President Obama Delivers New Coal Regulations to Energy Industry the Week Before Christmas

National Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington, DC
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President Obama isn't quietly riding out his last month in office. He has apparently decided to push through as many of his agenda items as he can, between a final taxpayer-funded vacation in Hawaii and some time on the golf course.

On Monday, the Obama administration announced new regulations on the already struggling coal industry. The Stream Protection Rule is, according to the Wall Street Journal:

...about keeping American waterways clean. In reality it’s a power grab aimed at giving federal regulators more authority to make coal too expensive for anyone to mine or use.

Intended to take effect on January 19, 2017, the rule will make it more difficult for companies to get mining permits. Permits that were previously granted by states would now be subject to meeting a federal standard to protect waterways.

According to an article in The Washington Times, the new rule would cost an industry that is already treading water financially an additional $81 million a year to comply.

Since 2011, the coal industry has seen its workforce numbers plummet:

A statement by a Department of the Interior estimates that the rule would cost around 300 jobs. An article at The Weekly Standard cites a study putting that job loss number closer to around 40,000 jobs.

Both senators in West Virginia opposed the rule. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin was quoted as saying:

“I remain unconvinced that this jobs-killing regulation is necessary or substantiated, particularly when you consider state and federal regulations already in place.”

And during a morning talk show interview on West Virginia's WAJR, Republican Senator Shelly Moore Capito said:

“I joined with 22 other Senators to ask the Administration to please not move forward with any more rules and regulations as you are going out the door.”

A request that the administration has chosen to ignore.

This week, the president also announced an “indefinite” ban on offshore drilling. And, on Thursday, announced that a program called NSEERS (National Security Entry-Exit Registration System), requiring certain immigrants from 25 (mostly) Muslim countries to be placed on a registry, would be dismantled.

The program was halted in 2011, but an official memo released by DHS states that:

“DHS has concluded that NSEERS is obsolete and inefficient; that its implementation would be counterproductive to the Department’s comprehensive security measures; and that the regulatory authority for NSEERS should thus be rescinded.”

As President-elect Trump's “Contract with the American Voter,” which outlines his 100-day plan, has already promised to “lift restrictions on the production of $50 trillion dollars’ worth of job-producing American energy reserves, including shale, oil, natural gas and clean coal,” it just looks more and more as if President Obama is taking shots at Trump as he heads out the door.