EPA launches Back-to-Basics agenda at Pennsylvania coal mine

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt visited the Harvey Mine in Sycamore, Pa., last week where he announced EPA’s Back-to-Basics agenda, cementing his earlier statement that the new administration has declared an end to the ‘war on coal’.

The War on Coal is Done: Pruitt

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt launched EPA: Back to Basics at Consol Energy mine in Pennsylvania. Photo: EPA

The agenda is a result of Pruitt’s initiative to refocus EPA on its intended mission, returning power to the states, and creating an environment where jobs can grow.

“The coal industry was nearly devastated by years of regulatory overreach, but with new direction from President Trump, we are helping to turn things around for these miners and for many other hard working Americans,” Pruitt told the miners at the Harvey Mine.

“Back-to-Basics means returning EPA to its core mission: protecting the environment by engaging with state, local, and tribal partners to create sensible regulations that enhance economic growth.”

Pruitt emphasized the Energy Independence Executive Order, which directs EPA and other federal agencies to review the Clean Power Plan and revise regulatory barriers that impede energy independence, including unnecessary burdens on coal miners and coal-fired electric utilities.

“Administrator Pruitt’s appearance should give confidence to coal communities across the country that the days when our government stands in opposition to them are over and that the appreciation they deserve for securing the nation’s energy supply for our manufacturing industries and families is finally at hand,” said Hal Quinn, President and CEO of the National Mining Association.

How EPA is going back to basics:

  • Following the President’s Energy Independence Executive Order, EPA Administrator Pruitt signed four notices to review and, if appropriate, to revise or rescind major, economically significant, burdensome rules the last Administration issued. This includes the so-called Clean Power Plan that threatens over 125,000 U.S. jobs.
  • EPA is restoring states’ important role in the regulation of local waters by reviewing the WOTUS (“waters of the U.S.”) rule.
  • EPA is clearing the backlog of new chemicals that were waiting approval from EPA, so they can go to market, and companies can innovate and create jobs.
  • EPA is helping states achieve high air quality targets, clean up toxic waste sites and improve America’s water infrastructure.
  • EPA rescinded an unjustified, premature evaluation of greenhouse gas and fuel economy standards for model year 2022-2025 vehicles, and is working with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) to conduct a collaborative and robust review of the standards.
  • The agency is reviewing the Oil and Gas Methane New Source Performance Standards for new and modified sources, to determine whether it is duplicative.
  • EPA is allocating funds for vital environmental projects that go directly to the health of our citizens, such as providing $100 million to upgrade drinking water infrastructure in Flint, Michigan.
  • EPA is stopping the methane Information Collection Request (ICR) by telling businesses they no longer have this additional bureaucratic burden, with the cost to American businesses attempting to comply exceeding $42 million.
  • Launched the EPA Regulatory Reform Task Force to undergo extensive reviews of the misaligned regulatory actions.


E&E News reported that dozens of employees from Consol Energy Inc.’s Harvey mine gathered to hear Pruitt. Jimmy Brock, CEO of a Consol subsidiary, CNX Coal Resources, said Trump was making good on his promise to “unleash” American energy.

“It’s no lie that in the industry in the last eight years, we’ve all felt a lot of pain,” he said, but “there’s always going to be a need for coal in the generation mix. We don’t know what percentage or what part that’s going to be, but we’re going to be part of it as long as we mine coal safely and compliantly and take care of the environment.”

For his part, Pruitt said it’s not necessary to be forced to choose between environmental protection and economic growth. “We need to listen and learn and pass common-sense regulations that ensure good outcomes for our environment but also recognize the importance of job growth,” Pruitt said. “We’re here today to partner.”




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