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Pittsburgh EPA public hearing wraps up Friday

PITTSBURGH, Pa. –– The last public hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Act, the possible new carbon emissions limits for existing coal-fired power plants, will wrap up Friday at the William S. Moorhead Federal Building in Pittsburgh.

On Thursday, 14 members of the United Mine Workers of America were arrested and cited for trespassing, part of a pre-arranged agreement, after sitting down outside of that building and refusing to leave.

Those 14 people included UMWA President Cecil Roberts who lead a noontime march from the David L. Lawrence Convention Center that included more than 6,000 coal miners and supporters from more than half a dozen states — including West Virginia.

They chanted “UMWA!” as they marched with signs that read, “Fighting for Coalfield Fairness.”

Those miners said the U.S. economy is in danger if the EPA’s efforts to reduce emissions by a national average of 30 percent before 2030, in comparison with 2005 levels, take effect as proposed.

At the same time on Thursday, environmental groups held a separate rally at the August Wilson Center in support of the regulations.

Public hearings have already been held this week in Atlanta, Denver and Washington, D.C. In all, the EPA was expecting 1,600 people total to speak in the four cities.

Up to now, more than 300,000 written comments have been submitted on the Clean Power Act. The public comment period on the 645-page draft rule continues through Oct. 16. That rule gives states different deadlines and options for meeting varying emission-reduction targets.

Critics have said those goals are unattainable.

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