Have you heard the one about the analysts who were bullied by a powerful president to change their findings that a proposed clean water regulation by the federal government would cost 7,000 American coal miners their jobs?
The punch line: The firms employing the analysts who refused to “soften” their numbers have been told “the contract would not be renewed,” according to testimony offered during a congressional hearing in Washington by Steve Gardner, president of ECSI, a Kentucky consulting firm and one of the project’s subcontractors.
Why? Because when the unemployment rate is higher in America’s premier coal-producing states than even the nationwide rate, telling 7,000 coal miners they are going to have to stand in the unemployment line is especially bad for business — re-election business, that is.
Gardner’s testimony contains too many details to simply dismiss these contractors-turned-whistleblowers’ claims as “sour grapes.”
For example, he testified that after the technical experts initially offered their conclusions about the job losses, the nation’s coal industry would suffer as a result of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s plans to regulate mining near waterways, the administration instructed them to “revisit” the matter and use different assumptions that “obviously lead to a lesser impact.”