Last week Administrator McCarthy wrote a blog post about EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan and the kickoff of our public hearings. Today, I am writing to report that the hearings were a great success – we heard from all kinds of people who expressed a wide variety of views.
The four multi-day public hearings took place in Atlanta, Denver, Pittsburgh, and Washington D.C. One of the important and wonderful things about our federal rulemaking process is that it gives us opportunities to collect direct feedback on our proposals through public hearings like these. People have an opportunity to interact directly with their federal government and provide input that can help shape a major rulemaking.
Across the four locations, we heard from over 1,300 speakers, and had more than 1,450 additional guests who came just to listen. In total, we hosted nearly 3,000 people who came to be part of the rulemaking process. Outside of the hearings there were even more people gathered to share their opinions through marches, rallies and demonstrations that were both in support of and critical of the proposal. It was absolutely amazing to see so many people come out to share their thoughts either by testifying or attending an outside event.
And what did we learn during these events? People care. A lot. We heard from people with drastically different thoughts on the proposal, and many people passionately described how the rule could impact their lives. Despite the wide variety of opinions and the passion with which some speakers testified, people showed that Americans can disagree while still being respectful of one another. All four hearings were great examples of respectful civil discourse.
If you attended one of the hearings, I thank you for participating in this important process providing us with your input. Before the hearings, we had received over 300,000 comments on the proposal and we’re still looking for more. If you would like to comment you still can, the public comment period is open until Oct 16, 2014.