Ken Ward Jr. posted an amazing article on February 2, about the early, leaked results from an EIS report by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. Ward takes an interesting and pragmatic look at what these early results really mean to coal dependent areas like Appalachia.
The AP was the first to publish these results from the government document and many coalfield politicians have already come out against the findings in the study. However, Ward is able to show many discrepancies in their thinking and what the report really shows. The report does show jobs will be lost and production will decrease in certain areas, it does not take into account that production in those areas may already be on the decline.
So presumably, the OSMRE report does not consider the fact that Central Appalachian coal production is already projected to drop significantly over the next 10- to 20-years, regardless of the impacts of any regulatory changes. So we don’t know if the impacts projected in the OSMRE study would happen anyway, or if they would be additional impacts on top of those caused by other pressures on the region’s coal producers.
OSMRE has come out with a formal statement claiming that the EIS report is still in its early stages and it “doesn’t reflect (their) input or reviews”.