One of the difficult things about being a policy-minded environmental blogger these days is deciding what merits weighing in on. The House passes crazy measures rolling back environmental and health protections, and then the Senate…just does nothing with those bills. But on Friday, the House passed a monumentally terrible bill that is worth pointing out, as it would undo many laws—old and new—dealing with coal.
The "Stop the War on Coal Act" (H.R. 3409) would take away the power to regulate a lot of things—mountaintop-removal coal mining, greenhouse gas emissions, coal ash disposal, mercury and air toxins. Democrats on the Energy and Commerce Committee calls the the legislation the "single worst anti-environment bill to be considered in the House this Congress."
It's just all kinds of bad—throwing out many rules dealing with coal and preventing the EPA and the Department of Interior from regulating in the future. That includes both coal mining and coal burning in power plants. The House passed the bill by a vote of 233 to 175, which included 19 Democrats who voted for it as well. This is the last vote the House will take before the election, which is no coincidence. The bill isn't going pass; it's only meant to be an instrument to bludgeon Obama and other Democrats, which has been very clear from Republicans' remarks.