The Republican-led U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources is preparing to look into the Western U.S. coal industry. The Associated Press reports that when the committee gavels in Tuesday, July 9, GOP leaders hope to "highlight coal's benefits in an effort to increase coal production on public lands."
The AP quotes Republican lawmakers insisting that coal production on public land during 2012 created 15,000 mining jobs in Western states and pumped $2.5 billion into the nation's economy.
Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn said that coal continues to produce the bulk of the nation's electricity and the U.S. is sitting on the largest recoverable coal reserves in the world, and it would be "the height of folly to throw this resource away" by curtailing mining.
But Democrats on the Natural Resources Committee counter that the government gives up too much already to coal companies, which ship much of their product to China.