EPA sets hearing on repeal plan in heart of coal country

Source: Arianna Skibell, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, November 3, 2017

U.S. EPA announced plans today for a public hearing in Charleston, W.Va., later this month on the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan, President Obama’s signature climate regulation.

“The EPA is headed to the heart of coal country to hear from those most impacted by the CPP and get their comments on the proposed Repeal Rule,” Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement. “The agency looks forward to hearing from all interested stakeholders.”

Pruitt formally proposed a repeal of the Clean Power Plan last month after determining that the rule went beyond the agency’s Clean Air Act authority. The rule aimed to cut carbon emissions from the power sector 32 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.

When the Obama administration proposed the rule, EPA took fire from West Virginia politicians for failing to hold a public hearing in the coal state.

Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said then that EPA’s refusal to hold listening sessions on the rule in the coal-mining areas was “exceedingly unimpressive” (Greenwire, March 23, 2015).

Repeal of the climate rule has been a top priority for the Trump administration. The president issued an executive order in March requiring federal agencies to review regulations that could hamper local energy producers, namely fossil fuels.

The Clean Power Plan was stayed by the Supreme Court last year and has never officially taken effect. Pruitt’s proposal would repeal the regulation entirely, and EPA has not committed to replace it with any narrower standards, although the agency could choose to replace the rule with one focused entirely on power plant efficiency.

The court tasked with reviewing challenges to the regulation has so far declined to comment on legal questions associated with the proposed repeal.

Supporters of the Clean Power Plan are gearing up to fight and preparing arguments as to why improving efficiency alone won’t hold up under federal environmental law (Climatewire, Oct. 25).

The public hearing is set for Nov. 28 and 29 at the West Virginia Capitol Complex in Charleston.