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Technology presently available and under development alike, can turn this abundant energy supply into liquids, solids, and gases that offer clean, efficient substitutes for the increasingly expensive foreign oil that we are now using to heat our homes, fire our boilers, and run our automobiles.
Currently, we are on the verge of developing clean, synthetic fuels from coal through the processes known as solvent refined coal I and II, or SRC I and SRC II.
In the case of SRC II, the pilot plant in this project could be in place by 1984, and within a few years, several other plants could be constructed that would put a substantial dent in our imports of foreign No. 6 fuel oil, which we are now importing at a rate of approximately 2 million barrels per day. However, given our present energy crunch we should proceed full speed ahead with construction of both the SRCI and SRC II demonstration coal conversion plants. Major steps towards the national energy goal of using domestic coal resources could be achieved with these two technologies while meeting or exceeding all present environmental standards.
Unfortunately and paradoxically, at the very time that we need to be increasing our production and use of coal, a welter of Federal regulations, agencies, and red tape is restricting our ability to increase such production. There are at least nine programs spread among seven Federal agencies that, in combination, act as a dead hand on the coal industry's efforts to expand production, as the President requested many months ago. There are Clean Air and Clean Water Regulations administered by EPA; Mine Safety and Health Administration; Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and the black lung program under the Department of Labor; environmental controls and surface mining regulations are issued from the Interior Department; economic and production policies are authored in the Department of Energy; anti-dumping rules are controlled by the Treasury Department; and international trade policies are set by the Office of the Special Trade Representative. The result too often is a regulatory nightmare that produces paralysis in the coal industry.
For example, the Environmental Protection Agency, which has authority to issue water discharge permits under the Clean Water Act, recently had under review the regulations from the Office of Surface Mining, which required an entirely different procedure for obtaining a water discharge permit. Though the EPA deputy assistant administrators acknowledge the discrepancy and duplication in these conflicting regulations, nothing has been done to eliminate or adjust the problems. The EPA went ahead and approved the duplicate OSM regulations with no changes being made in the water permit procedure.
More specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of the Interior Department, by giving neither favorable nor neutral comments on a section 404 permit of the Clean Water Act, under the jurisdiction of the Army Corps of Engineers in this case, have held up for more than 14 months the construction of railroad sidings to serve a coal mine near Pigeon Creek, in Mingo, County, W. Va. The investment in developing this mine is more than $100 million. When and if this mine reaches full production, it is estimated that it will yield approximately 3.5 million tons of coal a year, or one-half of 1 percent of the total coal production in the United
States in 1978. A mine of this magnitude must ship an average of 10,000 tons of coal a day in at least one hundred 100-ton coal cars. This quantity of coal can only be shipped if a railroad siding is available. Hence, our national energy needs and coal production are stymied because of one single bureaucratic twist.
Another frustrating case is the problem of coke importation and its impact on domestic coke production. Under current coke importation rates, 10 million tons of imported coke are being brought into this country annually. This is the equivalent of 14 million tons of domestic metallurgical coal production, and there is a hint that "dumping" of the foreign coke may be discovered. The Treasury Department has failed to curb the possible importation of "dumped" coke.
Pursuant to EPA initiated court action Sharon Steel Company of Fairmont has agreed to a consent order to shut down because of coke oven emissions. Even more puzzling is the refusal of EPA to approve a plan for coke emission controls submitted by National Steel of Weirton, W. Va. which has already received the approval of the West Virginia Air Pollution Control Commission. This action may force the closure of some existing coke ovens that are using domestic coal. The result of this will be that more American miners will be put out of their jobs.
We have 7,000 out of jobs, Senator Randolph, as you know and 2,000 or 1,500 more working on less than a 5-day week, and thousands of additional coal miners could lose their jobs.
Presently, EPA is considering issuing more stringent sulphur dioxide emission standards. This has caused genuine concern among those interested in the use of coal. The most stringent proposed standards could have the effect of eliminating vast quanitities of Eastern, Midwestern and Southern coal from use in meeting our energy requirements.
While a stringent new standard would not appreciably improve the air quality over the present standard, the most stringent proposed standard could be devastating to the coal industry, and thousands of coal miners would lose their jobs in West Virginia alone. Mines could be forced to close, and under the most severe alternative proposed, almost one-half of this country's readily available coal reserves would be put off limits. Moreover, the most stringent proposed standards would discriminate against Eastern and Midwestern coal.
Certainly, we must maintain our concern for improving the environmental quality across America. But Congress never intended to precipitate economic stagnation, massive unemployment, regulatory harassment, or energy shortages in the passage of environmental laws.
Policy should not be promulgated in a vacuum. The decisions of the President, the Departments of Energy and Interior, and of EPA must be coordinated, and the implications of agency decisions for inflation, employment, national security, and international trade should be taken into consideration in issuing any regulations or restrictions.
Contradictory or irrational rules and prodecures only detract from or thwart the intentions of Congress in passing environmental legislation, and certainly do not promote the goal of energy self-sufficiency.
In view of the maze of confusion that all of the regulations and agencies have fostered, I would propose that one way to solve this dilemma would be for the President to appoint one person on the White House staff to promote the use of domestic energy and to eliminate Federal impediments to the expanded use of domestic energy re
sources including the coordination of all Federal policies, prodecures, rules, and regulations related to the mining and utilization of coal. Such a person and his staff could assist this country dramatically in helping to reach our goal of energy independence.
Mr. Chairman, once again I thank you for the chance to present my ideas and concerns. These are just some of the problem areas that are facing the coal industry. In addition to the examples cited above, I have received many complaints about the Office of Surface Mining regulations, which are causing problems for both surface and underground mining. My constituents feel that the OSM regulations go beyond the performance standards set in the act, and that State flexibility in drafting design criteria to meet local needs has virtually been eliminated.
They have expressed concern over design criteria for sediment ponds. The West Virginia State Reclamation Chief, Pete Pitsenbarger has stated he will not approve permits with dams the size needed to meet OSM's effluent limits.
My constituents advise me that strict new requirements on bonding and insurance for reclamation has resulted in bonding industry refusing to provide bonds to permittees.
In addition, there is a general feeling that the time frames are too rigid and the information required is too technical and too voluminous to include in a permit application.
We will also have to look at the future effects resulting from implementation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and, if enacted, railroad deregulation to assess our ability to maintain or increase the production of coal. I hope that ways will be found to end. the Federal confusions that are so often tying the hands of the men and women of the coal industry, who possess the resources to combat the energy crunch facing us, if we will allow them to accomplish the task they are most capable of doing, without unnecessary interference and restriction.
Senator HUDDLESTON. Thank you, Senator Byrd. Let me ask just. one question. Do you have any feeling for what the sentiment might be in the Senate for a reevaluation of our policy as it relates to greater dependence on domestic energy, and whether or not there is some interest in developing policies and a plan that would bring about greater utilization of coal?
Senator BYRD. I think that there is a strong sentiment, Mr. Chairman, that recognizes the unwisdom and dependence upon foreign sources of energy, certainly to the extent that that dependence now exists.
I think there is also a recognition that this country's national security rests to a considerable degree on a thin line of tankers spread around the world and with that growing recognition is a feeling I believe that this country is going to have to do more to develop its alternative forms of energy,
We have been taught quite a lesson if we will but learn, but while we are developing alternative forms of energy-and we are all in favor of doing this for too long those others from our States, your State and mine and other coal producting States have urged the Federal Government in various administrations and myself beginning with the Eisenhower administration, these administrations, Republican and
Democratic have pretty much turned deaf ears alike to us and there was some reason, of course, because it was costly to attempt to clean up coal, to use a clean solid and clean gas when the producers were not competitive. Those were the days when we were wasting even more now, I suppose, per capita when energy was dirt cheap. Now we have been brought face-to-face with reality and we find that we are years late in the development of these alternative forms and we are all in favor of the development of solar energy, of course, and geothermal and wind and tidal and all of the other forms, but while we are developing these we have got to be using energy and I was dismayed, perplexed and shocked to a degree when this "moral equivalent of war" about which the President so eloquently spoke a year or so ago evaporated completely when he delivered his state of the Union address this year. Less than one dozen words were spoken-there were 11 to be exact with respect to energy. Not one word with regard to coal. But, Mr. Chairman, coal is the resource that can provide the energy which this country needs and were it not for the regulations that hamstring and straightjacket the industry in so many instances the coal industry would be producing a lot more coal and it would be less unemployment.
Yes, Mr. Chairman, I see this sentiment growing. I feel that there is a growing recognition of the terrible potential peril to our security; a growing awareness of the impact on our economy, on inflation, on employment, on the strength of the guard, and with that growing concern and recognition is an advancing awareness that there are regulations that overlap and that indeed, are not needed to provide for the Nation's health.
I think that this committee and the action it has taken will help to crystalize and act as a catalyst in promoting this sentiment which I think exists.
Senator HUDDLESTON. I think if we can identify those regulations and requirements that do not seem to be absolutely necessary or even those that may have a marginal desirable purpose, that that may be some justification for thinking about temporary waivers or changes to bring about a more immediate use of coal. Then, as we go down the road with our research and development and find the methods to make coal a cleaner burning fuel, we can reinstitute the stringent environmental requirements that we have at the present time.
Senator BYRD. I think, Mr. Chairman, that there is an overzealousness on the part of some of the people in the bureaucraciestheir intentions are good-but they have never been near a coal mine least inside of one and they really do not know the problems that exist.
Senator HUDDLESTON. They may not get near a gasoline station in the future.
Senator BYRD. That is right.
Senator HUDDLESTON. Unless we change some of our policies.
Senator BYRD. I think in their overzealousness they have created problems that the Congress never foresaw and never intended. They have gone beyond the intent of Congress in many instances I feel, and I think my constituents express that feeling in their letters to me. Senator HUDDLESTON. I thank you, very much.
Does Senator Randolph wish to pose any questions to his colleague?
STATEMENT OF HON. JENNINGS RANDOLPH, A U.S. SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF WEST VIRGINIA
Senator RANDOLPH. I may not pose any questions but I have some comment.
We are delighted, of course, that the majority leader is testifying as the first witness this morning. I want you to know, Bob, I am not a member of this committee, but Senator Huddleston as you know, has had an intense interest in all of this problem, hopefully, problem solving. He has given me the opportunity to sit with him as other Members of the Senate who are not just members of the committee because the issue as you well know is coal, and the problem is the production and use of coal.
I wish to commend you, Mr. Leader, for your initiative in bringing into being in recent days what is called the "Coal Caucus." Now, that has no standing as a committee appointed through the Senate itself by the provisions of committee structure, but it is an informal group and it is a very active group and your initiative in that matter we very much appreciate. When Chairman Huddleston asked you about the feeling in the Senate, I think that is one of the best indications of the feeling in the Senate because now Senator Ford of Kentucky and my colleague Senator Huddleston is the so-called chairman representing not the majority so much but he is a Democrat and then you asked and very properly so, the minority leader, Senator Baker, to join so there would be no partisanship in this approach to the problem of coal and Senator Heinz of Pennsylvania is chairing with Senator Ford this responsibility. I am not certain of the numbers now of this informal group, but I believe some 21 or 22 are there, and hopefully it will grow.
That shows the impact within the Senate, other Members who are not just interested in talking the situation over but frankly, in going to the White House as a group, has already gone and talked with the President himself and keeping in close touch with the departments within our Federal Government that should have and do have roles in this promotion of coal because that needs to be carried forward now, the promotion, production, and marketing of this product.
Why do I say that? I think it is very important that we keep in mind that the indications of the President some time ago and you and others in the Senate, are rather earnestly reminding him what was earlier said and what, in a sense, seems to be forgotten. I know the problems on the desk of the President are many and they are very difficult, but you, today, have mentioned as I have the privilege of sharing yesterday some thoughts on the bonding companies and their difficulties in connection with especially the surface mining industry in West Virginia and other States. I did not know that you were going to testify, but I am glad I came in time to hear you because in connection with bonding, I addressed the question to Mr. Heinz as to what was being done in connection with the complaints of the bonding companies.
In essence, they were saying they cannot act any more; we have to close down our business of bonding with the coal companies. He assured us in the record, Mr. Chairman, he indicates that that matter is now being alleviated; that it is being taken care of within the agency