The US Environmental Protection Agency is currently holding its only scheduled public hearing to repeal the country’s largest omnibus effort to reduce energy-sector emissions. And they’re doing it right in the middle of the most beleaguered portion of America’s coal country: West Virginia. (You can watch the hearing live here.)
West Virginia’s coal jobs have been on the decline for years, in large part because of declining natural gas prices. The Clean Power Plan, Barack Obama’s signature piece of legislation, represents a collection of rules that make life harder for operators of coal-fired power plants by requiring they reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and pollutants that harm human health.
The Trump administration’s repeal plan involves several steps, one of which is to hold a public hearing. So they’re holding one in the heartland of frustration over federal clean-air regulations like this one.
For comparison, when the Obama administration sought to finalize the Clean Power Plan, it held four public hearings: in Denver, Washington DC, Atlanta, and Pittsburgh (whose surrounding county is also considered “coal country.”) As Reuters notes, the EPA also held 11 public listening sessions on the Clean Power Plan before proposing a final version of it.