing H.R. 3409 
would have at most a minimal impact on the federal budget.
    H.R. 3409 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Jeff LaFave. The 
estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.
    2. Section 308(a) of Congressional Budget Act. As required 
by clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives and section 308(a) of the Congressional Budget 
Act of 1974, this bill does not contain any new budget 
authority, spending authority, credit authority, or an increase 
or decrease in revenues or tax expenditures. Based on 
information provided by the Office of Surface Mining, CBO 
estimates that implementing the legislation would have no 
significant impact on the federal budget.
    3. General Performance Goals and Objectives. As required by 
clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII, the general performance goal or 
objective of this bill is to limit the authority of the 
Secretary of the Interior to issue regulations before December 
31, 2013, under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act 
of 1977.

                           EARMARK STATEMENT

    This bill does not contain any Congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined 
under clause 9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of rule XXI of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives.

                    COMPLIANCE WITH PUBLIC LAW 104-4

    This bill contains no unfunded mandates as defined under 
Public Law 104-4.

                PREEMPTION OF STATE, LOCAL OR TRIBAL LAW

    This bill is not intended to preempt any State, local or 
tribal law.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    If enacted, this bill would make no changes in existing 
law.

                            Dissenting Views

                              ----------                              


DISSENTING VIEWS--H.R. 3409: COAL MINER EMPLOYMENT AND DOMESTIC ENERGY 
                     INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION ACT

    We oppose H.R. 3409 because it is so broadly drafted that 
it could have the effect of preventing the Interior Department 
from issuing almost any rulemaking dealing with coal mining, 
including regulations that are necessary to ensure states can 
properly carry out their programs, regulations that would 
ensure that mining operations are safe and that public health 
and American taxpayers are protected, and even regulations 
beneficial to the mining industry.
    The intent of H.R. 3409 appears to be to prevent the 
Interior Department from revising a Bush Administration 
midnight regulation that significantly weakened protections on 
the destructive practice of Mountaintop Removal Mining. 
Mountaintop Removal Mining is one the most environmentally 
destructive practices on earth, which has fouled water quality 
and destroyed nearly 2,000 miles of Appalachian streams since 
1992. However, H.R. 3409 is drafted so that its impact would be 
much broader than just this one rulemaking. H.R. 3409 would 
prevent the Secretary of the Interior from issuing any 
regulation under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act 
(SMCRA) through December 31, 2013, if the regulation would, 
among other things, prohibit coal mining in any area, reduce 
employment in coal mines, or reduce coal production.
    Prohibiting any rulemaking based upon the criteria in H.R. 
3409 would be inconsistent with the purposes of SMCRA as 
outlined in section 102(f) to ``strike a balance between 
protection of the environment and agricultural productivity and 
the nation's need for coal as an essential source of energy.'' 
In fact, this legislation could have far-reaching and 
significant unintended consequences for the regulation of 
mining activities in the United States.
    According to the Interior Department, this legislation 
could prevent the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) from approving 
state program amendments to improve mine-reclamation bonding 
programs, which could adversely affect the ability of states to 
ensure that the necessary funds are available to reclaim mine 
sites. It could prevent OSM from revising regulations governing 
temporary cessation of operations to ensure that mining 
operations are temporarily shut down in a way that protects the 
environment. It could prohibit OSM from developing guidelines 
and requirements for the use of Coal Combustion Residues for 
reclamation activities on active and abandoned coal mine sites. 
According to data from the state of Pennsylvania, disposing of 
coal ash in a landfill costs industry five times as much as 
beneficially using it at a mine. So this legislation could 
actually lead to increased costs for the mining industry if it 
were to be enacted.
    The Majority rejected an amendment from Energy and Minerals 
Ranking Member Holt that would have simply ensured that the 
Secretary can continue to issue regulations that are 
``necessary to protect public health or safety or to ensure a 
proper return to American taxpayers.'' Mr. Holt's amendment 
would have ensured that we don't completely tie the hands of 
the Interior Department when it comes to regulating coal mining 
in the United States and protecting safety and public health, 
as the underlying bill would do.
    We oppose H.R. 3409 because not only would it prevent 
regulation to protect the economy and the environment of the 
Appalachia region from destructive Mountaintop Removal Mining 
practices but it would also make mining less safe and threaten 
public health. We should allow the Interior Department to 
continue to do its job and ensure that our mining operations 
are safe and that we protect our workers, public health and 
American taxpayers.

                                   Edward J. Markey, Ranking Member, 
                                       Committee on Natural Resources.
                                   Raul M. Grijalva.
                                   Niki Tsongas.
                                   Grace F. Napolitano.
                                   Madeleine Z. Bordallo.
                                   Ben Ray Lujan.
                                   Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan.
                                   Paul Tonko.
                                   Dale E. Kildee.
                                   Rush D. Holt.