Republican Indiana US Senator Dan Coats Friday sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy asking why the agency did not include Indiana in its recent listening tour on the impact of proposed rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants. Coats says with Indiana being one of the leading states in coal production and coal-fired electricity generation, it's “alarming” the EPA would conduct a series of listening sessions without listening to people in the Hoosier state. The last in the series of eleven sessions was held in Chicago last week.
Although Administrator McCarthy is scheduled to be in Indiana this weekend to meet with agriculture producers, she has not planned any public forums with Hoosier families and workers in the coal and electricity industry despite the agency’s recent listening tour on the proposed carbon regulations. Coats is requesting McCarthy return to Indiana to hear from Hoosiers on how the agency’s proposed regulations would affect Indiana businesses and families.
Coats says Indiana produces 88 percent of its electricity from coal-fired sources, providing Indiana families and companies access to affordable and reliable electricity. The coal industry supports more than 2,500 jobs in Indiana and contributes more than $750 million to the state’s economy. The EPA conducted listening tours on its proposed rules across 11 cities and states, but not one was held in Indiana.
The full text of the letter is below:
November 15, 2013
The Honorable Gina McCarthy
Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20460
Dear Administrator McCarthy:
I understand you will be visiting Indiana in the coming days to meet with Hoosier agricultural producers. Indiana is one of the nation’s leading agricultural states, and I am pleased you will be discussing issues currently facing Hoosiers in the agriculture industry. However, I am disappointed that you are not similarly taking time to meet with Indiana families and the state’s coal and electricity industry regarding the impact of the EPA’s proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing electricity generation plants.
Coal helps fuel Indiana and the state’s economy. The state produces 88 percent of its electricity from coal-fired sources, which in turn allows Hoosier families and companies access to some of the most affordable and reliable electricity in the nation. The industry supports more than 2,500 jobs and contributes more than $750 million to Indiana’s economy. Our state also has seen significant investments in efforts to reduce emissions from fossil fuel-fired electricity generation and has been a leader in reclamation and restoration on the mining front.
Given that Indiana is one of the leading states in coal production, coal-fired electricity generation, and clean coal technology, it is alarming the EPA would conduct a series of listening sessions on its proposed greenhouse gas rules without ever listening to the people of Indiana who would be dramatically affected by these regulations. The 11 listening sessions already held by the EPA have been located in some of the largest cities in the country with the least invested in coal. I respect the perspectives and opinions from the residents of these cities, but believe that the EPA should provide an accessible, live forum for those who reside in areas with a large vested interest in coal, such as Indiana, to express their views.
The EPA’s proposal not only would increase electricity rates across Indiana, but it would drastically reduce the domestic demand for coal, putting a stranglehold on the mining community in our state. It is imperative that Hoosiers have their voices heard in this process.
I ask you to respond to these questions regarding the EPA’s listening sessions:
- The agency has concluded its listening tour across 11 cities and states. Is the agency considering holding future hearings in cities and states that actually rely on coal production and coal-fired electricity generation as a critical component of their economy? If so, when can the public expect such an announcement of additional dates and locations?
- If the agency decides against holding future listening sessions, how does the agency intend to ensure all comments, input, and opinions are equally weighed when individuals and companies in these areas are not provided the same forum as provided in the 11completed listening sessions?
- The previous 11 listening sessions have been held in cities associated with the EPA’s regional headquarters. When planning the location of these first 11 sessions, did the agency consider branching out from these regional office locations and holding sessions in other areas?
- What led the EPA to decide against hosting sessions in cities and states with a significant interest in coal production, coal-fired electricity generation, and clean coal technologies?