Republicans: EPA Not Listening to Americans’ Concerns

Dec 6, 2013

Washington, D.C. –Republicans on the Science, Space, and Technology Committee today sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy expressing serious concerns with the lack of balance and transparency in the agency’s public outreach process associated with the forthcoming greenhouse gas regulations for existing power plants. The regulations are likely to be among the most costly in EPA history.  This will drive up the cost of electricity for already struggling families and individuals across America.

On September 30, EPA announced a “listening session tour” to solicit input from the public and stakeholders about approaches to regulating existing power plants. The EPA claimed that the public listening sessions were intended to help the agency develop “cost-effective guidelines that reflect the latest and best information available.”

Unfortunately, the sessions appear to be little more than a publicity stunt and a talking point for the administration.  Science Committee Republicans expressed concern that the EPA “chose to hold nearly all of these listening sessions in areas of the country that would be the least affected by the rules.”  

Equally troubling, the EPA failed to transcribe, webcast or make a record of the comments and feedback provided from the listening sessions. Without a record, the members stated it was “unclear how the agency can claim the sessions were designed for the purpose of ‘helping EPA develop smart, cost-effective guidelines.’”

The members requested an explanation from Administrator McCarthy for why the EPA chose not to hold listening sessions in the geographic areas of the country most affected by the upcoming rule. They also requested additional listening sessions in areas that would be affected by the new rules and insisted that the agency transcribe these sessions and make the feedback available to the public.

Environment Subcommittee Chairman Chris Stewart (R-Utah) was joined in sending today’s letter by the following Science Committee members who were not provided listening sessions in their states:  Reps. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Research and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Energy Subcommittee Chairman Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), David Schweikert (R-Ariz.), and F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.).

The full letter can be found here.