EPA head tells coal miners 'regulatory assault is over'

"The previous administration abused the regulatory process to advance an ideological agenda that expanded the reach of the federal government, often dismissing the technological and economic concerns raised by the regulated community and duplicating long-standing regulations by states and localities".

Miners at Consol's Harvey Mine in Greene County gathered before and after their shifts awaiting the arrival of Scott Pruitt - President Trump's top environmental official - who spoke the words they wanted to hear.

CNX spokesman Zachery Smith said the three mines employ 1,500 people, about the same number who worked there throughout the Obama administration.

Pruitt, a climate change denier and longtime ally of the fossil fuel industry, claimed that coal, oil and gas companies are both pro-environment and pro-growth.

The EPA regulations on chemical plants came to fruition following an Obama-era executive order signed in 2013 to revisit those regulations following the West Texas accident.

Penn Future's Larry Schweiger said a rollback of restrictions will have no effect since coal is quickly being replaced by cheap and bountiful natural gas.

"It's been said that you can't have your cake and eat it too, and I'll tell you, whoever says that doesn't know what you're supposed to do with cake", Pruitt said Thursday, adding, "The regulatory assault is over".

Brock said while everyone in the coal industry has "felt a lot of pain" over the past eight years, they always believed there would still be a need for coal.

The EPA did not immediately offer comment Wednesday about the reasoning behind the request.

"Lets look at what the past (Obama) administration achieved", Pruitt said. Could the Trump administration be opening another door that, in a few weeks, they may wish they had left shut?

On behalf of ACE's 500 members, executive vice president Brian Jennings provided the EPA with the following recommendations to tackle regulatory burdens, which unnecessarily limit the production and use of ethanol and stall job creation and economic growth in rural America.

Last year, parts of at least 22 states were identified as unlikely to meet the standards, according to a 2015 Bloomberg BNA survey of state environmental agencies.

"Pruitt is undermining our last chance to avoid climate disruption", PennFuture President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Schweiger said.

Sharon Pillar, a consultant for Environmental Entrepreneurs, noted that clean energy jobs far outstrip mining jobs, with 3 million nationally and 70,000 in Pennsylvania.

A new EPA budget proposal, obtained by the Washington Post, calls for 10 new full-time security personnel to staff a round-the-clock detail for EPA administrator Scott Pruitt-an unprecedented level of protection for his position.

  • Eleanor Harrison