We haven’t yet mentioned the “Stop the War on Coal Act” in these humble pages, for four reasons. First, there is not a “war on coal,” though the world would be a better place if there were. Second, the legislation is basically an attempt to troll advocates for the environment, so to Hell with that. Third, it’s not going to pass the Senate, and even if it did, Obama wouldn’t sign it, and even if it did and Obama lost and it came before Romney, he wouldn’t sign it. Fourth, it’s so deeply, cynically political that it’s embarrassing.
… would take away the power to regulate a lot of things — mountaintop-removal coal mining, greenhouse gas emissions, coal ash disposal, mercury and air toxins. …
It’s just all kinds of bad — throwing out many rules dealing with coal and preventing the EPA and the Department of Interior from regulating in the future. That includes both coal mining and coal burning in power plants.
The bill was passed in the House 233 to 175 on Friday, the last thing members did before walking out the doors of the Capitol and down the marble stairs into the sunset. AP summarizes their triumphant year:
The most partisan, least productive Congress in memory is bolting Washington for the campaign trail, leaving in its wake a pile of unfinished business on the budget and taxes, farm policy and legislation to save the Postal Service from insolvency.
The GOP-controlled House beat its retreat Friday morning after one last, futile slap at President Barack Obama — passing a bill called the “Stop the War on Coal Act.”
This Congress — well, this House — was such a complete and utter embarrassment that it’s an affront to the concept of democracy. If I’d heard that the House passed a bill that gave me a million dollars a year and donated the same to my favorite charities, I’d speak out against it simply because I’d know it was a terrible bill since the House passed it. Any legislation that came out of the chamber over the past six months should be stamped with a Mr. Yuk sticker and buried in Yucca Mountain.
These cynical jerks are guffawing in their town cars on the way to the airport right now, smacking each other on the back as they celebrate the political coup they delivered to President Obama. Which they didn’t, of course. The only state that gives half a shit about coal that makes any difference in the presidential race is Ohio, and Obama’s up at least three points there and gaining. The areas that care about coal in the state are the areas next to Kentucky and West Virginia, and those areas aren’t voting for Obama anyway.
There’s no goddamn war on coal. There’s a war on pollution; there’s a futile Maginot of an effort to slightly slow down the rate at which we’re dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. And the duly elected representatives of these great United States are defecating out nonsense gimmicks in an attempt to put three little points on the board in a game where they’re coming off the bench.
The Republican leadership in the House of Representatives could not care less about the legacy it is leaving for its party, its districts, or the United States. They can’t draw a straight fucking line between the worst drought in decades and the coal plants that, day in and day out, belch out pollution. Someday someone will come to you, honorable members, or to your kids or to your grandkids and ask why you didn’t do anything to halt the pollution even while you cashed the coal industry’s checks. That will probably be less pleasant than whatever fundraiser you’re headed to tomorrow night.