I’ll admit, this morning’s Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources hearing had my head spinning. Similar to the committee’s previous hearings on the stream buffer zone rule, statements made by the Republican majority committee members could cause concerns as to who exactly they’re representing.
The hearing seemed staged to give committee members yet another opportunity to barrage Director of the Office of Surface Mining Joseph Pizarchik with criticism over the Obama administration’s proposed budget for OSM, which includes proposed changes to the Abandoned Mine Lands amendments of 2006, and the highly contested handling of a rewrite of the stream buffer zone rule, a controversial topic dating back several years. On a second panel, Appalachian Voices’ Director of Programs Dr. Matt Wasson gave testimony in support of the Administration’s rewrite of the stream buffer zone rule, using data on job creation to turn some committee members’ claims of regulations as job-killers on their head. (more…)