More states hosting ‘people’s’ hearings on clean power plan repeal

Source: Arianna Skibell, E&E News reporter • Posted: Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Two more states have announced they intend to hold public hearings on U.S. EPA’s proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, former President Obama’s signature climate regulation.

Maryland and Delaware will join New York in hosting a “People’s Hearing” on the new administration’s plans. While EPA chief Scott Pruitt has scheduled hearings on the repeal in several cities, he failed to set any on the East Coast (E&E News PM, Dec. 18, 2017).

“States are taking matters into their own hands after EPA’s Scott Pruitt ignored multiple requests to host public hearings on his plan to dismantle the Clean Power Plan,” David Hayes, executive director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center and former Interior deputy secretary, said in a statement.

A number of states sent Pruitt letters last fall requesting local agency-led hearings. Jurisdictions included Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and Virginia.

“While claiming to respect state-based environmental decision-making, Pruitt is pushing a federal override of carbon pollution solutions that progressive states have crafted under the Clean Power Plan,” Hayes said.

“These hearings will provide a much-needed forum for more voices to show how implementing the Clean Power Plan will turbocharge a clean energy economy that brings investment, jobs and energy security.”

The attorney general of New York and the mayor of New York City announced their hearing last month and asked residents to register to testify or submit written statements (E&E News PM, Dec. 15, 2017).

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has decried Pruitt’s decision to rescind the Clean Power Plan and praised Obama’s rule as imperative.

“The Clean Power Plan is a vital tool to slash greenhouse gas emissions from one of the leading causes of climate change pollution, fossil-fuel-burning power plants,” he said last month.

Several states have said they will sue the Trump administration if Pruitt proceeds with the repeal. But advocates of scrapping the rule have welcomed the opportunity for a do-over.

Clean Power Plan critics similarly accused the Obama administration of not holding enough hearings close to coal country and other affected communities.