US EPA Ignores Ohio During Public Hearings on New Rules

As part of its rulemaking process for new air regulations intended to reduce air pollution from power plants, U.S. EPA recently announced it would conduct 11 listening sessions around the country in order to gather public input. The forthcoming rule has great potential to be economically harmful, especially to states like Ohio that are dependent on coal for electricity.

Unfortunately, all of the locations U.S. EPA chose for these listening sessions are in states or regions that either produce or use very little coal –ignoring those portions of the country where coal is heavily relied upon or mined. More specifically, this means no sessions will be held in Ohio. The hearings closest to us are either in Chicago or Philadelphia.

What is mindboggling about the omission of Ohio is that coal provides around 80% of Ohio’s electric power generation, providing power for the equivalent for 4.8 million homes and 212,000 businesses. Ohio ranks tenth in the nation for goal production and fourth for coal use.

By not coming to Ohio to gather input on how these rules will affect our state is exactly the opposite of what US EPA’s own own Public Involvement Policy, which states “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. (Emphasis added.)

This week, joined by the Ohio Chamber and 11 other state chambers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy sent a letter to the EPA Administrator requesting additional hearings in coal producing and consuming states.  We are hopeful that US EPA will add more public hearings, especially one in Ohio, so that they can hear how harmful some of these regulations could be to Ohio’s businesses.

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