Jul 07, 2014 - 5:30pm

EPA Hearings Avoids States That Will Be Most-Affected by Carbon Regulations


Senior Editor, Digital Content

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EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg.


Last year, when EPA held public hearings about potential carbon regulations for existing power plants it avoided states where coal use is most-important.

After releasing its proposed carbon regulations you would have thought the agency had learned its lesson on where it would hold public hearings.

Nope:

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.

While more time for public hearings is welcome, EPA again avoids areas of the country that will be heavily affected by EPA’s proposed regulations. For instance, once again, no hearings are scheduled in any of the ten states most reliant on coal for electricity, such as Wyoming (88%), West Virginia (95%), or Missouri (83%). The agency is also avoiding many other states that will be hit extremely hard by the rules, such as Arizona (EPA-proposed emissions rate reduction of 52%), Arkansas (44%), Minnesota (41%), Louisiana (39%), Florida (38%). Those living in each of those states will have to travel hundreds of miles for an opportunity to voice their concerns.

And like last year, it appears that this is inconsistent with EPA’s policy of where it holds public hearings:

When the subject of a public hearing, meeting or other information exchange process relates to conditions or facilities in a specific geographic area, EPA should hold the public hearing or meeting in that general geographic area.

EPA’s proposed carbon regulations may be unpopular in many states, but it’s critical that EPA make sure those states most-affected are heard. As a first step, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy should follow through on her commitment to ensure that the rulemaking process be “an absolute collaboration between the federal and state government…a partnership if there ever was one” by scheduling additional public hearings that enable states, citizens, and other interested parties an opportunity to provide feedback on the potential effects of its regulatory agenda.

Follow Sean Hackbarth on Twitter at @seanhackbarth and the U.S. Chamber at @uschamber.

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About the Author

About the Author

Sean Hackbarth
Senior Editor, Digital Content

Sean writes about public policies affecting businesses including energy, health care, and regulations. When not battling those making it harder for free enterprise to succeed, he raves about all things Wisconsin (his home state) and religiously follows the Green Bay Packers.