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EPA Coal Regulation Listening Tour Accused of Skipping Coal Country

coal trains
Photo courtesy of rsgranne/Flickr

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Wednesday, October 23, that it would be holding listening sessions across the U.S. to get feedback on proposed coal plant regulations. The problem, according to a press release from the Montana Attorney General’s office, is that the tour “skips coal country altogether.”

The cities with listening sessions are all large urban centers that occur almost entirely in states without a significant coal extraction base. The itinerary includes New York City, Atlanta, Denver, Kansas City, Boston, San Francisco, Washington DC, Dallas, Seattle, Philadelphia, and Chicago, but leaves out major coal states like Montana and Wyoming altogether.

“Montanans care about proposed federal regulations impacting their livelihood, their public schools, their utility rates, their communities, and their environment, and they deserve to be heard on this,” Attorney General Tim Fox said. “It’s mind boggling that the EPA isn’t holding a single session in a state that relies directly on coal for affordable energy, family-wage jobs, and economic development. It’s as if the regulators don’t want to hear from the hardworking folks who will suffer most under the onerous regulations they’re considering. The EPA needs to come here to Montana – to a place like Colstrip or Billings – and listen to what our citizens have to say.”

Fox has sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  Administrator Gina McCarthy requesting a listening session in Montana.

According to an EPA spokesman, the reason why only certain cities were chosen is that they happen to be the 10 regional EPA headquarters and Washington D.C.

The EPA Region 8 (Montana is Region 8) listening session will occur on October 30 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. If Montanans would like to listen in they can call 1 866 299 9141 after which they will need to use the password 539 21 073 #  in order to stay on the line. There is supposed to be a line for callers to also voice their opinions between the hours of 3 and 5 p.m., however, the EPA did not yet have the line number finalized.

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