As per a proposal to strip down the Clean Power Plan (CPP) backed by the Obama administration, the EPA is to have a one-time hearing this week in coal-producing West Virginia. The CPP has been the green flag from Obama for a climate change strategy, but never took hold due to substantial legislation against it from various states.
The objective, as mentioned recently by EPA Administrator Scott Pruit, is “to hear from those most impacted by the CPP and get their comments on the proposed Repeal Rule.”. EPA had previously censored the Obama administration for steering clear of attending a hearing in West Virginia and preventing coal workers from stating their views.
However, opposing views have been heard, this time from former EPA spokeswoman Liz Purchia Gannon when she said to Reuters that “Pruit is just checking a box … and making it more difficult for Americans across the country to weigh in.”
In any event, coal miners, environmentalists, and lobbyist alike will have a chance to testify at the hearing in Charleston, West Virginia. An argument to be raised by proponents is how the CPP will help control climate change and save billions of dollars due to the public health benefits of reduced emissions.
The Union of Concerned Scientists and the Natural Resource Council
Additionally, it is expected that the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) will express their corresponding arguments. On the one hand, the EPA should stand behind the protection of the human health and the environment and not of the coal industry. There is the emphasis on the impacts on human health of communities located downwind from coal plants, as the polluting of water bodies from coal ash and acid mine drainage.
Secondly, that limiting emissions contribute to preventing global warming, massive wildfires, and extreme weather with associated hurricanes. As the director of the Climate & Clean Air program at the NRDC said, “We can have both. We can—and we must—protect Americans’ health and preserve the stability of our climate. As the four hurricanes and massive wildfires this fall demonstrate, we must clean up our power plants—as well as our vehicles and other industries—to curb the pollution that’s driving extreme weather and other climate impacts and causing thousands of deaths and illnesses—both here in West Virginia, in states downwind, and across the country.”
Stakeholders and the West Virginia Coal Association
In turn, coal backers (workforce and stakeholders) are expected to claim that the CPP increases costs to utilities and will result in loss of mining jobs. In spite the fact the Trump Administration and the EPA termed the CCP “a war on coal” experts argue that cheaper natural gas, as well as wind and solar energy, are causing the demand for coal to fall at a constant rate.
Moreover, the West Virginia Coal Association, through its president Bill Raney, will pair up with EPA and defend coal jobs, as he told the Charleston Gazette-Mail. “Maybe we’re going to have a chance to sit down and talk about preserving our jobs and our communities and our people.”
Finally, the new plan EPA is proposing to replace the CPP will be discussed, which is supposed to be more flexible for the coal industry.
The EPA will be receiving online comments until Jan. 16.