Continuing their march to ignore evidence, make stuff up, and push for an entirely rampant and unregulated coal industry, coal-bound legislators have introduced what they are calling the “Electric Reliability Protection Act” (HR 6113). If signed into law, this bill would defund EPA’s efforts to protect Appalachian citizens from the toxic valleyfills associated with mountaintop removal. In addition, the Representatives assert that the Obama Administration’s very attempt to protect citizens from toxic drinking water is indeed a threat to national security, which we’ll go into below. This is an election season bill that has little chance of passage. However, stunts like this allow Congressmen like Nick Rahall to prove that he needs Don Blankenship’s support more than he needs his constituents to have clean water, a decent job, or an average lifespan. This legislation is as cowardly as it is nihilistic, and just as irresponsible.
Of course, one of Senator Byrd’s final messages was that a majority of Congress opposes mountaintop removal, and it certainly shows in the lack of support for HR 6113. While a good bill like the Clean Water Protection Act (HR 1310) has 172 bipartisan cosponsors, HR 6113 has just 15, nearly all of them with some vested interest in the coal industry.