The Trump administration announced Wednesday it plans to hold three additional public hearings on its proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials said in a statement that the hearings would be held in San Francisco; Kansas City; and Gillette, Wyoming. EPA said that dates and specific locations “will be released in coming weeks.”
The EPA announcement comes after last week’s two-day public hearing in West Virginia, which Trump administration critics said was designed to put on a show of coal country opposition to the Obama EPA’s signature plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
“Due to the overwhelming response to our West Virginia hearing, we are announcing additional opportunities for the public to voice their views to the agency,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in the agency’s statement.
Opponents of Pruitt’s effort to repeal the Clean Power Plan complained that EPA had scheduled only one public hearing in West Virginia. Coal industry officials and local political leaders had praised the Charleston hearing, noting that the Obama EPA had refused to hold such a hearing in West Virginia.
At issue is the Trump EPA’s proposal to basically reverse a key part of the legal arguments the agency used under former President Barack Obama to justify the Clean Power Plan, an effort by Obama to reduce greenhouse emissions and begin to hold off the worst potential efforts of climate change. The Trump EPA’s proposed repeal, published in October, said the Obama plan was illegal because it proposed to have power companies reduce greenhouse emissions by making system-wide changes, such as switching from coal to natural gas or renewables, rather than mandating only certain emissions reductions that could be achieved at specific plants.