GOP lawmakers pressure EPA to include coal-powered states on tour

Coal supporters are rallying behind Rep. Shelley Moore Capito's (R-W.Va.) call for the Environmental Protection Agency to include coal-producing states on its listening tour.

The agency announced Thursday that the first two stops in its 11-meeting listening tour, meant to gather input on carbon emissions limits for power plants, would be postponed due to the government shutdown. 

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Earlier this week, the GOP alleged the agency wouldn't be stopping in heavy coal-producing states.

House Republicans say the tour conveniently avoids the states where the proposed carbon emissions rule, a key part of President Obama's climate change agenda, would spike electricity costs the most. 

Moore Capito introduced a resolution on Tuesday calling for the EPA to include the 15 biggest coal-producing states in its tour. Her resolution quickly garnered 17 co-sponsors.

"Given the profound implications these regulations could have for American families, businesses and our nation’s energy future, coal communities must have a seat at the table as EPA considers the path forward for the existing power fleet," the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) said in a Friday statement applauding the resolution. 

"Thankfully, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito continues to advocate for those who stand to lose the most but whose voices are being excluded from this important national conversation.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reached out to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on Thursday, requesting the EPA stop in his home state of Kentucky.

“I request the EPA host an additional listening session in Pikeville, Kentucky, which is located in the heart of coal country," the Senate minority leader wrote in a letter to the EPA. "Pikeville is certainly much more representative of those who work in the coal industry than San Francisco."

McConnell is among 20 other lawmakers who have decided to make the administration's "war on coal" a top issue for the 2014 campaign cycle.

The EPA listening tour will stop at regional offices in San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Denver, Dallas, Seattle, Chicago, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Lenexa, Kan.

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