WASHINGTON, D.C. — Federal EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced Thursday the agency would conduct a two-day public hearing later this month in Charleston on the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan.
The Nov. 28-29 hearing is scheduled to be held at the state capitol complex. Testimony will be taken from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, Pruitt said.
“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. The agency looks forward to hearing from all interested stakeholders,” Pruitt said in a news release.
Those planning to speak are being urged to register in advance. The EPA said if there is a large volume of speakers it could continue the hearing for a third day, Nov. 30.
Pruitt signed a notice last month proposing the repeal.
“We are committed to righting the wrongs of the Obama administration by cleaning the regulatory slate,” he said at the time. ” Any replacement rule will be done carefully, properly, and with humility, by listening to all those affected by the rule.”
The policy, which was finalized in 2015, would have reduced carbon dioxide levels to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. States could reach their needed level by embracing natural gas and renewable sources of energy, which produce fewer emissions.
The rule never went into effect after more than two dozen attorneys general — including West Virginia’s Patrick Morrisey as well as Pruitt, who previously served as Oklahoma’s attorney general — filed suit regarding its planned implementation.
Morrisey applauded the EPA’s decision to come to Charleston.
“I’m glad the EPA selected Charleston as the setting for this crucial hearing, where its leaders will be able to hear from those directly impacted by this unlawful regulation,” Morrisey said in a statement.
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, who tried to get the Obama EPA to visit the Mountain State on several occasions, said state residents are finally going to be heard.
“Later this month, the EPA will visit West Virginia, where so many have been directly impacted by the harmful and burdensome Clean Power Plan. Our coal miners, their families and entire communities will soon have a chance to share how they have been affected by these far-reaching regulations. I appreciate the Trump administration’s commitment to creating and preserving energy jobs,” Capito said.
West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney called Thursday’s announcement of the public hearing in Charleston “great” news.
“We’ve been ground zero for all of this war on coal,” he said. “It’s so critical that we get all of the information out on this as to why it’s important to continue to have coal-fired generation from a reliable and resilient standpoint.”
Registration information will be posted at: https://www.epa.gov/stationary-sources-air-pollution/electric-utility-generating-units-repealing-clean-power-plan
MetroNews Statewide Correspondent Brad McElhinny contributed to this story.