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Trump Gives Obama’s Global Warming Legacy A Final Hearing — In Coal Country

A dirty coalminer displays a lump of coal as a power and energy source. Shutterstock/Joe Belanger

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is holding a two-day hearing in West Virginia on its plan to repeal and replace a key part of former President Barack Obama’s legacy on global warming policy.

EPA officials will hear from hundreds of coal industry representatives, miners, lobbyists, environmental activists and local officials on the agency’s proposal to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP), which would have forced more coal power plants and mines to close.

The Trump administration’s choice to hold the hearings in Charleston is a clear rebuke of Obama’s global warming agenda, which was labelled a “war on coal” by critics and Republicans. The CPP was Obama’s signature global warming policy, and the key to complying with the Paris climate accord.

When Obama’s EPA proposed limiting carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants, it held four hearings across the country, none of which were anywhere near major coal-producing states.

“The EPA is headed to the heart of coal country to hear from those most impacted by the CPP and get their comments on the proposed Repeal Rule,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement issued in early November.

EPA finalized the CPP in 2015, but it never went fully into effect because the Supreme Court halted the rule’s implementation in early 2016.

Trump’s EPA proposed a plan to repeal the CPP in October. The CPP aimed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The EPA says it will offer a replacement plan at a later date, though they did not specify when.

Environmental activists opposed the CPP repeal and have sent representatives to Charleston to protest the EPA’s plan. The Sierra Club is hosting a counter-hearing at the University of Charleston.

“The EPA is having this hearing here because they think everyone in West Virginia opposes the Clean Power Plan,” Sierra Club organizer Bill Price told the New Republic. “We’re going to show them differently.”

Hard hat-wearing coal miners filled the hearing room in Charleston where their boss, Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray, testified that repealing the CPP saved thousands of coal mining jobs.

Murray donated to Trump in the 2016 election.

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