Sen. James Inhofe (R. Okla.) announced on a webcast hosted by the conservative group, FreedomWorks, earlier this week that he plans to kill the EPA’s new mercury emissions rule for power plants. The resolution, S.J. Res. 37, can be brought to the Senate floor by Sen.Inhofe at any point.
The rule that Sen. Inhofe wants to kill is estimated to save 11,000 lives, prevent 130,000 asthma attacks and avoid 4,700 heart attacks. It would also have economic benefits of up to $90 billion per year. But Sen. Inhofe believes the plan is to kill coal which he says “runs this machine called America.”
However, coal now only makes up 36% of our energy, down from 44.6% just a year earlier. Coal is a fossil fuel which we are running out of and the coal that is left is getting harder and more dangerous to get. And while coal does provide some jobs what has really hurt the number of coal mining jobs is the coal industry itself.
“Historically in the U.S. the prevalent method of coal acquisition was underground mining, a process that is very labor-intensive. Through the use of explosives and large machinery, MTR (Mountaintop Removal) mining can extract more than two and a half times as much coal per worker per hour than in traditional underground mines, thus greatly reducing the number of workers needed. The industry lost approximately 10,000 jobs from 1990 to 1997, as MTR and other more mechanized mining methods became more widely used.”- read more
And Sen. Inhofe did admit that mercury is a “real pollutant” and that the Clean Air Act has been good,
“If you look at the Clean Air regulations they were good. They worked. If you look back to the Bush administration we had the clear skies act that they refused to act on that would have done away with SO2, NOx, mercury, real pollutants.”
However, he still feels this rule is not a good thing. And while his resolution is not expected to pass, it’s important that all that are concerned about clean air reach out to Sen. Inhofe and let him know. Jobs are very important but so is our health. Clean energy creates jobs as well, so let’s tell Sen. Inhofe that those are the jobs we want, along with cleaner air.
How do you feel about Sen. Inhofe’s position on the EPA”s mercury rule? Let us know in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.
Photo credit: Rennett Stowe
About the Author
Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and freelance writer. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.