U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday invited the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Gina McCarthy, to hold a hearing in eastern Kentucky to discuss the latest job-killing regulations on existing coal-fired power plants proposed by President Obama earlier this week. The EPA announced it will hold four public hearings on the proposed regulations and, once again, eastern Kentucky was left off the list.
In a letter to Administrator McCarthy today, Senator McConnell wrote: “As you are aware, last fall your agency held eleven public listening sessions ‘nationally’ to gather information before proposing these regulations. Unfortunately, not one of these sessions was slated for a non-metropolitan city dependent on coal. As coal employs 7,000 Kentuckians and accounts for over 90 percent of Kentucky’s electricity, I formally invited the EPA to hold an additional listening session in Pikeville, Kentucky—the heart of coal country— which your agency did not honor.
“However, I saw earlier this week your agency has announced four additional public hearings on the proposed regulation. Once again, I was disappointed when neither Pikeville, nor any other location within 5 hours of Eastern Kentucky, appeared on this list. Sadly, the locations you chose for these hearings are too distant and costly for most Kentuckians to easily attend.”
In the letter, Senator McConnell invited the EPA to hold a hearing in Eastern Kentucky and to “directly explain to my constituents how your proposed regulations on existing coal-fired power plants will impact Kentucky jobs and the Commonwealth’s power generation. As some of the people most affected by this proposed rule, my constituents deserve to be looked in the eye and told how the proposed rule will affect them.”
NOTE: On Tuesday, Sen. McConnell introduced legislation that would block President Obama’s proposed regulations on existing power plants unless appropriate agencies can prove it will NOT eliminate jobs, cost our economy, increase electricity prices or reduce electricity reliability. The legislation is simple: Before the EPA Administrator establishes any new regulation or guidance that limits carbon emissions from new or existing power plants, the following criteria must be met:
· The Secretary of Labor certifies to the EPA Administrator the regulation will not generate loss of employment.
· The Director of the Congressional Budget Office certifies to the EPA Administrator that the regulation will not result in any loss in gross domestic product of the U.S.
· The Administrator of the Energy Information Administration certifies to the EPA Administrator that the regulation will not increase electricity rates.
· The Chairperson of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the President of the North American Electric Reliability Corp. certify to the Administrator that electricity delivery will remain reliable.