From The Tribune-Review, January 4, 2013
Waging war on the coal industry and not letting the truth stand in the way of its far-left, anti-economic growth agenda, the Obama administration fudged figures to make a proposed coal-mining regulation seem less of an economic threat.
An Interior Department watchdog’s report, first cited by The Washington Times, says the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement told a contractor to switch to another set of baseline criteria after media reports in January 2011 revealed the initial set yielded projections of 7,000 job losses and a broad decline in coal production. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and other coal-state senators reacted with a letter telling the administration it could not “discard the economic analysis because it does not like the results.”
The watchdog report documents damning internal discussions and emails, revealing that the administration’s preferred baseline criteria involved a 2008 modification of the “Stream Protection Rule” that had been challenged in court and therefore enforced only in Tennessee and on Indian lands. An executive with a subcontractor working on the economic-impact projections told Congress in November 2011 that the 2008 baseline would “create a ‘fabricated’ scenario that would show less impact and ‘soften’ production losses,” the watchdog report says.
Appalling? Yes. Shocking? Not from an administration whose default position is lying about its radical policies’ ruinous economic fallout, from environmental regulations to ObamaCare.