EPA listening tour lands in wrong part of Illinois
The EPA recently conducted a “public listening session” in Chicago to discuss the reduction of carbon pollution from existing power plants. The “listening session” was one of 11 such hearings the agency is conducting across the country.
Americans for Prosperity participated in the hearing by providing testimony about the economic benefits of the coal industry – particularly in Southern Illinois which is home to several companies with some of the highest poverty rates in the country. Implementing onerous regulations on the coal industry will drive many if not most coal companies out of business.
In Illinois, the coal industry is a $1 billion industry and is home to the largest recoverable bituminous coal reserve of any state in the country. The abundance of coal makes it an ideal source of power generation. Policies that lead to the closure of coal fired plants will lead to job loss and will ultimately drive the cost of electricity up, which will hurt working families all across the country.
If this is a true listening tour, the impact of these new regulations cannot be lost on the EPA but given President Obama’s hostility toward the use of coal, the deck seems to be stacked against the coal industry. Additionally, the hearing in Illinois took place in Chicago – far away from the counties in Illinois where coal is mined.
The coal industry in Illinois has slowly been making a comeback. If the Obama administration gets its way with new, tougher coal regulations all of that progress will be lost. Unnecessary new regulations may make the President popular with extreme environmentalist activists but his policies will devastate the economy in his home state.