EPA declares climate rule hearings successful

Nearly 3,000 people attended public hearings last week on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) carbon emissions rule for power plants, leading the agency to declare it a “great success.”

In a Wednesday blog post, Janet McCabe, who leads the EPA’s air pollution control efforts, said the two-day hearings in four cities brought more than 1,300 speakers, 1,450 addition attendees and more people for rallies outside the hearing buildings.

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“It was absolutely amazing to see so many people come out to share their thoughts either by testifying or attending an outside event,” McCabe wrote. The EPA hosted hearings in Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh and Washington.

In summarizing what EPA officials took from the hearings, McCabe said, “People care. A lot.”

Witnesses expressed very different views at the hearings, both in support of the rule and in opposition to it.

“Despite the wide variety of opinions and the passion with which some speakers testified, people showed that Americans can disagree while still being respectful of one another,” she said.

The agency has also received more than 300,000 written comments on the proposal unveiled in June, and it will continue to accept comments through October.