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Montanans Plan 'People's Hearing' on Potential Clean Power Plan Repeal

The Clean Power Plan aimed to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 2030. (SD-Pictures/Pixabay)
The Clean Power Plan aimed to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 2030. (SD-Pictures/Pixabay)
March 23, 2018

BILLINGS, Mont. – The Environmental Protection Agency didn't schedule a public meeting in Montana on its proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan, so Montanans are taking matters into their own hands.

On Sunday, the Northern Plains Resource Council is holding the "Clean Power to the People" hearing in Billings, where it will ask for public comments to send to the EPA. The Obama-era plan aimed to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 2030.

Steve Charter, a rancher near Billings and Northern Plains member, says the federal government needs to stop the effects of climate change because they are hurting people in his industry.

"Putting our heads in the sand and denying that it's a problem is just irresponsible,” he says. “And in Montana, as a rancher, I see the effects. Last summer, we were just constantly in smoke and the weather's really erratic, and everything just seems to be moving towards extremes."

The closest public hearing is on Tuesday (Mar. 27) in Gillette, Wyo., about 230 miles southeast of Billings.

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt has questioned the legal basis for the Clean Power Plan and the Trump administration says its repeal will help the coal industry.

But Mary Fitzpatrick, a member of the Northern Plains' Clean Energy Task Force, says coal already is in decline, even without implementing the Clean Power Plan.

She also notes the health benefits of switching from coal-fired power plants. The EPA under President Barack Obama found the plan would prevent between 1,500 and 3,600 premature deaths from pollution by 2030.

Fitzpatrick adds the plan would provide a boost to clean energy sources.

"By pushing us toward renewable energy, that would create a lot of jobs, a lot of cost savings, and a lot of economic activity as we implemented energy-efficiency measures,"she says.

The EPA is accepting public comments on its proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan through April 26th at 'regulations.gov.'

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - MT