WASHINGTON, D.C.– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ready to start listening to what Americans have to say about President Obama’s proposed Climate Action Plan. However, some don’t think they’ll be hearing from the right people.
The agency will start its series of 11 listening sessions across the country Wednesday. They are set to be held in New York City, Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Boston, San Francisco, Washington, Dallas, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Chicago.
“I think it’s a clear and deliberate decision to stay away from the individual locations where people will come out and raise cain or express concern,” said Chris Hamilton, Senior Vice-President of the West Virginia Coal Association. “Where they’ll really talk about the financial and technical impacts it will have to coal fired utilities.”
At the heart of the most recently unveiled EPA regulations are strict parameters on future construction for coal fired power plants. The emission control requirements are steep. So steep, according to Hamilton, they will all but end the use of coal for electric power generation.
“It all but guarantees there will never be another coal fired power plant constructed in the United States,” Hamilton said.
So if the EPA won’t come to them, Hamilton said a delegation of elected officials from West Virginia will go the EPA. They plan to attend at least one of the listening sessions to make their case for the economic hardships the regulations will be on states like West Virginia. Hamilton added the Congressional representatives from coal states have a resolution moving which would require the EPA to hold listening sessions in the heart of coal country, something the Administration so far has resisted.
“They actually have to get a piece of legislation to hold scoping/listening sessions in the areas most impacted,” said Hamilton. “That just goes to the arrogance of this Environmental Protection Agency.”
Those in the coal industry won’t be ignored. A bus trip is planned for a rally for energy jobs on the steps of the U.S. Capitol next Tuesday. It doesn’t end there either, the group is planning a demonstration when Vice-President Joe Biden comes to Charleston next month to speak at the Democrat Jefferson Jackson Dinner.