Energy Institute, State Chambers Tell EPA Not to Ignore Coal States on Listening Tour

Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 8:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C.—A group of thirteen state and local Chambers organized by the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy today urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to conduct outreach to the states most dependent on coal as part of its process to develop new regulations.

EPA is holding a series of 11 public listening sessions to receive input on forthcoming greenhouse gas regulations on existing power plants.   The regulations have great potential to cause damage throughout the U.S. economy, but will initially be most harmful to regions that depend on coal for affordable, reliable energy.  However, EPA has chosen to avoid hosting listening sessions in any of the top ten states that generate the highest percentage of electricity from coal.

“By avoiding the states that are most reliant on coal for its public input sessions, EPA has set up a one-sided process that will fail to provide an accurate reflection of public input,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the Energy Institute.  “Consumers who will face the consequences of new regulations such as higher electricity prices and fewer jobs should have the chance to tell EPA in person how they should be crafted.”

The letter notes that EPA has chosen to hold meetings in states such as California (1% of electricity from coal), New York (4% of electricity from coal) and Washington (4% from coal), while ignoring states like West Virginia (95%), Kentucky (92%) and North Dakota (78%).  EPA’s Public Involvement Policy states that “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.”

Harbert made the request in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy today.  The letter was also signed by the leadership of 13 state and local Chambers, including the Alaska Chamber, Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, North Carolina Chamber, Greater North Dakota Chamber, Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Virginia Chamber, West Virginia Chamber, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, Campbell County (Wyo.) Chamber of Commerce and Wyoming Chamber of Commerce Partnership.

The listening sessions are underway and are currently scheduled to conclude on November 8.  A map of EPA’s outreach sites and the top ten states most reliant on electricity generated is available here.

The mission of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Institute for 21st Century Energy is to unify policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common sense energy strategy to help keep America secure, prosperous, and clean. Through policy development, education, and advocacy, the Institute is building support for meaningful action at the local, state, national, and international levels.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.