Freedom First Society

Roll Call 603 (9-21-12) H.R. 3409 Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012. (To limit the authority of the Secretary of the Interior to issue regulations before December 31, 2013, under the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977.)

Passed in House, 233 to 175, 21 not voting. Died in Senate.

Bill Summary:  H.R. 3409 was comprised of five separate bills designed to protect coal-mining jobs. It would have blocked almost any new regulation of the coal industry, given the states control over coal waste disposal and mining runoff, and stopped the EPA from regulating most greenhouse gas emissions. It also would have repealed and nullified a number of EPA rules and actions.

Analysis:  The Obama administration’s war on coal mining and coal plants has threatened far more than jobs in Appalachia. Its war on coal is just one part of a much bigger war targeting all existing major energy sources, which is seriously undermining America’s prosperity, productivity, and energy independence.   However, this war, waged under the effective, but phony pretext of protecting the environment, did not start with the Obama administration.  

On December 2, 1970, “Republican” President Nixon, through executive order, created the Environmental Protection Agency.   Within five years, environmental pressure groups could list these major victories in new federal regulations: the Clean Air Amendments Act; the Clean Water Act; the Endangered Species Act of 1973; the Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act; the Water Pollution Control Act; the Forest and Rangelands Renewable Resources Planning Act; the Marine Protection, Research and Sanctuaries Act; and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act.

Environmental groups succeeded with their legislative agenda not just because of well prepared lobbying in the halls of Congress, but more importantly because financial support from Establishment foundations enabled these groups to invest heavily in softening up the public with a barrage of doomsday propaganda.

In recent years, sufficient scientific dispute over the claims of Al Gore and company has reached the public to engender a healthy skepticism. Although that awakening may have slowed the green movement’s momentum, it has not undone the damage. And as long as the Insider Establishment dominates the leadership of both major political parties and the media of communications, we should not expect a reversal.

Indeed, H.R. 3409 was merely another GOP posturing measure clearly destined to go nowhere.   However, the roll call enabled one of the measure’s proponents to argue in its support:

“The true soldiers in this war are our coal miners who simply want to do their jobs and earn an honest living to provide for their families. I have been proud to stand in the trenches and fight with our miners and I was proud to stand with them in passing this legislation today.”

But merely passing legislation in the House is not enacting legislation. Perhaps the politicians who voted in favor of H.R. 3409 could stand proudly, but the miners and their families still had no relief.

Accordingly, we do not score the Republicans on this misleadingly empty attempt to address a real problem. But we do hold up the response of the House Democrats to scrutiny.

We have assigned (good vote) to the Ayes and (bad vote) to the Noes. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)

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