Clock starts on EPA climate rule comments

Two weeks after unveiling President Obama's signature climate rule, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the new standards in the Federal Register Wednesday.

Now that the 645-page rule, which seeks to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the nation's existing power plants, has been published, it will start the clock on a public comment period.

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Industry, states, environmental groups and the like will be able to comment on the merits of the new rules for 120 days, which is longer than the normal 60-day comment period.

As the EPA officially publishes the rules, the Senate is holding a hearing on climate change impacts Wednesday, when four former EPA chiefs who served under Republican administrations will testify.

A number of coal miners will also sit in on the hearing. Miners have decried the rules, which they say will kill energy jobs and hurt coal plants across the country.

The rule from EPA aims to achieve a 30 percent cut in carbon emissions from existing coal-fired power plants by 2030.

Republicans, industry groups and some coal-country Democrats have assailed the regulation, arguing it will cost the country jobs, hurt the economy and prevent the use of coal for energy.