Contractors Claim Administration Pressed to ‘Soften’ Job-Loss Estimates From Mining Rule

The Obama administration pressured analysts to change an environmental review to reflect fewer job losses from a proposed regulation, the contractors who worked on the review testified Friday.

The dispute revolves around proposed changes to a rule regulating coal mining near streams and other waterways. The experts contracted to analyze the impact of the rule initially found that it would cost 7,000 coal jobs.

But the contractors claim they were subsequently pressured to not only keep the findings under wraps but “revisit” the study in order to show less of an impact on jobs.

Steve Gardner, president of Kentucky consulting firm ECSI, claimed that after the project team refused to “soften” the numbers, the firms working on the study were told the contract would not be renewed. ECSI was a subcontractor on the project.

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