- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will hold three additional listening sessions on the proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan, following an outcry that only one hearing had been scheduled on the rollback.
- While the first session was held last month deep in coal country, in West Virginia, the new locations represent a broader range: San Francisco, Calif., Gillette, Wyo. and Kansas City, Mo. The November session brought out stark viewpoints, as coal supporters and environmental advocates faced off.
- It remains unclear if the EPA will attempt to challenge the “endangerment finding,” the conclusion that carbon dioxide presents a health risk and must be regulated by the environmental agency.
EPA officials cited "overwhelming response" to its West Virginia hearing as the reason for scheduling additional meetings. Dates and specific locations will be released in coming weeks, and people interested in speaking are encouraged to register in advance.
“Due to the overwhelming response to our West Virginia hearing, we are announcing additional opportunities for the public to voice their views to the Agency,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement. Comments on the CPP repeal will be taken until Jan. 16.
The Clean Power Plan never reached implementation because of a Supreme Court freeze. The rule called for a 32% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030. The Trump administration is now trying to repeal the Obama-era plan.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said the new hearings are proof "the Trump administration is listening to the people of Wyoming." He said the Clean Power Plan would mean lost jobs for energy workers in the state.
Repealing the Clean Power Plan would still leave the EPA on the hook for regulating the impacts of CO2. That has led some groups to support a strategy of attacking the "endangerment finding" that underlies EPA's actions to address greenhouse gas emissions.
The American Legislative Exchange Council was set yesterday to vote on a resolution calling for the EPA to review the finding, with Exxon Mobil Corp. reportedly opposing that strategy. According to E&E Publishing, ALEC yesterday scuttled a vote on the draft resolution.