The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will hold a public hearing this month in West Virginia on its plan to repeal the Obama administration’s climate change rule for power plants.
The hearing will be in Charleston and stretch over two days, Nov. 28 and 29.
By comparison, the Obama administration held four hearings in 2014 when it proposed the Clean Power Plan, in Pittsburgh, Denver, Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy & Environment — Biden makes return to pre-Trump national monument boundaries official Trump-era EPA board member sues over firing EPA bans use of pesticide linked to developmental problems in children MORE said picking West Virginia, a major coal-producing state, as the location for the hearing shows that the agency cares about the impact of the Clean Power Plan on coal-heavy areas.
“The EPA is headed to the heart of coal country to hear from those most impacted by the CPP and get their comments on the proposed Repeal Rule,” he said in a Thursday statement. “The agency looks forward to hearing from all interested stakeholders.”
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (R), a leading opponent of the climate rule, welcomed the hearing.
“I strongly support the EPA’s decision to repeal this devastating and job-killing rule,” he said in a statement. “I’m glad the EPA selected Charleston as the setting for this crucial hearing, where its leaders will be able to hear from those directly impacted by this unlawful regulation.”
Morrisey is running in next year’s Senate race and has touted his opposition to the rule as a key qualification.
The Obama rule envisioned a 32 percent cut in the power sector’s carbon emissions and was expected to hit coal harder than any other power source.
In Thursday’s notice, the EPA also said it is extending the period to submit comments on the proposed repeal by one month, to Jan. 18.
At a 2015 congressional hearing on the Obama rule, Janet McCabe, the EPA’s top air pollution official, said the agency planned hearings in places “where people were comfortable coming.”
She later explained that the EPA planned hearings based primarily on how easily people could access areas, among other considerations.
Since then, the GOP and other opponents of the Clean Power Plan have cited the remark to argue that the Obama administration does not care about coal country.
The EPA is required under the Clean Air Act to hold at least one hearing if people submit comments asking for it.
A collection of environmental groups asked Pruitt to schedule multiple hearings in different areas of the country on the rule repeal.