U.S. Congressman Bill Enyart, D-Belleville, said today that he is calling for additional public hearings from the Environmental Protection Agency regarding newly proposed regulations for existing coal fired power plants.
“We demanded that the EPA listen to Americans regarding these proposals,” said Enyart. “But when the hearings were scheduled over three days in July, they were in Washington D.C., Atlanta, Denver, and Pittsburgh. That’s hardly accessible to the majority of Americans and certainly not accessible for Southern Illinoisans.”
Enyart, along with 11 other members of Congress sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy calling for additional dates and locations for hearings. The proposed EPA regulations call for existing coal fired power plants to cut their production by 30 percent over the next 15 years.
“Forty percent of Illinois power is generated by coal,” said Enyart. “It just doesn’t make sense to cut back on coal production, without a viable alternative that can be put into place overnight. To truly become an energy independent nation, we must use an ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy. We must combine resources like coal, natural gas, wind, and solar to provide a diverse and independent source of energy for the country.”
The letter goes on to state, “Proposed regulations by this Administration have already forced more than 200 different plants out of business. This latest proposal will only exacerbate that problem and it deserves greater public scrutiny as a result. The U.S. economy can’t afford to lose 226,000 jobs and $50 billion each year…”
“Our region has historic roots in the coal mining industry,” added Enyart. “And I won’t stand idly by as unnecessary and duplicative regulations threaten the jobs of hardworking miners in Southern Illinois. They deserve better, and they deserve to be heard by the EPA.”