West Virginia hosts EPA's only hearings on Obama greenhouse gas - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

West Virginia hosts EPA's only hearings on Obama greenhouse gas rule

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WVVA) It was a tale of two visions as those in favor and against the Trump Administration's plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan faced off in Charleston. It was the second day for the only public hearings scheduled by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Wednesday. 

At stake are limits placed on greenhouse gas emissions by the Obama Administration. Coal industry leaders in favor of repeal argue the restrictions cripple the coal industry. 

"This was such a threat because it set such impossible standards and the technology was not there yet. It created a threat to the expansion of any coal burning utility," said West Virginia Coal Association President Bill Raney. 

Raney also pointed to industry progress in the months after President Trump issued a stay on the rule. 

"The 14,000 coal miners we have working in the rural areas of this state are so significant to our economy. We don't want to do anything to jeopardize that. They don't want to go to New Jersey or Atlanta." 

Meanwhile, dozens of people came as far away as Texas to talk about the health consequences of living near the refinery plants.

"All you have to do is look up in the skies to see the black smoke. We're breathing that air and the emissions," said Tevin Ellis. He said he battles asthma and traveled all the way from San Antonio, Texas for the hearing. 

There were multiple stories from others who live near coal ash emission sites, stories of miscarriages, cancer, and health problems. 

Even Lois Gibbs made the trek from Northern Virginia for the hearing She is the environmentalist whose work exposing a chemical leak in Love Canal, New York changed the way the Environmental Protection Agency responded to toxic dump sites. 

"I think President Trump wants coal to come back, but the market isn't there." 

Regardless of the arguments made in Charleston on Wednesday, they may not matter as President Trump has repeatedly promised to kill his predecessor's signature climate change initiative. 

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