Senators want more comment time on EPA climate rule

Two senators are planning to ask the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to further extend the public comment period for its power plant carbon proposal.

Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) are drafting a letter to the agency seeking an additional 60 days to submit beyond the planned Oct. 16 deadline.

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“The EPA’s rule is very complicated, and the senators want to make sure all sides have enough time to fully analyze it and offer comments as needed,” said Abigail McDonough, a spokeswoman for Heitkamp. The rule seeks to cut carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 30 percent by 2030.

The senators are working on writing the letter and gathering signatures from their colleagues; McDonough declined to say how many senators have signed on.

Heitkamp and Fischer led a bipartisan group of 45 senators who petitioned in May for a 120-day comment period, before the rule was even unveiled. Standard comment periods for regulations last 60 days.

In that letter, the senators said that for such a complicated and contentious proposal, consumers and stakeholders ought to have ample time to analyze the rule and comment on it.

The EPA listened, and granted the 120-day period.