EPA adds hearings on power plant carbon regs

Facing higher-than-expected response to its proposed carbon dioxide regulations for power plants, the Environmental Protection Agency is doubling the number of public hearings it will host to gather input on the rules.

The EPA announced in a notice due to be published Thursday in the Federal Register it has added a day to the hearings it scheduled in Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. at the end of July.

“Because of the overwhelming response to the previously announced public hearings, the EPA will hold four additional public hearings,” the agency said. “The hearings will provide interested parties the opportunity to present data, views or arguments concerning the proposed actions.”

Each of the hearings will be held in an EPA office building between July 29 and Aug. 1 and last 10 hours each day.

The regulations, announced last month, seek to cut carbon dioxide pollution from power plants 30 percent by 2030. They have already proven controversial, with business interests and Republican lawmakers saying they would cost billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of jobs and decimate the economy.

Opponents have filed a lawsuit and introduced multiple bills to fight the rules.

Comments gathered at the hearing will be entered into the docket of input the EPA is obligated to consider before it makes the rules final, which it has slated for June 2015. The agency is also accepting written comments until Oct. 16.