Democratic New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took the Environmental Protection Agency to task on Friday for holding public meetings on its proposal to undo the Clean Power Plan in only the heart of coal country in West Virginia.
EPA announced Thursday that it will hold a two-day public meeting in Charleston, W.Va., at the end of the month to hear from all sides on its proposed rule to end the centerpiece of former President Barack Obama's climate agenda.
"The Trump admin[istration] is holding just a single public hearing on the #CleanPowerPlan, in the heart of WV coal country. That’s not nearly enough," Schneiderman tweeted.
Critics of the climate change plan point out that the Obama administration had ignored West Virginia when it was vetting the rule. The Clean Power Plan would have led to the premature closure of a number of coal-fired power plants if it were allowed to take effect, with negative consequences for the coal industry in the Mountaineer State, they say.
“After years of being ignored by the Obama administration, West Virginians are finally going to be heard,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., who oversees the EPA in her role on the Environment and Public Works Committee. “Our coal miners, their families and entire communities will soon have a chance to share how they have been affected by these far-reaching regulations. I appreciate the Trump administration’s commitment to creating and preserving energy jobs.”
The Clean Power Plan directed states to cut greenhouse gas emissions a third by 2030. Scientists blame the emissions from the burning of fossil fuels for causing the Earth's temperature to rise.
The plan was halted by the Supreme Court in Feb. 2016, so it never took effect. But proponents of the plan such as Schneiderman want states that support the regulations to be heard, just like West Virginia, he said Friday.
He sent a letter to the EPA on Thursday asking the agency to hold a public meeting in New York on its proposed rule to roll back the climate plan. The letter said the public meeting would be used to underscore the harmful effects of climate change that the Empire State is facing, with the principal point being made that rescinding the Clean Power Plan "would be a colossal mistake."
New York and more than a dozen other states defended the Clean Power Plan in court last year when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on the 28-state lawsuit opposing the climate plan, which was led by West Virginia.
EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman told the Washington Examiner in an email that the public meeting in West Virginia is the only one on the calendar for the Clean Power Plan repeal. She said that others could be added if the EPA sees enough support for doing so.
She said the agency "looks forward to hearing from all interested stakeholders."
EPA also extended the comment period on its repeal proposal by 32 days to Jan. 16.