The Environmental Protection Agency will hold hearings this week on proposed regulations to limit the carbon dioxide coal-fired power plants can emit. Environmental activists and coal industry supporters are both traveling from Kentucky to Atlanta this week for the federal hearing.
The EPA’s rule would cut carbon dioxide emissions nationwide. The proposal sets emissions goals for each state, and leaves it up to individual states to decide how to achieve those goals. But before the rule is finalized, there are months of public comment. People can submit comments in writing, or make public statements at one of the four hearings happening this week. But Bill Bissett of the Kentucky Coal Association says it’s worth it to many to make the trek.
“I think the difference is, you can send a letter, you can send an email, but I think it’s important, one, that the people on the other side of this issue hear what we have to say as people who support coal,” said Bissett. “But I think also, we need to hear what they have to say. To me, it’s a very democratic principle of this country, to be heard publicly."
Bissett says coal supporters will rally outside the hearing, and there’s an environmental rally planned too. The Sierra Club is sponsoring a bus for about 45 people, and will make stops around the state en route to Atlanta.
“Largely it’s how we build up a network of people to move our leadership past the status quo. If you just send in a written comment, you don’t get the shared experience, you don’t get to hear other voices, you don’t get to hear other perspectives,” said Sierra Club organizer Alex DeSha.