Agriculture

Coats Says McCarthy Visit This Weekend Not Enough

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November 15, 2013 – Indiana’s United States Senator Dan Coats is questioning the Environmental Protection Agency.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy plans to visit Indiana this weekend to meet with agricultural producers.  Even so, Coats is criticizing her for not meeting with Hoosier families in the coal-power electricity business to discuss proposed federal power plant carbon emission regulations.

He’s formally asking the federal agency about why its listening tour about a proposal to limit to damaging gas emissions from power plants does not include Indiana.

The Republican today acknowledged McCarthy’s planned trip to Indiana this weekend, in a letter attacking EPA for not including an Indiana visit on its listening tour, which is past.

Coats is requesting an agency administrator meet with Hoosiers affected by the proposed Obama Administration rules.

His letter was addressed to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, requesting her return to Indiana to hear from Hoosiers about the agency’s proposed regulations.

Coats says Indiana produces 88% of its electricity from coal-fired sources, supporting more than 2,500 Indiana jobs and more than $750 million to the state’s economy.

The full text of the letter is below:

 

 

November 15, 2013

 

The Honorable Gina McCarthy

Administrator

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:

 

  1. 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?

 

  1. 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?

 

  1. 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?

 

  1. 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?

 

Again, I appreciate your decision to visit Indiana and hear first-hand from the Hoosier agriculture industry about the impact EPA regulations can have on their operations.  I invite you to return to Indiana to meet with Hoosier families and the state’s coal, electricity and other industries that will be affected greatly by the agency’s proposed rules on greenhouse gas emissions.  I look forward to your timely response to this invitation and the above questions.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Dan Coats

U.S. Senator

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