U.S. coal industry is sluggish

May 6, 2013 at 6:53 AM

WASHINGTON, May 6 (UPI) -- President Obama's so-called war on coal means the U.S. economy isn't performing as well as it should, the Republican-led House Natural Resources Committee said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week the U.S. economy created 165,000 jobs in April. The committee credited some of those gains to the energy sector, noting jobs in the oil and natural gas industry rose 4.3 percent last year.

"While the job numbers are encouraging for the oil and natural gas industry, the numbers could be even better if the Obama administration stopped blocking production on federal land and abandoned its war on coal," a statement from the committee said.

The committee said mining jobs were down 5.4 percent compared to the same time last year because of stricter regulations.

The International Energy Agency Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said last month the continued use of coal as an energy source was part of the reason there haven't been steady improvements in efforts to abate warmer temperature trends.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed measures in April to reduce water pollution in areas near power plants. Facilities would be required to install new pollution control measures through 2022, though the EPA said less than half of the 500 or so coal-fired plants in the United States would be directly affected because of technology already in place.

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