US lawmakers, Moffat County press EPA to relocate coal hearings to Craig | SteamboatToday.com

US lawmakers, Moffat County press EPA to relocate coal hearings to Craig

Erin Fenner

Scott Tipton

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed a plan that would mandate coal-fired power plants cut their carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Then the agency set up a 120-day comment period and hearings across the country — one in Denver will be held during the week of July 28.

But many want the location to be in areas where coal energy is produced, such as Moffat County.

Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid said this demonstrated that the EPA and federal government were out of touch with the industry they were regulating.

"I guess they want to be stuck in their ivory towers," Kinkaid said. "To me, it's again a disconnect instead of reaching out to people whose lives they're touching."

He reached out to U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., to see if they were supportive of the EPA regulation hearings being held in Moffat County, near Craig Station.

The hearings are “not out of where the people who have to live with the decisions really are," Kinkaid said. "This is an attempt to bring a decision-making process to the place that's going to be impacted the most."

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Bennet's office confirmed that the senator did press the EPA to consider hosting the hearings elsewhere, said Kristin Lynch, Bennet's press secretary.

"We called the EPA to make sure they were aware Moffat County wanted the hearing there, and to make sure they were giving consideration to the request," she said in an email.

Tipton said he was drafting a formal letter to the EPA pressing them to host a hearing in Craig.

"It's remarkable that they're going to (make) rules that impact our community, our jobs and they don't want to have any kind of a hearing (in the area) that will be most dramatically impacted," he said. "These unilateral decisions are impacting real lives and real people."

The letter should go out within the week, Tipton said.

"I think bipartisanship on this is wonderful," Kinkaid said. "I hope it makes a difference. I don't think it's a Republican or Democrat issue — or at least it shouldn't be — because this is something that's going to benefit the middle class."

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.

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