The EPA recently announced that it will hold 11 “listening sessions” across the country to “solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders” about its rules to limit carbon emissions at existing power plants. The locations demonstrate the Administration’s selective hearing on coal. It will listen to the President’s supporters in major cities like San Francisco, Seattle, New York, and Boston – all places that don’t rely on coal. It will ignore communities in Kentucky, West Virginia, Wyoming, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, Utah, North Dakota, Nebraska and other states where coal is vital.
By design, the EPA’s tour will amplify the voices of those who support the Administration’s war on coal and mute the voices of those whose lives are being wrecked by it. In 1980, the moderator of a presidential primary debate told the sound man to turn off candidate Ronald Reagan’s microphone. “I am paying for this microphone,” Reagan famously retorted. The American people are paying for the microphones the EPA will use at its listening sessions. They deserve a fair opportunity to object to the disastrous economic effects generated by a rule limiting carbon emissions from existing power plants.