The following statement was released today by National Mining Association (NMA) President & CEO Hal Quinn in response to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s analysis of employment impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency’s virtual moratorium on coal mining permits throughout Appalachia:

“The Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee minority staff analysis released today by Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the committee, documents that hold-ups in coal mining permits by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) threaten tens of thousands of jobs throughout Appalachia and scores of local businesses that provide services to coal operations or depend upon coal for their power needs.  

“EPA, according to the report, has allowed only 45 of the 235 Clean Water Act (CWA) permits to be issued that were pending on Jan. 1, 2009, and had been reviewed by state regulatory bodies and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  As a result, coal mining communities throughout Appalachia remain concerned about their economic futures, and this report carefully documents the human toll extracted by EPA’s ongoing review and new guidance on coal mining permits. 

“The report confirms that EPA is threatening the highest paying jobs in the region at a time when federal, state and local governments are all attempting to pull this country out of the worst economic recession in decades.  EPA’s policies undermine those efforts.  Coal mining jobs are vital to the economic and social fabric of communities throughout Appalachia, and the lawful permits EPA continues to review are necessary for continued employment at nearly 200 operations throughout the region.”