Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ohio House Democratic Leadership Casts a No Vote for Ohio's Coal Families

/PRNewswire / -- Mike Carey, President of the Ohio Coal Association, today issued the following statement in response to the Ohio House of Representatives' passage of House Bill 1:

"Ohio House Speaker Armand Budish and House Democrats have approved a state budget bill that will have a devastating impact on Ohio's coal families.

"The so-called Energy Resource Extraction Fee contained in the House-approved version of the FY10-11 state budget bill is, plain and simple, a crippling new tax on coal production that could not come at a worse time for Ohio's coal industry or for the state's economy. If this onerous new tax ends up staying in the final version of the budget bill that the General Assembly sends to Governor Strickland, Ohio's coal industry will be forced to increase costs for consumers, scale back critical technology investments, cut coal production and eventually eliminate much-needed jobs in communities that are desperately short of employment opportunities.

"It's clear the Speaker and his caucus are out of touch with the hard-working Ohioans who have dedicated their lives to the coal industry, and who've made their living in one of Ohio's economically struggling regions -- Appalachia. Their decision to pass the budget bill with the Energy Resource Extraction Fee intact is a slap in the face to each and every one of these individuals -- and to the coal producers who've made major economic investments in the our state.

"To add insult to injury, District 93 State Rep. Jennifer Garrison (D-Marietta), whose constituents include thousands of Ohioans who depend on the coal industry for their livelihoods and represents the largest coal mine in Ohio, voted to table an amendment that would have protected Ohio's coal families by removing the Energy Resource Extraction Fee from the legislation.

"Ohio House Democrats have let us down. It is the Ohio Coal Association's strong hope the members of the Ohio Senate will correct the misguided choices of the House and do the right thing for the state's coal industry by removing the Energy Resource Extraction Fee from the budget bill."

The Ohio Coal Association (OCA) is a non-profit trade association representing the interests of Ohio's underground and surface coal mining producers. The OCA represents nearly 40 coal producing companies and more than 50 Associate Members, which include suppliers and consultants to the mining industry, coal sales agents and brokers and allied industries. The Ohio Coal Association is committed to advancing the development and utilization of Ohio coal as an abundant, economic and environmentally sound energy source.

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