The two-day EPA hearing on the proposed rules to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants wraps up Friday evening in Pittsburgh. This closes a series of hearings on the subject held in four U.S. cities.
“We collect all the comments that we received here. There’s also a process for us to take comments from folks who want to submit them between now and Oct. 16,” said Shawn Garvin, administrator for the EPA mid-Atlantic region. “Those will help inform us as we put together a final rule.”
The rule is response to President Obama’s call to reduce carbon pollution by 30 percent by 2020. Speakers for and against the regulations addressed EPA officials and supporters and opponents rallied and marched outside of the hearings. Many of those outside said they felt any input into the rules, especially against them, would be ignored. Garvin said that’s not the case.
“We are very interested in hearing from everyone,” Garvin said. “There are no special groups, no special comments, we want to hear from anybody who has an interest in this rule and has something that they think will inform our final decision, so everybody’s voice will be heard on this.”
Other hearings were held in Denver, Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Pittsburgh was the fourth site.
“This area, the western part of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, was an area in which there are a lot of stakeholders who had interest,” Garvin said. “We wanted to find a centralized location that was convenient for those stakeholders to come out, express interest and thoughts on the rule.”
The overall public comment period for the proposed carbon rule will be open until Oct. 16. Comments can be submitted online, via email or U.S. mail. Once the comment period closes, EPA officials will begin to craft a final rule – Garvin said the rule will be finalized by next summer.