Congressman Andy Barr claims he has worked to end job-killing coal regulations by rolling back pesky environmental protections. He says his actions benefit average Kentuckians, when in fact they mostly benefit businesses.
Those protections were designed to reduce the high rates of asthma, heart attacks and deaths Kentucky experiences due to coal and the pollution it produces. Health problems cost over $450 million a year to residents of the 6th District and cost 59 lives in 2012 alone.
If there’s any question about where Barr’s true loyalties lie, look no further than H.R. 4289, a bill Barr co-sponsored to repeal disclosure requirements related to coal and mine safety. It strikes down the need for coal operators to report in Securities and Exchange Commission filings (seen by investors) their mine-safety violations, fatalities, flagrant violations, assessments from the Mine Safety and Health Administration and pending legal action.
Both miners and their job prospects would be better served by more openness regarding mine operations and their responsiveness to investor concerns. This was another obvious effort to ignore the health and safety of coal miners and risks to investors. Barr is unwinding public protections by eliminating the obligations of business owners to be accountable or responsible.