The Ohio Valley now has two representatives on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which focuses on regulations affecting the coal industry and health care reform law.
U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, announced his appointment Friday, and he joins Rep. David B. McKinley, R-W.Va., as a member.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee has subcommittees dealing with commerce, manufacturing and trade issues; communications and technology; energy and power; environment and the economy; and health.
And most legislation related to those issues starts in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, according to Johnson.
The Energy and Commerce Committee "is one of the most influential committees in the House," he said. "It's not just about energy, but also about business, health care, telecommunications and the issues associated with them that are important.
"From an energy perspective, we're sitting on top of virtually all of the coal and natural gas in Ohio," he continued. "Domestic energy is everything people are talking about in southeast Ohio, and it's revitalizing our economy."
The nation also has "an overregulating Environmental Protection Agency that continues to come after the coal industry," Johnson added.
He said Congress needs to focus on reducing America's foreign dependence on energy and formulating a national energy policy that leads toward national security for the country.
In September, House members passed the "Stop the War on Coal Act" sponsored by Johnson. The bill seeks to "protect American jobs and support U.S. energy production" by prohibiting the secretary of the Interior from issuing new rules or regulations believed to adversely impact mining jobs or the economy - but it hasn't passed the Senate.
"My legislative team has done a great job in advancing efforts to stop the war on coal," Johnson said. "I think that played a major role in my getting this committee."
Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee typically do not serve on other committees in the House.
Johnson retired as a lieutenant colonel from the U.S. Air Force after a 26-year career. He currently serves on the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, where he chairs the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, and is a member of the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. Johnson also is a member of the House Committee on Natural Resources, and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.
"The way the rule works most of the time ... serving on multiple (major) committees is not good," he said. "There will be a lot of new members needing committees, and I'm assuming someone else will be appointed to the Veterans Committee. That doesn't mean I will be backing away from the issues I championed."