AUGUSTA, Maine – Environmentalists in Maine are calling the Environmental Protection Agency’s single public hearing on the proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan a sham.
The two-day hearing began Tuesday in West Virginia, the largest coal-producing state east of the Mississippi.
That will be followed by a public comment period ending Jan. 16.
But Lisa Pohlmann, executive director of the Natural Resources Council of Maine, says that limits opportunities for Mainers to participate.
She points out that in formulating the plan, the EPA held four public hearings across the country and received more than 8 million comments over six months in favor of reducing power plant pollution.
“It’s obvious that they have one intention only, and that is to stop the reduction of carbon emissions from power plants, and they are putting those interests way ahead of the interests of the American people,” she states.
The Trump administration maintains the Clean Power Plan exceeded the EPA’s authority and that repealing it would avoid billions of dollars in compliance costs.
But Pohlmann says the cost of reducing power plant emissions is far less than the cost of failing to act.
“We have a stake in this because we are actually experiencing the climate changing impacts of those carbon emissions and the public health impacts of very bad air days,” she stresses.
Rising ocean temperatures and acidification already are affecting Maine’s fishing and lobster industries, and warmer winters have led to an increase in tick-borne diseases.
Pohlmann adds that, in Maine, people can see impacts of climate change all around them.
Now, she says, they are concentrating on reducing the things that humans do that contribute to climate change.
“And that means reducing carbon pollution from power plants because those emissions are the number one cause,” she states.
The Maine Attorney General’s Office and officials from seven other states wrote to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt requesting additional hearings, but none has been granted.